The Heart of the Matter

Ayana offers to have herself destroyed, but Takashi has another idea for how to deal with her 'betrayal'.

Date: 2015-11-30
Pose Count: 12
Ayana Tasogare 2015-11-30 03:36:08 17028
"Come see me when you've made this choice ..." Takashi had said, as he left Ayana helplessly weeping on the floor of the hospital.

It didn't take her terribly long to make the decision. By draining a poor nurse of energy, Ayana was able to overcome her own feelings of despair long enough to get up, conceal her nature, and slip out of the hospital once more.

The walk home to Umbra wouldn't be long if she henshined and jumped her way there on the rooftops, but that still requires more energy than she has access to, at the moment. Rationing has become her normal way of life in less than a week. And thus it's another thirty mintues before Ayana steps through the interdimensional doorway that leads to Umbra's pocket of folded space. She blows through the lobby, and starts towards their shared suite ... but then realises he won't be there.

Ayana makes a single turn to enter Takashi's laboratory instead, ignoring the robotic guards that watch for intrusion.

"Master," Ayana calls as she enters the laboratory. The signs of her tears are gone--in fact it's as if she never cried at all. Glamour? Probably. "I've made my decision."
Takashi Agera 2015-11-30 03:44:40 17030
Takashi has already translated a lot of the work he was doing into the systems that he uses in the lab - which work a lot faster, being built now partially off the advanced technology of Mid-Childa. And he's very engrossed in his work, because the previous discussion left him high on bad emotions, and his innate response to such things is to dive into research, the place he feels most comfortable.

And that's what Ayana finds him doing as she walks through the door and calls to him - he's stopped, with a small vial of bright white substance in one hand, which he sets on the table as she walks in. He motions her in, and looks at her. There's a lot of the anger from before that's left his face, either worked off during his soaring flight from Mitakihara General to the headquarters or forgotten in his research efforts.

"Are you sure?" he asks calmly. "I don't want you to say something you'll regret here." That isn't a threat, the inflection in his voice is genuine.
Ayana Tasogare 2015-11-30 03:51:31 17031
"I'm certain," Ayana replies calmly, though there's a faintly manic tinge to the way she grins at him afterwards. "You will think it's the right answer, too, I think," she tells him thoughtfully as she steps forward, allowing the mask over her true form to fade away. Her ears are perked up adorably--alertly, rather. And her tails wag faintly behind her.

"See," Ayana says faintly, "even when the link was in place, I was nothing but a disappointment to you. I got confused by what you expected of me; I thought you were the good guy, but now I know you're the villain. And I allowed myself to become corrupted by that misinformation."

Ayana tilts her head a little, then says, "But I can't fix that. I can't stop thinking these thoughts. And it's broken our bond. Maybe I did it. Maybe I didn't. But you didn't make me to think, Master, so I am trying not to. Every time I do, you get angry. I brought your girlfriend here in the hopes you would be happy, but instead it made you furious. I tried to clean up the mess I made of your lab, but I wound up accidentally eating an experiment and probably destroying it. I tried to steal the Lycan Locket from Ikiko, so that she couldn't get in your way, but that's ... what really broke the bond. She tried to transform while I was holding it, and now I have a bond with her, instead. It's not the same. It's off. But it seems to have replaced ours."

Ayana shakes her head, and her ears fold forward irritatedly. She scowls darkly, then says, "I don't want to hurt her, and in that I'm a failure to you, too. That's all I've ever been. A burden. A failed experiment. A drain on your resources. I hurt you, and I don't want that, either. Unmake me, Master. I am not worth fixing. I will hurt you again. I will hurt her again. I don't want either. And that makes me a failure, too."

"Unmake me," Ayana says firmly, ears drooping to the side as she hesitates just a tiny bit. But then they straighten back up alertly, as Ayana summons her resolve. "And remember that I loved you."
Takashi Agera 2015-11-30 04:20:28 17033
Takashi sits on the edge of the table as she talks, and he recognizes too that she's being hard on herself. Perhaps justifiably so, but not in every way. He leans back a little bit, resting his palms behind him. And he shakes his head.

"Perhaps you were confused, and you have always been confused, and perhaps that is my miscalculation with the information I gave you. Perhaps not." Takashi says after a moment. "You've been trying to do right by me, and often you have even succeeded. But not always, and it's those times when you didn't that bring the trouble to us, isn't iot?"

"I think... what I said was wrong. What I thought was wrong." he says, sliding off the table and walking towards her slowly. "I don't believe anymore it's your mind that's caused you sadness. I believe that it's something else entirely. It's your heart." Takashi says. He looks her in the eyes.

"It's your heart that's confused you, that's tried to take you in another direction. It's why you describe that feeling you get from another as love. It's why you KNOW what you should be doing, but then when it's time to act, you FEEL conflicted."

Takashi reaches out towards Ayana - but rather than grabbing or striking her, he takes hold of the charm on the necklace around her neck - taking hold of Still Night. "You can't fix that. But I can fix that. You see... I'm not willing to put an end to this experiment. And you're still MY familiar. MY fox. MY Ayana-chan." A pause. "Still Night - this is your Meister, Takashi. Activate your overrides. Become a conduit." The small charm hums with black light <Override confirmed, Meister.>

"And so, Ayana, I will make you Heartless, so you will no longer be lead astray by it." Takashi says, as he clutches Still Night in his hand - and begins to imbue it, and therefore Ayana, with a blast of raw dark energy from his own psyche, sending the strongest power he can muster right into her body.
Ayana Tasogare 2015-11-30 04:51:57 17034
Ayana tilts her head at Takashi, when he disagrees with her. She truly believed she had come to the only logical conclusion, so hearing her scientifically-minded master disagree is a surprise. But she can't disagree with him about her heart being the problem. Instead, she's quite certain that's exactly the problem. But how do you remove the heart from a creature whose sole existence has been love, until recently?

Still, he promises to fix it; he promises to make everything right, and although Ayana isn't certain how, she trusts in him. After all, he gave her life, and he held her when she needed him. Well, not earlier today, but many other times! He feeds her, he cares for her, and even if she feels she isn't worth that care, she's selfish enough not to argue with it when he decides she's worth it.

When Takashi reaches for Still Night, she blinks in surprise, and her ears perk up alertly. Ayana looks down to the little charm dangling from her neck, then slowly follows Takashi's arm upwards until her eyes meet his.

And then the pain begins. Ayana's eyes widen in surprise and terror as the dark energy begins pouring into her soul. If it weren't for Still Night channeling the energy safely, she'd simply pass out. As it is, she screams, a loud and terrible noise. Ayana reaches forward to grip Takashi's shoulders to steady herself.

eep within, Ikiko's soul flares up, and for a brief moment the feedback is overwhelming. Feelings of love, comfort, guidance, and hope surge against the dark energy, seeking to protect and guard Ayana from Takashi's dark magic.

But Ikiko isn't here to reinforce her bond with Ayana; she isn't here to defend Ayana from this pain.

The golden light within Ayana slowly loses the battle against the endless darkness. Takashi's energy overwhelms Ikiko's, and Ayana's screams slowly quiet down, and she slowly loses her ability to support herself as she leans into him. Still the dark energy courses into her, seeking out any of the last vestiges of light, hope, and love within her and systematically destroying them.

Ayana twitches a little, and then giggles just faintly, tiredly, as she leans against him. Power overwhelming courses through her. Not the inefficient power gained from eating bowls and bowls of ramen; not the trickle of power recived through a familiar bond. No this is a dark energy given to her directly. Her very own energy, now. An energy powerful enough to be drawn on for dark and dire purpose. Ayana takes a breath, and her body swells with that energy. She straightens a little and grins at Takashi once more--but now it's not merely manic but maniacal, that grin. A faintly ecstatic shiver ripples through the foxgirl's features as she regains her composure.

"I feel you," she says quietly. And it's true; with the lingering connection to Ikiko's soul snapped, their bond has returned. "I missed this feeling."
Takashi Agera 2015-11-30 05:09:57 17035
Takashi smiles. That smile truly denies the nature of what he's just done, because it's a smile of a strange sort of odd contentment. "I won't let anyone take anything from me. And that includes you..." he says, taking an unsteady step forward. Tearing apart someone's soul is actually a rather exhaustive process, especially for Takashi, who only just moments ago moved from being bedridden.

But this was something that couldn't wait. "I made you now the way you should've been the first time. I have fixed my mistake." he says, looking down at her. "You don't need a heart to be my familiar. You just need power, and an understanding of your purpose. There's no light left in you now - no light, to come between our shared shadow." he says, wrapping his arms around her and squeezing.

"I nearly did the same thing as you, you know." he admits as he does. "It's what put me in the hospital. Sometimes all of that brightness can make you FEEL strong. Until it's actually tested, and you realize how fake it is. How much power you have when you wield your strength for you. And now you can feel it too. You probably didn't even know how weak you used to be until now. And if I die, you'll die. Because..."

Takashi reveals his other hand. There's a small, faint spark of brightness there, before vanishes, drawn into Takashi. "...without a heart of your own, you're truly dependant upon my heart. I don't have to TRUST you anymore - I KNOW your heart." He pats his own chest with that same hand.
Ayana Tasogare 2015-11-30 05:21:47 17037
Ayana accepts the hug without argument, but there's something missing there. No longer does she melt into his arms; no more does she offer soft noises of pleasure at the contact. With no love left in her, she simply seems to tolerate the contact, as if being hugged or not hugged would make no difference to her whatsoever.

"Of course, master," Ayana replies quietly, indulging his words calmly and without disagreement. She tilts her head a little, then asks, "What next? I can no longer pretend to be a magical girl, like this; perhaps I could lie, but I suspect they would discover very quickly that I am empowered with dark energy, now. School ... seems a waste of my time, on your behalf. What would you have me do, instead of these things? Or shall I attempt to deceive them, anyways?"
Takashi Agera 2015-11-30 05:35:03 17038
Takashi feels the difference in that contact. The fact that it bothers him somewhere deep inside is perhaps one of those things that should make him question what he's done - but it doesn't. Because, he reasons quietly to himself, what else was he supposed to do. The same thing that made her the exitable and loving... is also what drove a wedge between them. And she's his familiar. This is fine.

Besides, he reasons, he could always just order her to behave that way or something.

"I think it's time for you to drop that disguise. I think school has perhaps always been a waste of time. A lie, as I tried to let you pretend to be something you're not. It's foolish now." he says, nodding. "You have real power now. I think you should use it. You can gather energy. You can crush magical girls and bring their magical items to me. You're no longer a pretend magical girl. You're a real weapon. And I think you should act accordingly."
Ayana Tasogare 2015-11-30 05:38:28 17039
"Very well," Ayana agrees without hesitation. "My grades were terrible, anyways. School was boring," she points out to him with a single arched brow. She's still that same adorable foxgirl; her tails still wag just faintly behind her, ears still move with her moods. But still there's something different. Her eyes to glisten with excitement; she simply seems to be existing, now.

"Is that what you would like me to do?" Ayana asks Takashi curiously. "Shall I go gather energy? Crush magical girls and bring their items to you?"
Takashi Agera 2015-11-30 06:03:26 17040
Takashi's aware of the change - very aware, having lived with the fox-girl since her creation - and yet, once again he tells himself: This is fine. And yet he's still holding her close to him, even as she just seems to roll with it, rather than desire it and snuggle closer.

"Yes. It's been a long time since we've restored the reserves here, and I have a lot of work to do - the more energy we have, the more I can do. The more I can create. And if we get ahold of those magical items, maybe I can build even more fantastic things. Look what I've done so far." he adds. Retreating into his own pride, for now. It's always been the perfect shelter for any other emotions, after all.
Ayana Tasogare 2015-11-30 06:20:45 17041
"Very well," Ayana replies, smiling just a little bit at the idea. "I will go and find some energy, then," she says faintly. She might even stop if someone asks nicely. But no one ever asks nicely.

"Good luck with your research, Master. I am certain whatever you come up with will be brilliant, and soon you will rule this world. Do you need anything other than energy?"
Takashi Agera 2015-11-30 06:54:49 17042
"Energy and magic items." Takashi patiently reminds her. "I'm sure you can sense them now. If you can't, use Still Night. I created her to be your partner, and she's very good at Area Searches. Anywhere you feel weak, let her support you." Takashi says, quietly.

"I will rule this world in the end. I've given up too much time, too much effort, too much thought not to." Too much of other things, as well... perhaps tonight.

"I look forward to seeing your results." Takashi says as he steps away from her.