The Cycle Continues


Kyouko and Naru meet Erato, a fresh new Puella.

Date: 2019-01-09
Pose Count: 35
Kyouko Sakura 2019-01-09 17:02:55 102396
    Kyouko is coming out of OSA-P Jewelers, turning to wave behind her as she shuts the door, smiling. Well, she wasn't shopping for jewelry, it's just that Naru's mom owns the place and lives above it, and Kyouko was dropping off some doughnuts from the conbenie. She likes Naru's mom, mostly because Naru's mom for some reason approves of her. She still doesn't really get why, but that's a mystery for another day.

    Wearing jeans, a black t-shirt, sneakers, and a red-and-black windbreaker in the chilly-but-mild Tokyo winter, Kyouko shoves her hands in her pockets as she starts walking down the sidewalk towards where she had parked her motorcycle in one of the spots by the curb.
Naru Osaka 2019-01-09 17:07:34 102397
Not just Naru's mom's house, but also where Naru's studio lives. It at least helps maintain some vague approximation that Naru hasn't wholly and entirely moved out, no matter how much of a fiction that's been for quite some time. Still, it's where the vast majority of Naru's painting gets done, and keeps Dog out of getting paint covered.

Naru is just heading up the street as Kyouko is leaving the shop and she waves with a grin. "Hey, love. I didn't expect to see you here."
Erato Ishin 2019-01-09 17:14:11 102398
Erato Ishin was borderline giddy, as she walked down the street. She'd been having a pretty tough day getting the notes and choreography done today but, after wayyyyy too many hours she'd finally got it right! It probably didn't help that she had the least experience, she was so, so lucky everyone was being patient with her.

But, afterwards, her parents had even given her a little treat! Told her she could head down to that nice jewelry store, get herself something special. Even gave her a bit more yen than she had ever been used to having. So she'd grabbed Kyubey and taken off!

Which was why the young girl turned the corner, carrying a kyubey in her arms. It might not have been very noticable as any more than a stuffed animal... Namely because Kyubey was in a tiny little yellow rain coat and hat. But one look in those soulless eyes told those who knew him what he was... And...

She was so excited she didn't even notice the other girl until she slammed INTO Kyouko and bounced off with a squeak, stumbling back. "A-ah! I'm sorry!" she said, hopping up and down with excitement. "Kyubey, are you okay? Oh, I'm so, so sorry! I was really excited and I wasn't paying attention, I'm sorry!" she said, still hopping up and down. Something definitely had her giddy, at least.
Kyouko Sakura 2019-01-09 17:22:15 102399
    Kyouko was just looking up, hearing Naru call out to her- right over Erato's head, as it happens, since the girl is shorter than she is. She hadn't even registered the Kyubey in her arms, due to not looking terribly closely at what kids are carrying around. But just as she's about to answer Naru's question, Erato runs into her. Luckily Kyouko is pretty solid, and it's not a hard bump, but it causes her to pause, blinking and looking down. "Oh hey, sorry kid." She starts to say, before she hears Erato mention Kyubey, and notices him more or less at the same time.

    Now, unlike many Puella, Kyouko doesn't hate Kyubey. She never has. She thinks what he does is bullshit, of course, but she's always blamed herself for being naive more than she's blamed Kyubey for being deceptive, especially considering his stated goal of doing it all to preserve the universe. That doesn't mean she likes him, particularly, but she is not going to fly into a rage at the sight of him the way Homura might.

    Her eyes do narrow, however, because honestly it's been rather a while since she's seen Kyubey around. She figured this was because he more or less lost interest in her when she stopped working for him, so to speak. Which is probably true. Even so, after apologizing to Erato, the first thing she says is, "Kyubey. Didn't expect to see you around here." In an impassive voice.. more or less ignoring the girl holding him, for the moment.
Naru Osaka 2019-01-09 17:26:00 102400
As Naru gets closer to the collision, hurrying just a smidge to ensure that everyone.. mostly the smaller girl.. is alright, she catches just one word. 'Kyubey'. She pauses a moment, blinking and then glancing down for the little git, speaking to him first, rather than Erato. "Kyubey. This /is/ unexpected." Her attention lifts to the girl that is holding him. (it?) and considers Erato a moment. "Good afternoon, Miss. Are you alright?"
Erato Ishin 2019-01-09 17:33:53 102401
Erato Ishin stopped in her jumping and looked up at the taller girl. And then her eyes glimmered a little bit. And then she gasped as NARU knew him too! Kyubey just looked up at Kyouko and... shrugged. Welp. Seemed he didn't have much to say to her. Not being a puella and all.

On the other hand... "You two know Kyubey? Oh my gosh, are you two Puella magi too? Oh my gosh, you're the first ACTUAL ones I've met since I got here!" And now she was hopping with excitement for an entirely different reason. "How long have you two been them? Are you two a team? You know each other, right? Do you guys deal with a lot of the witches here, then? I only just got into town and I haven't met any other puella magi yet. Kyubey says there are some around here but I only met other magical people! Did you know there are other types of magical people? What was your wish? Do you have any magic powers from them too? Oh, right, I'm like... supposed to give you a grief seed, right? I mean, Kyubey said when you meet a new puella it's traditional. I only have the one, though. Well, and it's a little bit used. I have one and like, a quarter, but then there was this familiar and I had to deal with it and stuff!"

They might, vaguelly, recognize her from a recently started singing group. One of those small idol bands.
Kyouko Sakura 2019-01-09 17:40:47 102402
    Kyouko, for her part, does not recognize Erato. She's not the type to be into music of any sort, but especially not idol music. She can't speak for Naru, though, who generally tends to be much more aware of things in general. She does however, give Kyubey a bit of a sour look as he just shrugs at her. As if to say 'jerk'. But she doesn't say anything else to him for the moment.

    She's too distracted by the torrent of words coming out of the smaller girl, and after a moment has to hold up both of her hands in a 'hold on' motion, raising her brows at the excitable flood. "Whoa, hold on, kid. I think you got the wrong idea. Neither of us are Puella Magi." As weird a thing as that is to say, she has to admit it's true at this point. "But we do know Kyubey. He and I have a.. history together." A faint quirk of her lips, almost a grimace.

    "I guess you're a fresh one, then, huh?" Kyouko eyes the girl. Not the most sympathetic track to take, but then it is Kyouko. "Keep your Grief Seed. I don't need it, and you do. No sense wasting it." She seems slightly reassured by the fact that the girl seems.. well, pretty chipper. That's a good sign for a Puella.

    Kyouko shoots a glance at Naru over Erato's head, making eye-contact and then kind of rolling her eyes a little bit, as if to say "sorry, I did not expect this".
Naru Osaka 2019-01-09 17:49:00 102403
Naru considers the girl a little while longer. "You look familiar, but I haven't quite worked out from where. Do you go to Seishou?" She lets Kyouko cover the whole 'no, we are not puella' topic, giving a serene smile and nodding her agreement about knowing Kyubey. She does direct a comment to the currently ignoring her critter. "If you've spoken to Hana recently, I'd be interested in hearing." It's a casual comment, lightly made.

"Where did you find the familiar?" Naru asks. "Did you have any trouble with it? Any other signs of problems in that area?"
Erato Ishin 2019-01-09 17:56:46 102404
Erato Ishin looked a bit disappointed at the 'neither are puella' comment. She then gave a sigh. "Really? Ohhhhh. I hope you weren't naughty," she said, scolding the little mascot... Then giggling and giving him a tight hug. "Awwww, even when you're naughty you're adorable!" Kyubey barely even moved, pretty much indifferent to the attention. Not that Erato noticed.

She then nodded. "Yup! About... three months now, I think? Best decision I ever made. Though I reallllly thought I was going to die a lot at first. Once I figured out how all my things worked, it was pretty fun!" And then sighed. "Okay, that's a lie. It's a mix of terrifying and like. Exciting. But AFTERWARDS it's kind of fun. I get to be a hero, you know? And I got something I'll want forever! What's not to love? Are you two planning to make a wish?"

"They're not eligible," Kyubey added.

Erato blinked and looked confused. "Not... eligible? How can you be... huh?" she asked, before looking to Naru. "Oh, it was over by the docks. Err... I don't know which one. There was a white boat? And no. Familiars are easy. I just snuck up on it and cut it to pieces. And not that I could find. Everything seemed great there."
Kyouko Sakura 2019-01-09 18:04:14 102405
    Kyouko did roll her eyes at the way Erato talked to Kyubey, but at least she doesn't comment on it. She has no real interest in convincing the younger girl otherwise. She seems happy enough and the damage, so to speak, has already been done.

    "We're not eligible because even though we're not Puella, we're both magical girls." Kyouko says to her, with a faint shrug. "You can't become a Puella if you're already something else. It doesn't work that way. Plus," And here her expression gets a bit wry. "I expect we're a bit over the age Kyubey tends to look for in new recruits." Too hard to manipulate older girls.

    "What's your name kid? Professional interest." She says, sharing another, slightly harder look with Naru after her girlfriend asks about Hana, even if Kyubey doesn't deign to answer. "I'm Kyouko Sakura, and that's Naru." She gestures to the girl in question.
Naru Osaka 2019-01-09 18:07:59 102406
"Kyubey wasn't interested in me even before I gained my own powers." Naru comments with a soft laugh. She nods at the mention of the dock area being cleared up and that serene smile is back for Kyouko at the hard look.

"Are you still in school?" Naru hazards, a note of hopeful for a 'yes' answer, but she's willing to work with either without judgement.
Erato Ishin 2019-01-09 18:18:11 102408
Erato Ishin nodded. "Ohhhhh. So there are... huh. Are there a lot of other magical girls? Weird. Kyubey didn't mention that ever," she mumbled. "Though, I guess I just wasn't eligible for them, probably," she said with a shrug. "Oh? And there's an age limit? I guess... Why? You don't look too old to fight," she said.

"Oh, yes! I go to Verone Academy," she said proudly. "My big sister and I go there together. She's super, mega smart and practically aced the entrance exams." She then sighed. "I... had a bit more trouble. I think my agent pulled a few strings, too."

She was also a bit scatterbrained, it seemed. As the other girl asked her name and she barely remembered. "Oh! Right! Erato Ishin! Wonderful to meet you!" She bowed politely.
Kyouko Sakura 2019-01-09 18:23:15 102409
    Kyouko gives Naru a look which says she knows exactly what that serene smile means and she'll be testing it's sereneness later. For now though, she looks back at Erato. "There are.. well, I guess it depends on what you mean by 'a lot'. Compared to all the people in Tokyo, magical girls are pretty rare. But there's probably more than you expect running around, for better or worse. And I don't think there's strictly an age limit, I just think that Kyubey has preferences." She gives the creature a somewhat dark glance.

    When Erato gives her name, and mentions that she goes to Verone, Kyouko nods her head. She reaches into her pocket and pulls out one of her ECFH business cards. Remarkable how those things come in handy so often. It's nothing but a white business card with the address of the ECFH embossed on it in gold, no name or anything. She hands it to the girl.

    "If you ever get in trouble, if you run out of Grief Seeds and can't get any more or if you just need help with something, go here." She taps the card. "And ask for Kyouko. Or anybody really, but you can find me there a lot of the time. I'm not a Puella, but I have done a fair bit of Witch-fighting in my time and I can help if you ever need it."
Naru Osaka 2019-01-09 18:42:38 102410
"Here, pass me that a moment." Naru asks as Kyouko hands over the card and Naru goes digging in her bag for a pen. An art marker is what she comes out with, close enough. "I've a cell number to add to the back. Sometimes, you aren't free to pop by, but can send a message." She quirks her head thoughtfully. "Rei's at Verone. Daisuke.. Seishi.. All solid folks to turn to if you run into problems at school."

She passes the card back. "I'm Naru, by the by, and it's a pleasure to meet you Erato." Naru passes the card back. "If you meet a witch named Hana.." She gestures at the card. "Run first, then call me and let me know, or let ECFH know. Do not fight her alone. Other witches.. feel free to ask for help or not as you see fit... any fight really, but Hana? Don't do that one alone."
Erato Ishin 2019-01-09 18:47:20 102411
Erato Ishin nodded, listening intently. "Wow... Well, I hope I meet a whole bunch of them, then. It'll make witch hunting a lot easier if I don't have to do it alone. I mean... Yeah. I know I have Kyubey. But he's really only good for advice. I mean, there was the time I threw him at a familiar but I was new then. And it didn't do much," she said with a shrug.

She took the card and her eyes widened. "Wow, really? You sure know how to make someone feel special, don't you?" she asked as she eyed the card. "And having someone who could help with grief seeds would be nice. I almost ran out once and... Yeah. I mean, I've learned how to use my magic since then, but it was still scary. It's good to know I won't have to do it all alone." She eyed it as Naru gave her number too. Then frowned. And looked up at them.

"A witch... called hana? Ummmm... I don't think so. What does she look like? I can try to avoid her but... if I don't stop her, don't bad things happen? Or... Well, I guess calling for help is a good idea."
Kyouko Sakura 2019-01-09 18:52:24 102412
    Kyouko watches Naru being responsible, as is her wont, and smiles a bit. Well, this is why they make a good team, she supposes. "A spot of advice from someone who's been doin' this a real long time," She tells Erato at the girl's words, "It's much better not to do it alone. Make some friends you can trust. And.. don't trust Kyubey too far." She shoots the white rat another look. "Just remember he has his own goals, and they might not always be the same as yours. That's all."

    As for Hana, she shrugs her shoulders. "I doubt you'll run into her. But she's not a normal Witch. She looks like a person, usually wears white, with long dark hair and funky rainbow eyes. Trust us, she's not the sort you can handle by yourself, no matter how good you are."
Naru Osaka 2019-01-09 19:01:20 102413
"She's an exception.. and yes.. we do need to stop her, but it won't be any one person. I'd rather you not discover that the hard way." Naru explains with a nod at Kyouko's description. She glances briefly at Kyubey and then back to Erato. "It makes a terrible projectile, if you need something better to throw, just ask. I can find you /something/." Her voice is amused, hints of a smile creeping up at the corners of her mouth.
Erato Ishin 2019-01-09 19:04:50 102414
Erato Ishin blinked and glanced down at Kyubey. "I... guess. I mean, his goals is just to eliminate witches. I can think of a lot of things I'd rather do half the time," she said with a giggle. "Though.... Yeah. It's... better for everyone if I do that, I guess. Though if there are a bunch of others, I can slack off sometimes, I guess."

"... Rainbow eyes? That... sounds pretty awesome," she said with a nod. "Okay! I'll trust your judgment! If I run into her, I'll let people know."

She shook her head. "Oh, no. I usually just throw the familiars now. It's wayyyyy easier to take care of them if I can just wipe out two or three at a time. Honestly, their numbers is probably the hardest part. Especially when you have to fight the witch at the same time."
Kyouko Sakura 2019-01-09 19:14:00 102415
    "Yeah," Kyouko says, putting her hands back in her pockets. She really doesn't want to have to tell this girl the whole truth.. not right now, maybe. It's still considered priveleged information, because of the potential fallout if it ever became common knowledge. "Just remember that he cares more about that than he does about keeping you safe. You gotta keep yourself safe. Safe as you can while still doing the job, anyway. That's all."

    She shakes her head slightly at Erato's comments about fighting, unable to help a small smile from tugging at her lips. "Well, you sound like you got the basics down, at least. That's good. Keep working on your skills, and stay tough. You'll do alright." She nods, with perhaps more confidence than she particularly feels, but no sense in giving the kid more things to worry about.
Naru Osaka 2019-01-09 19:20:44 102416
Naru can't help but laugh softly, shaking her head. "Ah yes.. puellas exist to make me feel underpowered." By her tone, it's a teasing comment, rather than something that seems to genuinely undermine her confidence in her skills. "There are more challenges in Tokyo that just witches, but puella are pretty specialized, generally. Thank you for taking care of them. It is appreciated."
Erato Ishin 2019-01-09 19:30:10 102417
Erato Ishin blinked a few times as she listened. She nodded firmly. "Well... I don't have to do it alone, right? So... it'll be fine," she said with a nod. "Besides, my magic allows me to hide really well. It's pretty great. I've even managed to kill a few witches without them knowing I was there!" She paused. "... I try to do that each time and it doesn't usually work. But SOMETIMES it has!" she said firmly.

She grinned wide at the other girl. "I will! and I promise I won't let myself get in over my head. And... it's really easy. Like, Kyubey taught me a few tricks. I can turn off PAIN! I mean, I try not to do it too much, cause like... it feels weird. But that's really useful when I get stabbed," she said with a grin. "And there was this nice girl who healed me up last time, so I didn't have to use my own magic."

She nodded and... "Wait. There are things other than witches?" she asked. "I.... fought like.... a dream witch once. There was a unicorn. And a dog. I'm not sure. It was a dream, I think. Maybe?"
Kyouko Sakura 2019-01-09 19:33:16 102418
    Kyouko looks mildly witsful at the comments about turning off pain and how nice it is not to have to worry about getting stabbed. Sigh, the good old days. But she jut shakes her head slightly and says, "Well, you seem like you got a good head on your shoulders. I wouldn't worry too much. Just don't be afraid to call for help if you think you need it, yeah?"

    "There's all kinds of nasty things in the world, but if you're lucky, you won't run into many aside from the Witches you go looking for. Just make sure you keep your eyes open." She shrugs again, then glances to Naru.

    "I was bringing your mom donuts." She says, with a faint grin for her girlfriend. "That's why I was here. I was heading home, after. Are you coming to paint?"
Naru Osaka 2019-01-09 19:47:41 102419
Sidewalk or not, the wistful look prompts Naru to lean in closer to Kyouko, reach out and give her arm a squeeze. She nods at the comments. "Patrolling is far more enjoyable when not done alone." She notes and then mmms and nods. "Yes, I expect it was a dream. Some dreams are very profound."

She nods to Kyouko at her question and there's a smile. "If I'm lucky, she won't have eaten them all before I get in there either. She loves those damn things, but never buys them for herself. You're a pusher." She tsks softly, but there's a laugh. "I am here to paint, and hopefully get a run in too, although just an easy rest day run." She considers a moment. "I have absolutely no clue what we're having for supper. We probably need to go shopping."
Erato Ishin 2019-01-09 19:56:01 102420
Erato Ishin nodded. "Right! Oh... ummm... on the note of help. Are there any other Puella magi in the city? I'm... not the only one. Right? I guess it's... possible. There are a lot of other magical people here so maybe they just... aren't. But... I'd like to be able to ask some questions from someone who is like... well... like... me I guess? Magic wise."

"And yeah. And I mean... if it's not a witch, call someone for help. Right? I can do that," she said with a confident nod. Though she looked quizzically between them as the two started talking about... well. Donuts. And the... Okay, the donuts CAUGHT her attention. But the hand squeeze. And the words they exchanged made her hum and whisper something to Kyubey.
Kyouko Sakura 2019-01-09 20:00:27 102421
    Kyouko looks a bit uncertain at Erato's question about other Puella. "There.. are. But a lot of the older ones.." She's not about to tell this girl to go find Homura, and she has no idea where she and Madoka are shacking up these days, anyway. She hasn't seen Mami or Sayaka in ages, either. "..are not exactly super-friendly, or at least, I have no idea where they are. I'm sure there are others, too, but it's a big city. I'm sorry I can't give you specifics. They are around, though."

    Kyouko then grins to Naru. "Hey, I need to make sure to stay on her good side." She says, jovially. She nods in acknowledgement of Naru's plans, and then shrugs. "I can stop at the store on my way home, but if you leave it in my hands you have to live with what I pick."
Naru Osaka 2019-01-09 20:04:24 102422
"We try and respect their privacy." Naru explains on the topic of other puella, on the heels of Kyouko's comments. "If we see them, we'll be sure to let them know that you're hoping to meet them."

Naru mmmmm, looking as if she needs to think on the decision about living with Kyouko's shopping trip. "Please let there be at least one vegetable involved in your picks.. but.. I'll live wiht whatever you pick." She winces faintly, as if somehow expecting it to explode, right here and now.

And then she bursts into giggles. "I mean, if we want to have protein powder for supper, there's plenty of /that/, so anything you pick has to be more interesting."
Erato Ishin 2019-01-09 20:08:01 102423
Erato Ishin nodded. "Okay. If you see them... ummm... Well, I guess let them know about me. Maybe we could meet up and share witch hunting tactics! Though... They're all so different, I'm not sure if there'd be anything to really learn..." she said.

And there they were again. She looked quizzically at them. "Protein powder for... supper? Why would anyone wanna eat that?" she asked, making an ick face.
Kyouko Sakura 2019-01-09 20:09:56 102424
    Kyouko nods to Naru's suggestion, and then smirks. "Nobody wants to eat that, I think that's the point." She says, before beaming at Naru as the girl says she will live with Kyouko's choices. "One vegetable, yes dear." She says dutifully, before stepping around Erato in order to give Naru a smooch on the cheek.

    Then she looks back to the young Puella. "Hey, nice meeting you kid, and remember what I said about needing help. Take care of yourself, huh?" She then smiles to Naru. "See you at home later?"

    Then she's walking off to her motorcycle like she originally intended, pulling the helmet off the back to plop on her head, and starting the thing up so she can go to the grocery store.
Naru Osaka 2019-01-09 20:16:16 102425
"It's not /that/ bad!" Naru protests, although probably with more automatic fervor than strictly /believing/ that protein powder makes an adquate meal substitute. She smiles at the kiss. "I won't be too late, I'll set an alarm this time." She may, just possibly, lose track of time while painting. "See you at home."

Her expression is fond as she watches Kyouko head for the bike before looking back to Erato. "It was good to meet you. Have you lived in Tokyo all of your life?"
Erato Ishin 2019-01-09 20:19:33 102426
Erato Ishin nodded and then her eyes went wide. "Wait, are you two--" And before she could answer...

Motorcycle. She was stunned, watching the other girl with dazzled eyes. "Oh my gosh you are the coolest person ever!" she said. She hugged Kyubey so tight that, were he a cat, his bones would likely be shattered. It helped that the other girl had also been incredibly nice to her.

She nodded, drawn back to Naru. "H-huh? Oh. Yeah! I was gone for the last three months when we went on tour. But now we'll usually be in Tokyo!" she said happily. "I didn't know about any of this stuff, though! It's really cool!"

"Oh! What kinds of things do you like to paint?"
Naru Osaka 2019-01-09 20:25:11 102427
"Hmm?" Naru asks at the unfinished question and nods, ignoring the automatic uptick in cool that Kyouko gets for the motorcycle. It's a thing, she really does understand. "Yes. We're a thing. Same sex couples are fairly common amongst the magical girl community, to warn you if it's a point of challenge for you."

The mention of 'on tour' makes Naru pause and then there's an ah ha moment. "I think I've seen you on youtube. No.. mundanes.. those without magic.. do not generally know that it exists all around them. Their minds almost always just edits out things that don't make sense."

Naru smiles. "Just about anything, really. Landscapes and whatever catches my eye. People, things, abstracts, doodles.. I wish I could claim to have a cohesive style, but I seem to flit all over the map."
Erato Ishin 2019-01-09 20:33:59 102428
Erato Ishin blinked. "Ohhhhh... I've never actually met one..." she mumbled, shaking her head. "It's not a point of challenge! IS it, Kyubey?"

Kyubey... could not care less.

"See? And wow, really? That's... cool," she said, shaking her head. And then perked up.

"Yeah! I'm brand new to all this! Err. Both. I only just got picked up for it. Though I think it's been going well, though!" she said proudly.

"Ohhhh... do you wanna paint Kyubey? I have a ton of cute outfits to put him into! He's the best little pet ever!" she said happily. ".... He's a cat, right?"
Naru Osaka 2019-01-09 20:38:20 102429
"Kyubey won't be with you forever." Naru notes calmly. "You need to have your own opinions too. He's.. his own thing." She decides on, giving Kyubey a /look/, and a faintly arched brow. She is clearly underwhelmed with the game he's playing.

"I have painted Kyubey before, if he wishes to visit me to sit for a painting, he will." Naru sounds utterly confident on that fact. "If you have questions and wish a broader perspective than just Kyubey's.. please feel free to ask. He has a very .. narrow perspective."
Erato Ishin 2019-01-09 20:46:32 102430
Erato Ishin nodded and then sighed. "I guess. I like having him now, though. Once I don't need to ask him so many questions, though, it'll be okay," she said. "And I have lots of my own opinions! Just ask my parents!" she said with a cough.

She hummed. "And really? His perspective never seemed that narrow to me. It was broader than my parents, at least... and ummmm..." She went quiet, then nodded. "I should go, though. I'm gonna get a piece of jewelry today! So I need to get it and head home before my parents get worried. It was great meeting you, Naru-sempai!" she called before running off... into her mom's jewel store. Of course.
Naru Osaka 2019-01-09 20:49:16 102431
"Good luck picking something out!" Naru leaves aside her far less complimentary opinions about Kuybey and watches Erato scamper into the store. She shakes her head a little, and then heads around to the side entrance, with stairs directly up to the apartment above. No sense potentially getting caught to do some retail hours in the store!