Ask A Stupid Question

Homura and Takashi have a polite conversation like two reasonable adults.

Date: 2015-12-20
Pose Count: 15
Takashi Agera 2015-12-20 02:29:42 18997
It's a few days after Takashi and Madoka and Homura had a day at an amusement park - the both of them essentially forced to spend time together by Madoka. And there had been bumper cars. And there was subtle magic from both of them, and a little chaos. But more than that, there was a hostility passed between the two of them.

And now, after school at Infinity University, Takashi has taken upon himself to try to resolve this issue - or at least understand where she's coming from, because the adventure at the theme park has made him realize that Madoka is going to want the two of them to interact more, so the plan of avoiding her wasn't going to work out long term.

This is why, after a few days, Takashi walks up beside Homura. "Akemi-san." he says, even going out of his way to remember the honorific he usually drops. "Can we talk? Without Madoka-chan around."
Homura Akemi 2015-12-20 02:37:17 18998
Homura tends to get annoyed whenever Takashi is talking. It's not something you'd see unless you happened to be watching her at the time, but the eyeroll is real. He has always rubbed her the wrong way, at least somewhat, but with him dating Madoka it made his irritation... if not worse, then immediately more relevant. Which brought it out more. Which made her more irritated.

Without having anything fun to do with Madoka, Homura is quick to leave class. When she hears Takashi speak her name and try to get her attention, she quickly gives him a 'wtf?' look.

Ugh. He wants to talk? Whatever.

"And what exactly would we have to talk about, Agera-san?"

There are a few things she'd feel comfortable saying to him without Madoka around, but she doesn't imagine they're anything that he'd actually want to hear.
Takashi Agera 2015-12-20 02:43:05 18999
Takashi can always tell that Homura has never really liked him. Not as far back as he can remeber sharing a class with her. It's just steadily become more and more of a thing though, coming to a head at two different school dances.

"Well, Akemi-san, it seems as though our mutual acquaintance seems to think it would be good for us to not hate each other. So I figured, for her, I would give it a try. Or at least try to understand why you have been so hostile to me."

Of course, Takashi is equally hostile towards Homura, for reasons both mundane and magical.

"So I thought I might try to talk to you in a situation that doesn't begin with a dance. Dances always seem to start us off on the wrong foot." This is Takashi making a joke. He only smirks a little.
Homura Akemi 2015-12-20 02:52:29 19000
Homura frowns at Takashi. "Madoka-chan is more than an 'acquaintance'. She's a close friend of mine." Is she correcting him because he's wrong, or is she just doing it to be argumentative?

Why Homura feels hostility towards Takashi? How many things does she object to? It'd be a long conversation to list out every single one.

"Fine. We can have that talk, but we better not have it in public."

Homura starts looking into the classroom windows as she passes. Once she sees an empty one she pushes the door open and lets herself in, turning around to look at Takashi, saying, "You coming or what?"

She's apparently willing to have this talk, at least. A classroom is private enough for them to say what they want, but it's close enough to everything that they can't really have a fight without drawing unwanted attention.
Takashi Agera 2015-12-20 03:13:02 19004
Takashi looks at Homura. "Well, she's more than an 'acquaintance' to me too... she's very dear to me." Unlike a lot of things Takashi has said around Homura, this has a much more honest ring of truth to it.

Takashi follows Homura, even as she still retains those barbs in her voice.

"Yeah, sure." he adds, leaning in and walking into the empty classroom. The Belkan-style device on the charm chain on his left hand pings ever-so-softly as he grasps it. Were this him, he might consider the empty classroom a great place to dipose of a threat, so it's no surprise he's at least a little on guard. "It seems like you have some things to say to me that you don't think are fit for general hearing, but I have no idea why you're so aggressive."
Homura Akemi 2015-12-20 03:23:17 19006
"Well. First and foremost, I don't like you that much."

Homura's thumb rubs against the Soul Gem ring on her finger. Just to remind herself that it's there.

She turns to face him with a stone-cold stare, as she starts listing her grievances. "You're cocky, smug, full of yourself. I'd have to say the first thing that pisses me off about you is your attitude. Normally, none of that would be any big deal, because I could just ignore you. Now you're dating Madoka-chan, and that means I have to put up with your arrogance."

She crosses her arms, tilting her head at him. "Secondly, the way you talk to Madoka, the way you say that she's 'special' to you... It all sounds like empty double-talk. It's like you can't honestly say that you love her, even a little. You allude to it with words like 'I can't stop thinking about you' and that she's 'special', but you can only allude to it, because you don't really feel that way."

Homura's purple eyes narrow. Her hands clench. If he blows up about anything, it's probably going to be this. "... and since we both saw what happened during the bumper cars, I don't think there's any point in hiding it. Takashi Agera-san. I know a number of people who use dark energy, and most of them I don't like very much. I especially don't like a darkness user getting so close to Madoka."
Takashi Agera 2015-12-20 03:48:37 19009
Takashi shrugs. "I've never really liked you that much either, Akemi-san. Something about you rubs me the wrong way. You're cold. Like you're trying to hide yourself from me." He means 'people around you' but Takashi has never been not self-centered.

"You know, it's only arrogance if it's unfounded." he adds, in one sentance probably confirming all of the negative things Homura thought about him. But when she talks about Madoka, that smug, snake-like grin and style seems to rapidly dip off. "Look, Madoka and I..." he does seem to legitimately have trouble finding the words. So he resorts to hostility, like a secruity blanket. "I really don't like how hostile you're being. Just because I'm having a hard time saying it doesn't give you any right to judge me for it." he says, his fist clenching and unclenching.

Then Homura's eyes narrow, and she starts talking about the energy he wields. So he decides to let her in on a small truth, to hide a bigger lie. "Look, I'm sure that you're judging me for that. Without knowing the story." he says, sighing a bit. Takashi holds out his hand, and a little ball of darkness forms in it. He's taking a risk here, but he's hoping it pays off - besides, she already knows. "I've been able to do this since I was little. My mother used to work with dark energy. I think I got infected when she was pregnant. It doesn't make me evil." he says. Of course, other things he does might. "And you've probably picked up where I work... look, why do you work for Hannah?" he asks, after a pause, hoping it'll lead him to an answer he can co-opt himself.
Homura Akemi 2015-12-20 04:12:12 19012
"Yeah well I have a lot of secrets." Homura frowns. "So do you. I don't much care what yours are, and I don't want to tell you mine."

'It's only arrogance if it's unfounded.' Homura tilts her head. It's hard to tell if her expression ever changes. "Even well-founded arrogance can bring severe disadvantages. Cockiness can get you killed. No matter how strong you get, there's a chance you'll meet something stronger than you, and if you're blind to that you could die in an instant."

"Even if an enemy isn't that strong overall, underestimating it at the wrong moment will be the end of you. It's a bad habit."

When it comes to Madoka, she listens, sighs heavily and then shrugs. "I know she isn't stupid. If she's willing to take a risk on you, that's her business. I've already spoken to her about it and it doesn't seem to bother her. So that's that."

"... but I am very protective of that girl. So if you hurt her it's going to make me very cross with you." Homura flips her hair after saying this.

Homura watches as Takashi shows his dark energy. She watches it form in his hand, studying it. "I suppose I could give you a little bit of leeway, since you were born with it. However, I do object to one point. Darkness does have a way of making you evil. Your temper, for example."

She's... frowning a little less? Yet her frown comes back when asked about Hannah. "Yeah, I know you work for Eclipse. I don't work for them directly, but if you know about WPS..."

Homura shrugs. "She wanted to scientifically experiment on magic. She had a particular interest in getting rid of Witches, which are creatures that I personally despise. I wanted to see what she'd come up with while experimenting on them."
Takashi Agera 2015-12-20 04:42:31 19015
Takashi shrugs a bit at Homura. "I think it's somewhat obvious we're both going to be keeping secrets from each other for some time." he says, and the dark energy in his hand loses cohesion, dissapating into the air in small black motes.

"The way you talk, it sounds like you spend a lot of time fighting." he says. It's not a combative thing, just an observation.

"Look. You are like the third person to tell me I'll be in a lot of trouble if I don't treat Madoka well. And you are not even the most scary." he says, calmly. Then, a bit sideyed. "I mean, have you even met her mother?"

"My temper isn't evil, Akemi-san. It might be a personality flaw I should overcome, but evil? I mean... I've seen evil. I've seen youma, witches. Those things Sharpe-san keeps in the research labs. I think that's a much greater evil."

"Yeah, I'm impressed by Hannah's dedication. She wants to rid the world of them, I think. Or maybe just all youma." he says. "Well, just like her, I use my unique... talents... curses... it's a little of both, really - to try to make sure those little horrors we see in the night stop attacking people."
Homura Akemi 2015-12-20 04:55:28 19018
Homura actually smiles at the mention of Junko. "Oh I adore her mother. Specifically because she is scary. I wonder if Madoka will be like her when she grows up."

Temper isn't evil? Maybe not, but.. "Well, don't get me wrong, I get mad too. So does everyone. Even so-called warriors of Justice get mad. At the same time I don't see Sailor Moon flipping tables just because someone interrupted her dance, now do I?" Her expression doesn't seem to change, but her voice almost sounds like a snarl. "It's something to watch out for. To be careful of, if I were you."

Takashi's goal is the same as hers? That's a little too convenient. Homura isn't sure what to think of that, since she already suspects him of being the kind of person who uses words to... be selective with the truth.

"Is that a fact? Well, maybe that's at least partially true, but it's not as if Eclipse doesn't cause its own share of problems. Problems that I repeatedly find myself needing to deal with. I suppose as long as you aren't literally killing innocent people you could at least claim some kind of moral high-ground over a Witch, but that's putting the bar very low."
Takashi Agera 2015-12-20 05:29:38 19022
Takashi tilts his head at the WAY Homura smiles about Junko Kaname. "I'm not sure I see that in Madoka. Maybe she's just softer towards me than she is to you." A bit of a jab, mayhaps? Takashi isn't here /just/ to defend himself, after all.

"Junko Kaname could get pretty mad, too. I could see it in her eyes. I'm sure you have, as well. Probably at me. And I don't usually flip tables. Just when people stick their noses in my business for no particular reason. When my dance with a beautiful and cute girl gets interrupted for the second dance in a row. These are things that make me a little upset." he says, and it's obvious he's just holding himself together.

"But even still, I didn't injure anyone. So I found an outlet. You're lucky I did."

And then he drops it. "Well, you have to break a few eggs to make an omlette. Sometimes I have to be the chef. But we'll never get anywhere if we're afraid to ask the hard questions, to do the real science that'll lead us to an understanding of these monsters, of this energy. Then, what we could do with that... well, it's nearly limitless." There's a spark in his eyes - a spark someone who knows danger mind find a threat.
Homura Akemi 2015-12-20 05:42:13 19024
"There are a lot of wonderful things about Madoka Kaname-chan." Homura shrugs. She's unaffected by the jab. He's aiming for a sore nerve that just isn't there. If anything, it just bolsters her sense of 'I know her better than you'. "Junko is scary because she's strong. Madoka-chan has a very similar strength. Most people just don't see it yet."

Homura frowns with clear disapproval as Takashi compares his own anger to Junko Kaname. She doesn't even seem to react when his anger is compared to her own. Nothing he's saying is worse than what she tells herself.

'You're lucky I did.' That's a threat, or at least Homura is deciding to take it as one. "... and a less mature me would've just shot you for touching her. Aren't we both so lucky?"

Eggs. Omlettes. All of these things are probably things that Homura herself might say at one point... but what she does in desperation to save someone she loves, Takashi seems to do with...

Excitement? Is that what that is? What the hell?

Homura takes a step back from Takashi. Her once-narrow eyes are now too wide. What kind of person is this man, dating Madoka?

"Is that what you're after? Unlimited power? And you think that the darkness will lead you to that? You really are an arrogant man. I hope Madoka-chan's heart doesn't break too much when the power you seek destroys you."
Takashi Agera 2015-12-20 06:19:07 19025
Takashi nods along as Homura says there are many wonderful things about Madoka - here, they find a brief moment of agreement. "I'm not sure if I've seen the strength you see in Madoka - but I also believe in it." he says, with a slight smile.

Then, of course, Homura meets his smile with a frown. "I'm not sure the shot would've killed me. There's more to both of us than meets the eye..." he says, glaring at her. "But you care about Kaname-chan, and she cares about you, so I'm trying to at LEAST be civil."

And Homura takes a turn down another lane entirely, and Takashi's eyes become a glare. "If you want to change the world, you need power. This is a world with suffering, with sadness, with despair." he says. He manages not to do a dramatic arm sweep.

"If you don't do what it takes to get the power then you'll never be able to make the world better. You'll never be able to protect the people you care about. You're like me. You have power so that you can make a change, right? You made some sort of an agreement, because you wanted change." Takashi's eyes are lit up with a unique fury. "Well, I need to make changes to the way the world works too."
Homura Akemi 2015-12-20 06:52:55 19026
Homura listens to Takashi's words. Yes, the universe is rotten. Yes, things do need to change. Homura hates and despises the universe...

'Maybe I've been screwing up...'

No. No matter what, any universe that demands the death of someone like Madoka can only be an evil universe. Homura wont forgive it no matter what.

'Maybe that's why I've been failing.'

Homura Akemi grabs a desk, and then grabs her head. "Y-- you're wrong. I mean... sure, the world sucks, but..."

'And oddly enough, this... This is helping. Because for the first time since it happened, I actually feel a little bit of hope'

"... but you can't clean something by throwing it into the mud! You can't fix something by breaking it down further!"

'... but yeah. Hope. Hope is all we really have.'

Homura grips the edge of the desk, and hard, while holding her head. What the hell is going on with her? She knows what he said was right. Every word. Things need to change! You need power to do that! Yet... yet... Dammit, why does nothing make sense anymore?!

Homura reaches out with her hand. Her ring glows purple. That purple glow widens, covering her whole body, replacing her clothes piece by piece. Takashi knows this. It's her henshin. Homura grabs her shield.

"Sorry... but I don't want to talk to you anymore. I was never going to like you, but if you had left well enough alone I would've just accepted Madoka's unusual taste in men. I might even have bought into your sob story."

Homura tilts her head. "... but you just couldn't help but reveal your true nature, could you? That's what I was afraid of. If you couldn't even control it long enough for this conversation, how do I know you wont one day throw Madoka-chan around as if she were a table?"

Her grip on her shield tightens. "This conversation is over."

She turns the wheel. She's gone. There's also a tomato flying at Takashi's head.
Takashi Agera 2015-12-20 07:23:36 19027
Takashi stands and watches Homura as she... suddenly comes down with a big headache? A migraine? He's honestly perplexed.

"I'm not throwing it into the mud. The mud is where it is. I'm trying to pull it out. You just need the strength to do it..."

Homura reaches her hand out, and suddenly, it's not Homura Akemi - it's Puella Magi Homura Akemi. Her shield is up - and even as she talks, Takashi is acting on practiced instinct. The charm on his hand is a lot closer, in his palm now.

Homura says she doesn't want to talk anymore - and that he's revealed his true nature. This actually prompts a low laugh - but she's already just GONE - Axion registeres an anomaly again - and there's a tomato flying at him.

Takashi registers it as 'just a tomato' long after he's acted - not a full henshin, but his frost halberd rapidly bursts to normal size and the ice-like blade cuts the tomato in the air. Cleanly. There's a bit of a laugh as he twirls and it realizes how ridiculous this all is.

"I hope you've got more than just tomatoes. And guns." he says, to the person he already knows isn't there. This was still going to be complicated - and no, this talk didn't make it any better.