THE GHOST. You walk unseen. You speak but no one listens. Your footsteps no longer make a sound, and your heart can no longer bear to beat. However, you do not walk alone. The past walks along side you, keeping you company though you beg it to leave you be. The only shadow you cast belongs to your pain and clings to your every move. If you could just get someone to look at you, really look at you, maybe then you could be free. You scream and scream but still they do not see. You’re starting to fear that you may be cursed to scream forever.
tagged by: @caeloservare , thank you !
tagging: you !
[ RESOLUTE ] kagari wakes to find akane is already out of bed so he comes to find her and sleepily embraces her, refusing to let go. aka kagari/they take a brief (maybe accidental) nap & he's not a fan of waking up alone
there’s a light on. a strange kind of consolation in the lavender - dark. A silver of the world outside her half-open eyes hits her, consciousness snapping its fingers - make her drag out some awareness, and it turns murky, her hand absently fumbling for some grip, watching it get eaten up by the dimness in here. No jolting awake, just the static-y taste of inertia sticking to the roof of her tongue, a vague headache.
There’s a pillow - or a cushion - under her head, ear pressing into fabric, a blanket over her. A shift, and her foot hangs in thin air. A couch. Not a bed, a couch. And she’d narrowly missed rolling right off.
She feels her features coil closer. Not surprised when she places where she is, who she is with, but she blinks at the time glaring back at her from the display unit. Fifteen minutes ? No, it’s sometime into evening, and she thinks she’d been out for more than that. An hour. A bit more than an hour.
She doesn’t move, not for a moment, clarity descending on her, cutting through.
Kagari. Akane expects him to have taken up one of the other chairs, or a bed, or something else, but he hadn’t. Right here, back pressed to the couch, the back of his head inches away from her own. He isn’t awake, she realises, and her stomach twists with a mix of mortification and gratitude - he didn’t have to go through the trouble of shifting her to here. But he did.
A breath is drawn out. She’s careful not to wake him when she clambers off the couch, the faux leather decompressing, softly rustling, her own movements gawky.
Her throat feels dry.
The countertops gleam in the dim light. The kitchenette provides an immediate solution, and she makes her way over, filling herself a glass of water. It’s cold, and she feels more awake, less groggy, fingers curling around the edge of the counter, lazily tracing the underside of it.
And there it is.
She breathes in sharply when she feels his arms around her from behind, the glass lowered for a moment. Her shoulders coil in, but lower just as quickly, surprise fading to realisation - Kagari-kun. He’s awake.
“ you startled me ,” she says, finally. There’s a half-smile that drags through the words that drag through the after-effects of sleep. Not a word from him, but she’s already realising that he doesn’t intend to unravel himself from her yet. So she says instead, tone soft, light, “ i was going to wake you up in a while. but if you don’t want to head back up right away, i’ll wait. ”
It’s been a long day.
The glass is set down, half-full, half-empty and all, and she doesn’t have to see his face to know that he’s just as tired as she had been.
Nothing more is said, but she lets a hand rest on his arm, her grip light.
[ CARRIED ] kagari notices akane is starting to get sleepy so he picks her up to carry her to bed; either allowing her to sleep on his bed/couch pre-s3 or gets her to her own room post-fi <3
sleep announces itself in the midst of conversations so quiet, so rushed, hushed, that the words seem to crowd together. Her brows pinch together, oh, she’s getting too ahead of herself, isn’t she, fingers a millimetre away from the flickering blue of the interface. Bleary, she glances towards Kagari, noting the static-y teal spilling over his hands, etching into his face. A mental shake of her head, and she tries to proceed, let’s try that again.
Try what, exactly, she questions right after. Losing track of her own thoughts. Miracle that she keeps her composure, that she can string together a coherent enough sentence. Or not. She finds a seat, running through the last few of the documents, indices, figures, there it is - the detail that slips her, time and again, and she falls quiet. She falls quiet, and he waits. Notices, rather.
And she notices too.
Trying to find her way to her quarters will be a task, she’s sure. Nearly unwilling to move, feet like concrete blocks, and Kagari, quiet when he steps closer. She tries, of course, a reasonable suggestion - but not outright rejecting his own idea. She could spend the night here, she can get back to her room fine, but - she confesses that she’d rather not. Drowsiness pulls the last bit out of her, and she glances upwards from where she’s seated.
The chair creaks, moves a little, and she feels her frame swinging along with it.
Her heart drops to her stomach, plunges itself back between her lungs when she feels the ground tilt and fall off. If she’d felt half-conscious then, she doesn’t now, awake enough to protest, “ you don’t have to - you don’t have to carry me ‘til there. ”
That hadn’t been the plan, clearly. Not when he takes the corridor leading away from the usual. Away from her quarters.
She doesn’t feel like she could fall off. A breath let out, and she feels it now, her limbs turning limp, loosening, the day weighing her down, her head left in a haze. The workstation had been left running.
But that doesn’t matter.
Not for now.
The warmth moving inside out, she knows, even as they cut from harsh white to familiar gold ceiling lights, has nothing to do with the sensation of sleep intending to pull her under.
An answer, somewhere in the midst of the dim: it has to do with him.
Another breath let out, she falls quiet, lets herself be laid down on the couch - her head lifting when he asks her to, falling back - he’d kept a pillow under there. And he must have known, she wouldn’t last long, not when sleep drags over her like the blanket she feels herself being draped with.
And her consciousness lingers for a moment, the back of her eyelids burning with the lights, and then dulling into a throbbing black edged by red, the words I feel safe here and thank you staying in her thoughts before sinking.
[ CARE ] receiver finds the sender has fallen asleep somewhere and places a blanket or jacket over them.
it’s a cavalcade of a hastily opened door, the ashen smell that she has nearly memorised, the half-dark, the fumbling feet that stop and the one who squints and realises - thinks, rather, that she should come by another time. But the thought’s abandoned, her fingers holding plain cardboard, the folder stiff and unwilling.
The light etches itself around her feet, her shadow flung into its midst like a dagger. The ventilator hums, decidedly ineffective; the smell of nicotine never quite fades off. And she finds it peculiar, they clamp down on vices of the days past, but they allow this one to exist, to thrive, a small parliament of ammonia and tar crammed into boxes. And they smoulder on the table now, the smoke barely there.
For a while - barely a minute - she doesn’t move.
She could just leave it on the table.
She moves forward, breath held - a conscious act - wondering if she could breathe out, and hear glass break, or a thread snapping, or the figure on the couch stirring. Quiet, deliberate, she sets the folders down, intent on leaving right after, but she lingers.
She can’t see him too clearly in here, not with the dark that eats up any recognisable enough object. She can’t quite tell if he had woken or not, but assumes that he hadn’t.
Impulse is a curious thing; it implies a lack of control, an action that comes from you, but isn’t quite you, but you still act on it. Her fingers find the murky grey pile of what she could tell were blankets, pulling one out of the knotted, tangled rest.
This is impulse, she thinks, but she thinks regardless - and decides that she would have done this either way. She half-wishes, half-wills him to not wake up, a sense of awkwardness sticking to her movements when she drapes it over him. Hasty, but she doesn’t leave him uncovered.
Akane breathes, shallow, quiet, muted, and now. And she leaves, not quite hurrying out.
The door is shut, and she finds her way back to chemical white and oil-green tinge, prepared to call it a day, dimly thinking of asking Kogami about the ventilation system the next day- and if it needed to be fixed.
Sesshomaru blinked, then returned to his book without much commentary, “Sesshomaru.” A beat, “Yukimura.” An afterthought; a surname that wasn’t a surname in sooth. He did not handle human names like they were labels or a hat, they were simply a name. A means to identify oneself. They were just there to place down when needed. Legal, binding, and often times troublesome.
A head tilt, “And yours?” She was, vaguely familiar now. Something about her tickled in the back of his mind, yet Sesshomaru couldn’t place her. Humans were numerous, exhausting, and the days blended as if they were one. The sun would rise, and then it would set. The time between meaningless and empty.
she stares at a peculiar stain on the ground, a ways off. Coffee, a shadow, a trick of light, she can’t quite tell. But it is admittedly more interesting than having to outlast a spell of quiet. Take this as your sign to leave, maybe?
There is no guarantee that she won’t be kept an eye on the next time she visits this side of the city. No guarantee that he will do much about this, either.
He says his first name without much punctuation, the surname like a thoughtful fullstop.
The truth, is sometimes better than a lie. Or so she tells herself, but she has always been a terrible liar, better at deceiving others without intending to do so.
“ tsunemori akane. it’s nice to meet you, yukimura-san … ? ” A wince, at the last bit. A drawn breath, she bites back the apology forming on her tongue. “ i guess we’re more likely to remember each other this way.“
” i think i left in a rush the last time, so i’m not surprised if you don’t remember me. " And hopefully, he doesn’t remember.
[ PERCH ] receiver sits on the counter while sender cooks. ( from zarina again; let her cook some home made dishes from both older japanese cuisine she learned over the years + some russian dishes... like a soup called ukha )
the kitchen stays lit, a softer yellow here, stark white out in the halls. The cold nibbles at uncovered ankles, her feet barely touching the floor. They talk, of course, words pouring over the silver streams of steam spiralling ceiling-ward, carrying small particles with them. The smell of soy, broth sticks to skin, a fog pleasant and plain enough to lose yourself in.
General talk at the start. It had been uncomfortable at first, and Akane has never been one for that, for showing up at someone else’s home at such short notice - especially not a colleague’s. But Zarina has her way, and her way strips away ordinary pleasantries, pushes in something more invigorating, thoughtful. Akane’s legs swing a little, once, twice, heel hitting the counter, fingers wrapped around the edge.
The fridge hums.
The cooker goes off again, sending a fresh plume of steam upward, and she can feel it moisten the marble from here, can smell the rice left to cook, the starch cooking, the sweetness of it evident by scent alone.
Conversation flows now, what had been slow as honey at first is a stream cutting down a mountain, left to run, left to overflow.
Curious, she leans over, still keeping a pointed distance from the stove, and there it is - the sound of oil, rising, falling, like winter rain, and it wrecks the pauses that Zarina allows to sit. Akane curls her hands in her lap, but she pulls at the hem of her shirt regardless, waiting, watching, questioning.
Among the rustle, the pots of gyudon and potato stew, is something new. The question is asked ( is that - that’s bass, isn’t it ? what is it ? ), and the answer is given, a rather vague give it a try, a spoon held out for her to test and see for herself.
Stories were for later, clearly.
Akane’s fingers wrap around wood, weighing and eyeing what seemed to be clear soup, but she doesn’t dwell too long and deliberate over it. She has it - broth, fish, leek and all.
The pan murmurs lazily.
“ it’s delicious.” A calm, but sincere, bright answer, her eyes shining in the lights. She clambers off the counter this time, peering over the pot and its contents, questions, more questions leaving her. “ it really is. it’s soup, isn’t it ? how is it made?”
[ WARM ] sender finds the receiver has fallen asleep somewhere and places a blanket or jacket over them.
weariness wears you down and you wear it like a jacket you barely shrug off; she is still somewhere in the midst of sleep and awareness, an island that fills the in-between. The dark like a gaping mouth, white light sticking to skin with a stubborn company of files and scattered pages. Her fingers are stiff, who knows what time it is, and perhaps she should have taken a break, a moment to let herself wind down - too late, too late, sleep presses down and she finds her head drooping, the desk is cold, cold, cold, her arm is some respite.
Her throat closes in on her.
The tar of night, the overhead lamp is still on, the back of her eyelids burn, but she drifts - still a visitor leaning over the edge of the conscious world, the sound of someone, something rustling pulls a piece of her thoughts to the surface ( it’s warm, warmer ) and she thinks: oh, she dozed off in the middle of - of … something. She can’t bring herself to remind herself about what exactly she had been doing.
Her hand moves, absentminded gesture, and she feels something brush past her ears. Something falls off the desk, clatters to the floor, it must have been something light, but the movement above stops. Fabric. Cloth. A shawl? No. Thicker, larger than that, but not too thick.
She ( who ? ) lingers, but Akane grasps onto one meaningful word, a name she places with ease ( Kimiko, is it ? ), and says, softly, before she is dragged under again, “ thank you. ”
the bar is a kind of mutual haunting: an art gallery of peculiar faces, bent spines and chopped-up conversations. Peace is attained in its own way, and she thinks, this is safe in ways and then it’s not in others. The book’s cover is dull and crisp, her fingers absently tracing the gilded letters. Will it be kept, will it be let go off, she can’t quite tell, yet. But the information has been sold, it is, in a sense - both hers, and not.
She’ll keep it until the case is done.
She knows better than to hold on to what haunts, what stalks.
“ the laundry kind. i was told that it’s available en masse. ” She keeps her answers plain, straight, but with enough room to twist into anything. “ i can’t say i’ve peeked into the contents yet, but i hope it’s what you wanted. ”
“ i should go. ” A whisper, and she glances down to her now occupied hands, trying not to look around. A night train out of this ward, she should be able to make it back in time, not enough eyebrows raised, not enough calls made.
And she rises, stowing the book away into her messenger bag.
“ thank you. is there something else i should keep in mind ?”
Can I find you again ?
His grin shifted, akin to a cat with cream as he tucked the box away seemingly into the overcoat ( how, no one knew – and no one was about to ask ). “Agneau.” He hummed to himself, the fringe of silver shifting just a touch to reveal a glimmer of green ere it shifted back to covering his face. “You’ve taken your first step into the dark. I would take great care to keep a light with you as you continue down it.” He didn’t stand, but it was the indication that their conversation was over with, more or less.
“I would exercise caution who you let into your confidence going forward. Not everyone has the best intentions, and they will use you as much as you will learn to use them.” He stood, intending to leave. The hat was gathered up and placed ‘pon his head, and doffed at Akane. “Especially someone as yourself, Miss Akane Tsunemori.”
With that, the man vanished within a blink of an eye – leaving her with two drinks on the table, and a book in her hand. The din and crowd of the Quindecim simultaneously engulfing the silence, and leaving a sense of lingering alienation.
a new dominator … it’s admittedly something that creates a vague sense of amusement. she can’t remember the last time someone in ether division she’s worked with required a new one. damage to them isn’t all that common, anyway. perhaps this mishap has a silver lining; the production of dominators reassessed, the casing which protected the inner network improved…
such a thing would likely be the only contribution she considers worthwhile throughout her time, thus far, with the mwspb.
“… i see.” takehiko straightens, and returns her gaze to rest upon tsunemori. “just let me know if i’m needed for anything regarding it.” some amount of paperwork, probably … not her favorite monotonous task, but at least something she’s largely able to autopilot.
“i …” she’d not eaten all day, some tea over leftover rice upon waking, and that was it. “…well, i was told i’m free to go, as there doesn’t appear to be any significant damage to my cybernetics or my body from the current interference. admittedly i was just taking a bit of time to breathe and grit my teeth.” the residual sensation of the shock is certainly an unpleasant one, but she’s been told it should fade overnight. if anything persists, she’s to return in the morning. “i’ll accompany you. don’t go runnin’ back-and-forth on my account.”
familiarity takes residence in the quiet that stretches and fades. Akane lowers her shoulders a little, the stiffness vanishing. Awkwardness, perhaps, the other has always felt a little distant, and not all the same. But she reaches, doesn’t she, polite, but not intent on keeping away, on pulling away.
The resolution itself had been tidy, but that didn’t mean that it hd gone as smoothly as the initial reports seem to suggest, the list of damages feeling more like an after- thought. Akane is yet to turn in her own report, and had done nothing but stare at the nearly-complete document, not typing another word, for the past hour.
“ i’ll be sure to let you know when the break is done - but i think you’ll have to fill out a brief statement for the reports.” That’s not much to do, but she makes no promises. The rest is up to Ginoza.
Paperwork, papercuts, mundanity. A brief spell of quiet before their next assignment, but they’ll take it.
“ i don’t mind, i was planning on taking a break either way; you can only sit for so long at the desk, right ? ” A faint laugh, sincere, mild. She lets it fade into a small smile, her hand already reaching for the doors. “ but i don’t mind if you want to come with me, either. what would you prefer to have ? ”
Her treat, she makes that much clear.
[ WALTZ ] our muses dance together in kagari’s room. <3 it's an idea he came up with; a slow-dance, goofy & meant to temporarily let them forget their responsibilities and simply live life doing things normal people would
Joy. it’s a stupidly simple word, simpler synonyms, but simplicity works best, staying on her tongue like too-warm tea, sticking to the roof of her mouth. Mundanity shouldn’t be so sweet, but it is, and they find it harder, don’t they, to seek out any sense of slowness, softness. They have a moment, Kagari makes her seize it, makes her want to seize it. A hand held out for her, and he’s already kicking off his shoes, like he knows she’ll only take a moment, that she’ll only say - I don’t think I know how to dance that well, that she’ll join him anyway.
And join, she does.
She follows suit, shoes off - she’d rather not step on his toes with them on - her fingers slightly chilly, but warming in his grip, pulling herself off the all-too familiar couch she’s sure remembers her shape now. Not nervous, but waiting, waiting, some old, pop song left to sizzle somewhere. Unfamiliar, maybe not suitable, but it’s paid no mind. You can expect the unusual from him, can expect something different to come up after a spell of quiet, but you can never quite tell what.
Akane takes the plunge all the same, takes it with him.
Almost bare feet, there’s just the faint scuffing of socks against more barren floors, she lets him guide her, falling into a simple rhythm, the to and fro that is half-in-time with song playing, but haphazard all the same. A pace is picked up, footing gained, and she attempts to join with, hand over hand over fabric, chin on shoulder, she doesn’t have to stand on her tiptoes, doesn’t have to dance to keep up with him.
Slip into comfort, into ease, into familiarity. They’re draped in halogen orange, vague gold, slipping, getting stuck between folded elbows like pulp between teeth. Her mind drifts, of course - the taste of alcohol still with her, the reports left unattended, the laboratory below, how everything has happened to him, the coffee mugs and dishes left to pile, the way she intends to do something, wash them, do what she can for him.
Her thoughts rest here, more than anywhere else, anytime else.
Another giggle spills from her, her head tossed back slightly, gaze resting on the ceiling and its miniature suns lit up in the dead of the night, in his windowless rooms, spinning, they’re spinning, the lights spinning into blurry streaks, and there’s someone laughing. Her? Him?
She can’t tell.
But they mingle, syllable after syllable, step after step, he lets her spin again. Slower than before, but she finds herself holding onto him, but she tells him she doesn’t mind it, doesn’t mind the lightness, the quickness that fires her nerves, makes her laugh harder with the suddenness of it all.
She feels like she ought to feel.
And here it is, the curiosity that never fades and she looks back down from the ceiling: how do you feel ?
Breathless, they slow down to a stop, steadying each other, holding on, holding on. The laughing stops, the half-there apologies fade, but they stand there for a moment longer, her leaning in, him leaning back some - not away - for balance, she supposes.
We should do this again, she wants to say.
You always know how to peel my heart open like an apple and I’ve never felt better, she wants to say.
Thank you, she wants to say.
But she lifts her head instead, blinking away the twins suns sticking to her vision, pressing her lips to his cheek.
me @ ur writing tbh
- [ REQUEST ] sender walks into receiver’s room hoping to crawl in bed with them.
- [ INVITE ] receiver walks into sender’s room hoping to crawl in bed with them.
- [ SETTLE ] receiver sits in sender’s lap and proceeds to play with their hair.
- [ ALLOW ] sender sits in receiver’s lap and proceeds to play with their hair.
- [ REST ] sender places their head in receiver’s lap.
- [ RELAX ] receiver places their head in sender’s lap.
- [ EXPLORE ] sender sits in receiver’s lap and wanders their fingers across their face.
- [ MAP ] receiver sits in sender’s lap and wanders their fingers across their face.
- [ SIT ] sender straddles receiver while in bed and runs their fingers along their body while they talk.
- [ LAY ] receiver straddles sender while in bed and runs their fingers along their body while they talks.
- [ PERCH ] receiver sits on the counter while sender cooks.
- [ WATCH ] sender sits on the counter while receiver cooks.
- [ CARE ] receiver finds the sender has fallen asleep somewhere and places a blanket or jacket over them.
- [ WARM ] sender finds the receiver has fallen asleep somewhere and places a blanket or jacket over them.
- [ ESCORT ] receiver notices the sender is starting to get sleepy so they pick them up to carry them to bed.
- [ CARRIED ] sender notices receiver is starting to get sleepy so they pick them up to carry them to bed.
- [ COMFORT ] receiver sits sideways, cradled in sender’s lap.
- [ HELD ] sender sits sideways, cradled in receiver’s lap.
- [ MORNING ] receiver wakes before sender and lays on top of them.
- [ RISE ] sender wakes before receiver and lays on top of them.
- [ JOIN ] receiver is laying on the floor/ground for some reason and sender simply joins them.
- [ SHARED ] sender is laying on the floor/ground for some reason and sender simply joins them.
- [ SPLASH ] receiver purposefully runs out into the rain without an umbrella to enjoy the storm while sender watches.
- [ OBSERVE ] sender purposefully runs out into the rain without an umbrella to enjoy the storm while receiver watches.
- [ APPROACH ] receiver wakes to find sender is already out of bed so they come find them and sleepily embrace them, refusing to let go.
- [ RESOLUTE ] sender wakes to find receiver is already out of bed so they come find them and sleepily embrace them, refusing to let go.
- [ ROMANCE ] our muses kiss in the rain.
- [ WALTZ ] our muses dance together in their living room.
- [ WISH ] our muses stargaze.
- [ SUMMER ] our muses relax on a beach.
- [ WINTER ] our muses cuddle while watching a snow storm.
1 for both mun and muse! <3 you (vini) are really easy to talk to
(if i didn't fall asleep so often we'd probably talk more lmao), and you ARE writing miss goddess tsunemori of all character's who's as cute and strong of heart as she is of face.
You would probably never believe it - but did you know that the mun is literally just a goldfish irl ( read as: I forget to respond to messages a lot too lmao ) ? And puh-lease, Akane may be 5′4″, but she is 5′4″ of both all things sweet and kickass.
Faye remembers afternoons at the estate. Remembers a comfortable bed in a room filled with sentimental things, a closet full of clothes, and a taste for the finer things in life. There are expensive schools and after school time with friends, these memories sort through her head like faded polaroids. Everything feels PICTURE PERFECT, except for the way she thinks - and it’s hard to keep that under wraps, isn’t it? To feel that distinct lack of faith for humanity, to feel stranger than the fiction that was their lives. There’s no flicker of guilt when she takes and she steals, in fact, it’s a rather thrilling feeling, isn’t it? Elicit and rare, you’re not supposed to want to do things like that, are you? Faye was always playing around, on the tips of her toes until the day that they take her - and even then, all she’s got is a coy smile wrapped around that red-slicked mouth of hers - off to glass walls and a total lack of privacy, to a place where she waits, up until they choose her.
How what was once fiction, becomes her release.
They don’t view the work they do the way it is - they consider it a PUBLIC SERVICE, a means with which to clean up the city of all those that dared to step out of line. They’re all the same - only the way Faye sees it, this serves her double duty, she grasps at the edge of placating her hue with the violence and thrill that this affords her. Everyone’s here for a different reason, and all of them have something essential missing from them, don’t they? Should be be upset? Feel taken advantage of? Who cared, she thinks - it’s not quite that deep, is it? They watch as others find themselves at a different route taken than them, they provide punishment and rehabilitation to those that kneel. They are the guards to a rotting system, warmed and shaped by it. Faye thinks, in knowing that, there’s no guilt left to harbour, so long as she performs for her new master, who cares what’s next? After all ; it’s the closest thing to freedom that she’s ever been able to afford.
Akane is a part of this machine too, though she supposes, perhaps, she might be a little bit different than the others. What began was teasing fades into a familiar ease around one another, and even now, with her razored words and her teasing PUSH, the Inspector remains an instrument with a more hallowed sound. It comes from a pure place, but it does nothing to move her heart, though, she supposes, she learns to be a little kinder in effect towards her. How she’s growing, too, with thicker skin and a hardened stare, how she moves from being someone who watches, to someone who now smokes alongside of her - someone who puts her emotional baggage beneath her eyes, how they bruise and stain for her effort and beneath the weight of complex emotion. But like glass, when fired, she transforms, doesn’t she? Into someone more capable. Someone more herself, and someone more distant than she imagines Akane imagined she’d become.
Does it wear better than she liked? That skin, that new self, does it bother her to realize how she conforms and chafes against the system? Faye LEANS IN instead, like now, taking glee in dipping her palms within this tainted fountain offered up in this investigation. The people here lay beneath a fog of fear and agitation, so thick, so dense, she could all but taste it. And Faye being Faye, she twists the knife while she has the chance, delighting in their discomfort, how fire sparks when she rubs closer to others, like some cursed confirmation, a realization that she is leaving behind some mark, however brutal. At least it’s real, stripped of the fake nicities and purposeful kindness that others put up to keep their hues bright. Those fakers. How could anybody trust anything from others, knowing how that sentiment lurked behind every word, each action - it’s fear for being seen as out of line, but they’re liars, liars all.
Akane is tense and she knows it springs tighter - there’s someone there that has her attention, and she hears him at the same time as Akane does, a more mischievous smile springing. Oh no. It’s a problem, isn’t it, she’s willing to pour kerosine in order to flush out a rat. It’s a testing look her way - will she stop her? Faye picks her fight and doesn’t throw open the doors as she wants to ( oh how that makes her want to sulk ), but holds out an arm in warning, her head cocked. “Someone in there has A GUN.” oh how that elicits delight! The case is more interesting than a bust open melon down below - the stakes are higher, and oh, this is so much more of a gamble than she expected, and that, that is what she is here for. “May I go first~?”
civilisation is honeyed laze and columns of questions they say you shouldn’t have, but she prods regardless. There’s nothing about this that scares her or stops her or makes her pull away. Do it with moderation, then, the sense of just enough, the balance that people seek for, and she doesn’t have to look too far for that. And some say that sense ended when the prints stopped printing so much, when people turned to pixels - and she finds it curious, more than anything, the they say, he says, she says that they build an idea, an image of their pasts from. Faye is passed on information from lifeless cubicles like a bad cold, and there’s the secretary who scrambles now, and Akane wonders - worries fleetingly - that she might think too much of it, but her anonymity is assured, and she isn’t the only one who could know of this. Gossip comes from somewhere, doesn’t it, it comes from the grapevine.
She watches the other, wordless, not entirely pulling away from the itch, the need, the simple want to know and know and know. It doesn’t help that the files are not her concern, access would only raise a few more eyebrows, and how many more disagreements is she meant to have? ( As much as it takes ) But the solution is simple; asking her directly is simple enough, but Akane dwells on whether Faye will answer her, if she will want to. Does she mind her clumsy efforts at peeling away her own ideas, at reaching in, at understanding her, but those are thoughts for later. A question that crosses her mind a little too late, too soon to tell: and what do you think of me ?
Heart is a word, a place holder, they take it for granted, they wring the word dry and she pulls at the less anatomical definition. It’s meant to be just as red, just as alive, but that’s not enough. That’s too much for the system. That’s something else in the hands of these people who fray and are pushed over, but she doesn’t try to dwell over it - overthinking tears away what meaning does remain of it, thinking too little does the same thing. Did the killer think of the weight, the consequence, the way they did something, but changed nothing ?
Half-dark here, the door is split, light, shadow, the artificial plants by the side sizzling, the static making its material clear enough. And - oh, the way the other’s lips curl up and shift, preparing, can only mean one thing. Akane swallows, nervousness curling in her stomach like a half-eaten meal, her nostrils flaring, but she is no shy, new thing now is she - a touch inexperienced, but she makes up for it by learning and pulling and preparing. The marble floor can only do some favour, too slippery to bother giving them enough grip to stand on, but whoever runs will have a harder time if something were to be spilled. An eye on the filters a little ahead, a metal giant. Keep that in mind, keep this unfortunate bottle at hand. But - what is she even thinking, it won’t get that far. Wishful thinking, a habit to be rid of.
The voices subside for now, and her lips thin. Akane trusts her instincts, trusts her to be able to navigate through this, but there’s that lone if, a feeling that this is a touch too exposed, a too narrow space, a bottleneck situation in the works.
A gun - and oh, that’s something to keep in mind.
“ if they do, then - they’re not alone, either. there’s someone else in there and - ” Her eyes turn over, wondering, the death had been an immediate report, the premises sealed off, no one goes out - no goes in, the works. Her brow furrows, and she realises, unarmed or not, this could develop into something newer, fresher, lethal. “ this could escalate. ”
Her eyes shine as she turns to the other, setting herself across, judging already, a deliberate choice, and she realises, the authority is still hers, she is meant to have the leash, but she doesn’t hold it, doesn’t mean to keep Faye under her control, doesn’t mean to see her as a subordinate.
“ i’ll go in with you. ” Quiet, firm, her fingers holding on to lukewarm handle, placed a little further from the hairline trigger, not quite drawing it out - alarming someone is the last thing she wants, anticipating this to turn into some pursuit, and dimly hoping that she doesn’t hinder the other if it does.
A knock, brisk, and another, and another, with no reply, and she issues a clear - but polite - declaration, wondering if the mention of the MWPSB will trigger something. A scramble, the sound of something metallic locking.
And there it is, the high, flighty voice that signals perspiration and contorted faces, some plea - something garbled past recognition, on repeat, on repeat, on repeat.
A nod, a mute ‘go ahead’ from her, pressed to one side of the door frame, mahogany meeting viridian, her head tilting to the door. This will have to be broken down, then, but she can only hope that this isn’t a harsh measure, that they won’t be proven wrong.
Valerie studies the detective’s eyes with a glacial sort of curiosity, imbibing these details of the investigation that could be very well made up to see if she had something different to add, or to catch her on candling ice. No, it would never be completely quiet, the vampire liked to make them sing a little to get the blood going. Fear and blood, salt and meat. Same, right? ( A disinterested nod. )
“Fairly quiet, though we get some disturbances now and again. I don’t recall hearing anything, to be frank. If I did, it obviously wasn’t enough to make me stop and investigate.” She wets her lips, leans leather-clad elbows on the edge of the table to peer into her cup of coffee. Bits of frothy residue cling in ringlets to the ceramic and she takes the spoon in her fingers to idly perturb these formations.
“Something like that.” Tattoo artist would be coating her line of work in a generous glaze of talent she did not possess. Her designs were fairly simple, clean-cut and sharp-lined, usually no bigger than an old pound coin. Imagine still having those. She did, however, hide among the real artists, hence the title was not entirely misplaced. How does one marry consensual memory manipulation and contraband all in one? Count on Ms. Clemence to figure that out.
It is a spectacle. There. Right there, she wants to put her finger in it and press pause, hold it, hold it and slow it down. Nightbloomer, isn’t she, this one? That moment of recognition, of knowing she shouldn’t have known it. Valerie is beaming. Now they’re talking; let the silly man be dead.
“The real thing, yes. Well, about as real as you want to have it— was it love, infatuation, enchantment? For the sake of making this easy, let’s say it was love.” That cigarette is spent, scorching her fingertips, and she stubs it with a jerky motion. “This maddening love that led to her demise. The full extent of a human emotion, paradoxically too grand for the body to hold. See, Sibyl felt too much but that only made her human, and Sybil castrates the wild edges of our humanness. It’s for everyone’s safety, sure.” Is the other still following? Valerie’s eyes are flickering with something akin to hunger, something primal. Connection.
“What I want to know is: what do you think, detective? Aren’t you at least a little bit curious to have a taste of that? To feel something so intensely that your world begins to tilt?”
traffic is extinct.
The roads run smooth, and they see maddening crowds of steel beetles and shuttered vehicles, but traffic, trouble, accidents, things of the past, and the roads are relics to a life the nation has discarded. A dress that no longer fits this new vision. You can look now from the metal heart of this place, she supposes, and miss the city for the skyscrapers. Valerie must find herself at home, in the older, untouched parts of Tokyo - rare as they are.
She plays fair, logical, but she doesn’t ignore herself, her own instincts. The story so far has been smooth, hasn’t it, an ideal narrative, too much ambiguity for anyone to point out what is true and what is not.
There are a million other ways to kill someone. Cleaner, more efficient. A part of her thinks of a rogue droid, hacked into, controlled remotely, but the victims’ fates had been personal. A butcher’s knife, a wolf turned lamb, predator turned prey.
Hidden, messy, which makes this something less taunting, but no less purposeful.
Her cup is not neglected, and she deliberates ordering something else.
Predator turned prey.
“ i see. ” Thin response, a thin smile, thinner than the milk they use here. But the conversation is not done, not closed, but if she were to give up, to pull away from the lead here, the only one left interviewed, what then?
Emotion is only human, only flawed, only natural, only cutting and healing, and she supposes madness has never been a state of mind ( a state of heart, then ? ). Go on, have a taste of it, it’s blood rushing to a vein until it pops, like those long-gone cars gathering, gathering at the site of an accident, until there patience ran out.
Social catastrophe ( they say ).
“ it’s true that emotion drives a human being, but a human being drives emotion, too. but when it’s put that way - it makes them inseparable. i guess we wouldn’t be human without them. ” A tilting head, curious. Curious woman, her. Sybil - this Sybil - is a collection of cog wheels within another machine, a heartless heart, but it isn’t the end, it isn’t the only means of living. Not for her. And oh, she smiles, small, lacing back secrets of her own behind colourless lips. “ i’ve had something like that shoved down my throat once, but it wasn’t everything. ”
No, not emotion.
A truth. A hypothesis. She had been a perfect example, is the perfect citizen, used and discarded, and provoked, still an experiment for a vision.
“ do you mind if i asked you something, instead ? ” She avoids answering directly, unsure, uncertain, but learning, prying the other apart, trying to. “ when is too much not enough ? “
3, 6, and 9 for the writing and characters column!
What inspires your writing?
In a not-so narcissistic fashion, my own writing. This isn’t to say that it’s my inspiration 100% of the time, but I find it easier to tap into a narrative voice that way. Other than that, definitely a good book, a film, or just some random thought that makes me go ‘that sounded pretty good, actually’ and has me scrambling for a notebook.
Do you enjoy your own writing, why or why not?
I know I joke about it being terrible sometimes, but I don’t hate it. The opposite, really! I will definitely critique it, and there is always room to develop it further, but for someone who primarily writes in non-English languages, I’d say I’m doing a good enough job. So, yes, I do enjoy my writing, the good and the bad.
Are you someone who prefer a lot of paragraphs, or few?
Uhhh it depends? Usually I like more paragraphs depending on the context / basic press formatting, but sometimes I like larger paragraphs if the idea is still relevant enough.
Are there any characters that make you uncomfortable?
Willy Wonka. I will not elaborate.
What is your favorite show, but your least favorite character in said show?
Typical af, but as much as I love House MD, I find House himself unbearable. Like, sure, there was some balance in the earlier seasons, but the later seasons just couldn’t sell the writing behind him as well.
What is the biggest turn-on in characters? * not sexually speaking
Complexity is a vague answer but in general, I just like characters that have this narrative and thematic ambiguity so to speak. Unreliable narrators, questionable choices, characters that make you wonder about what’s even going through their heads - I could go on.
THE FIRST MEETING. life is normal. it’s scripted. it’s functional. then one day, you meet them, and… Oh. you fix your posture, you’re a little nervous, and it’s totally possible you’re just projecting – but this could be something. and the only thing that makes this different from the hundreds of other times you had that exact same thought only to be disappointed is… this is the time that counts. things change. you were looking for someone whose very existence re-contextualized yours. which is not to say that you were incomplete, but… aren’t we all? isn’t that the essence of being a being who changes? and what completes us if not the love of something or someone beyond us? sure it’s still new, and anything could happen from here, but there’s something in your shared brain chemistry that makes it feel like good things are in motion. how exciting!
tagging: @yeonban , @lostsovl , @deathtender , @sorrowmarked , @cauterisen , @caeloservare , @unshackle , @thissilence , @axisanimus , @zorkaya , @spiegls , @copadjacent , @ you !
“You could’ve been killed!”
tell her about the thought you had, tell her about the memories that were pulled out like bodies from a lake. Tell her that she had overstepped, that she had gone a little too ahead for your comfort. Her throat is strung, drier than dry, cold, she ought to feel less clearer than this - foggier at least. This is new, she thinks, sure that she has heard that sharpness in his voice a handful of times, but rarely directed at her.
She would hurt [ none ] and that is her nature.
She would hurt and that is her nature.
She is hardly bleeding, not even a scratch on her, she could claim that this had done nothing to her, but what would it have taken - the wrong step, being sighted a little too soon, a wrong turn? Too far, too close / too much, too little. Akane knows she sees a flicker of something else in his face but she doesn’t prod him for that just yet.
An apology sits on her tongue, trying to find a way between sealed lips, but she swallows it, not willing enough to look away from him. A reminder, but it’s not as though she hadn’t expected for someone else to be affected. Anticipated.
A risk, measured, taken, not unplanned.
But still a risk.
“ i knew i wouldn’t be. ” She sounds hushed, she’s sure, but clear still. The light pries through curtainless windows, padding through like an uninvited visitor. Her life - or the life of five others? She thinks of the men slipping into ambulances - but they’re alive, safer. This hadn’t be a dangerous, innocent mistake, and he knows that.
This will do nothing to change her, and he knows that too. Is this just in the moment, an attempt at making her realise something she already knows, has already taken into account, she’ll wonder.
“ if i had pulled out when i was supposed to - the people there wouldn’t have made it out in time.” A risk, she’s sure, but it was worth it, in the end. You know what I’m capable of, but she doesn’t say it aloud, doesn’t intend to accuse him. She relents for a moment, her eyes turning away for a brief, brief second, still clear.
“ thank you for coming, though. ”