rind: (nya)
rem ([personal profile] rind) wrote in [community profile] fares2030-11-05 12:12 pm


perma-open rp post.

1. call out a muse in the subject title.
2. comment with prompts, pictures, gifs, quotes, lyrics, anything, nothing, go for it. here's my hall of shame if you need any ideas.
3. profit?????????????????????

reciprocation: (ɴᴇᴇᴅɪɴɢ/ɢᴇᴛᴛɪɴɢ.)

[personal profile] reciprocation 2014-08-08 01:38 am (UTC)(link)
[ Unit 03 was an unforeseen miscalculation.

Off-the-cuff of consciousness, the thought mellows out and loses potency, tapers out and dissipates. There was no question to her survival at that time: she was awake, so it followed she was alive. She breathed, so it followed that she lived. Self-indulgence for the sake of it is a lacerating knife, the soft edges of remorse gaining form, attenuating into guilt. It's no redemption, but selfish as she is, she contacts the Third Children at the first chance given, yanking the barbs and the wretched futility out of her voice to be the mother he needs her to be.

Even as she concedes with bated breath, her brittle pulse lodges in her throat ("I'm sorry, Shinji. I'm so sorry, I'm so —") as he brokenly howls into the receiving end of the intercom. The omission of truth is still a lie. His voice punctures her.

Too little, too late, evidently.

The ground is smeared in body fluids.

The sheer amount of red is an exorbitant sight, blotchy and thick, dripping down in rivulets. Blood spattered at medium-velocity, scabbed over traffic lights and puddling in the gutters, sour and cooling. Her heels transfer their imprint, leaving solidly visceral impressions into the concrete as she exits the vehicle in strides (Tokyo-3 as silhouetted by the harsh brightness, the daylight ribboning out to extend her shadow along the concrete). Misato takes on her professionalism like ritualistic suicide — with pithy composure, doubt conceding to conviction. Clinical precision and militaristic resolution befit a major.

It's pathetic. Ritsuko sees straight through her, even with her eyes sharply pinned to the disembodied corpse of the Eva strung out by its declawed entrails, but neither of them voice anything resembling an accusation.

Just as well.

She's inevitably stuck with pencil-pushing sometime around noontime. Injured people were a liability. Considering the less-than-subpar state of affairs, she hadn't put up much of a fight, merely buckled down and took the heat. The Fourth Children deserved that much.

Toji Suzuhara can be delineated to statistics on a sheet, yet another variable chalked up to NERV's plausible deniability. How unlucky. Her head's heavy, and she recedes back into the seat to yawn, then continues the pace with pitching, impassive fervor. but The office is oppressively stifling. She shifts her position once, twice, thrice

Misato sinks down into the chair, absently re-adjusting her itching arm sling. At the near-inaudible click of the door opening, she halts mid-sentence, clinching the ballpoint pen between her fingers to the point of suffocation. She straightens on the assumption that Hyuga's came out of the woodwork to divide the paperwork out of good graces, but keeps her gaze trained on the current file, breaking the silence with a subdued laugh. ]
This sucks.
insinceres: SWORDS (ᴀʟsᴏ ɪᴅᴇɴᴛɪғɪᴇᴅ ʙʏ ᴛʜᴇ ɴᴀᴋᴇᴅ ᴇʏᴇ.)

[personal profile] insinceres 2014-08-08 03:45 pm (UTC)(link)
[ following the unit 03 incident, with the massive disarray that the u.n. committee was in — to say nothing of his other, more relevant organizations — data-related items were put on hold in order to facilitate clean-up and rebuilding. on account of that, his treble-role as an intermediary and information broker was suddenly much less needed. as expected, kaji was intimately cognizant that the recent incident was merely a timely excuse for commander ikari to feign holding off days consideration concerning his long-term "involvement" in nerv — his immediate future had to have been decided long ago.

of course, until he feels the welcome reverbs of nerv's metaphorical boot kicking his not-so-metaphorical ass to the curb, the realization will hardly stop him from donning his complimentary olive drab. life as usual for nerv's resident shameless inspector. in the meantime, he'd need to ensure that his focus did not turn inwards so far that he'd fail to realize the proper time to take his indefinite leave before anyone could boot him out. as far as kaji's concerned, there was no sense in dwelling on issues to distraction, especially at the expense of more tangible problems.

...and speaking of those who dwell on issues to distraction, a mass of hair is just barely visible from above the stack(s) of officialdoms, half a dozen paces from where he leans against the doorframe. kaji smiles out of instinct.

right now, any god who descended from the heavens to reveal their ethereal glory to misato katsuragi would have to have a really good sales pitch. and they'd have to produce a second, previously verified god, in order to provide a basis of comparison for their claims of divinity. and they'd definitely be job-hunting by the end of the month, if only to pay for their room and board.

aka: she sported the kind of bullheadedness that would make even the most seasoned charmer feel like an amateur.

And what if it was your good hand? [ rather, arm. good arm. ] In that case, you would've had no other option than to relegate all this paper shuffling to the First Lieutenant. Wouldn't that be a pain...

[ if kaji's expression was any judge, it was a shame that misato hadn't injured her good arm — surely to the benefit of both herself and the first lieutenant in question. the twinkle in his eye alone told of the fact that hyuga-kun would willingly acquiesce to offering his back as misato's personal office-chair if the situation ever called for it. kaji crosses the remainder of the distance in a less discreet fashion, carefully easing a cup of caramel cappuccino unto... whatever meager corner of her desk that wasn't overwhelmed with paperwork. because nothing says 'ganbatte' like offering a overpriced dose of caffeine, now uncomfortably lukewarm thanks to long distances and a momentary lapse in memory.

whoops. maybe he should ask if she could use a more comfortable office-chair.
reciprocation: (ғʟɪɢʜᴛ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ ɴᴀᴠɪɢᴀᴛᴏʀ.)

[personal profile] reciprocation 2014-08-13 02:59 am (UTC)(link)
Are you volunteering? [ Inflection laced with the vocal equivalent of four pints of lemon juice (sour, sour, sour), she swivels around and immediately retracts the entreaty, lips thinned to a line. ] ... Kaji-kun. I should've known. [ Greeted by the epitome of machismo slouched against the doorway, she clicks her tongue, expression shifting into feigned irritation. (Hyuga would've knocked, fist planted flat against the door for a good two minutes before he worked up the intestinal fortitude to pull the first punch.)

Whatever social clout allowed Kaji to prance around the annals of NERV, throughout the general public, and (assumably) various red-light districts in equal measure like a prepossessed egotist without getting arrested on sight was a failing on the behalf of the Japanese government to forcibly deport frauds. Womanizing frauds, at that. He had a habit for making passes at anything that moved, let alone any female in a ten-mile radius.

Kaji took the inviolable standard of quasi-casual workplace relations, nonchalantly bought it a drink or two, seduced it, and left it grasping at the straws of convoluted emotional investment for ten years. Katsuragi digressed. Analogies indicative of her stance on rekindled flames were better left dormant in the pit she'd extinguished them in. ]

Well, they don't write themselves. I can't waste my time bedridden while these pile up. One arm's better than none, you know! I'd complete them with my bad hand if I had to.

[ For emphasis, she splays her non-busted hand out for examination, fingers arcing upward. Carpal tunnel was practically imminent.

Misato abruptly shifts gears, eying the cooling coffee cup with half-piqued interest before dropping her gaze back to statistician hell. She'd take a sip when he wasn't looking. But more importantly: roping others into picking up the slack was infinitely better than the desultory imprecation of caffeine and wired nerves, even if that came with man-turned-chair transmogrifying benefits. Let it be known from here on out that Ryoji Kaji would make for good seating. ]

You could help me alphabetize the files I've finished so far if you've got this much free time on your hands.
Edited 2014-08-13 03:02 (UTC)
insinceres: IDA (ᴅᴇᴛᴀɪʟs ɴᴏᴛ ʏᴇᴛ ᴄʟᴇᴀʀ.)

[personal profile] insinceres 2014-08-13 06:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Is that an open invitation to pry into NERV's secret affairs? In that case...

[ rolling out a spare seat from across the room, kaji sits down comfortably with his chest resting against the back of the chair — a time-honored posture that spoke of both casualness and a dogged resistance to standard system. ] ...Don't mind if I do! You know I was never very good at being oblivious.

[ there were worse ways to idle away an hour. truth be told, he'd already perused many of the government complaints this morning, and doubted that nerv's port carried anything that would tell him anything new. it wasn't that he was cynical about the ability of the public to piece together nerv's many misrepresentations and omissions (actually, he was), or that he was bitter towards the groups that had consistently tried to portray themselves as benevolent forces (not much, anyway), but he long ago had come to the conclusion that most information worth knowing took more effort to find than simply reading on what others had to say. ultimately, these procedures were a form of entertainment.

regardless, misato might have shot herself in the foot by giving (feigning? for all his experience in reading people, he still couldn't quite tell one way or another) him the cold shoulder: because he spares not a minute before he's leafing through a random stack of untouched documents and... nonchalantly taking a drink from her cup. oh, he knows he's unlocked an irritation potential in that, which is precisely why he shoots her a bashful look from beyond the cup, clearly catered to cute-ify his every move.

I hope you still don't mind sharing my spit.
reciprocation: (sᴇᴛᴛʟᴇ ᴅᴏᴡɴ.)

[personal profile] reciprocation 2014-08-13 09:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Liar. [ Out of all of those trailing addendums perched at the tip of her tongue ("you know more than you'd ever bother letting on", maybe, or "you're closer to the truth than me"), she opts for the unspecified; something approximate, the substitution of accusations to convey everything she can't quite bring herself to admit. Things unsaid. ]

Why don't you turn a blind eye if it bothers you? [ Smarting with retorts and a god-given partiality for capriciousness, she obstinately clicks the pen and resumes her retroactive ignorance of anything that wasn't paperwork when Kaji deliberately one-ups his own self-imposed pissing contest cattiness and drinks the coffee he got her.

His face then and there is a textbook case of ingratiation reminiscent of their college days, complete with that smarmy, puppy-dog grin and demurely lowered lashes. So not cute. To hell with keeping her cool: she'd love nothing better than throttling him, storming out, and promptly indicting his ass on the rock-solid charges of sexual harassment.

But Misato can't maintain the pretense of busywork if she's engrossed with spurning her ex left and right like a wanton, blustering schoolgirl huffed up on schmaltzy melodramatics and a bad case of the heartbreaker syndrome. More than her resourcefulness, it's her ability to rise to the occasion that likens her to the proverbial dictator with militarism as her loaded die.

So, with nothing more than her pen dropping as a precursor, Katsuragi abruptly stands up, leans over to wedge her uninjured hand between his, and shimmies the cup out of his grasp and into her own. Taking great, ignominious pains to melt his face off with the intensity of her stink eye, she downs all 8 ounces of cappuccino straight from the mug and then turns the cup over to him, lips pulled into a coy sneer on provocation. ]

I don't mind at all! You can have the rest if you'd like.
insinceres: SWORDS (ʀᴀᴍɪᴇʟ: ᴛʜᴇ ғɪғᴛʜ ᴀɴɢᴇʟ.)

[personal profile] insinceres 2014-08-14 03:30 pm (UTC)(link)
[ needless to say, that is met with more than a healthy degree of light astoundment.

...which lasted approximately half a millisecond, before it faded into something else entirely. not wholly against his expectations, he was finding himself prepared for any sort of counteractive reaction. to be honest, the fact that her expression could have presently melted stone has him feeling even more amiable. a confirmation of the normalcy after periods of disaster. of course, that doesn't mean he is daft enough to needle her any more than necessary. and with a little luck, perhaps her inflammation would fade when said needling did.

a lot of luck, more like it. a ghost of a smile crosses kaji's face, indicating that somehow, she'd said what he was waiting to hear. sorry, misato — sometimes, the trouble with kaji's calm and yielding demeanor was that he tended to be calm and yielding. as usual, he doesn't rise to the bait, instead, he takes the proffered mug with a suitably impressed expression.

— Well, I needed some way to make sure it wouldn't go neglected. When it comes to sugar, a little goes a long way.

[ a justification on the grounds of a lack of better options. just the same, by the time its individual intonations and inflections were summed up, the added sugar quip seemed to hint that whatever the present topic was, it was simply a innuendo to something more intimate. perhaps he was daft enough, but like any high-stakes gambling, the potential payoffs were high, just as are the risks. anyone else who didn't share his name could hardly be blamed for deciding to find a safer route.

besides, if anything goes wrong, he should be able to limp to the medical compound where his body could be fixed.

But, maybe that's just the addict in me speaking. [ freeing his hands from the mug, he brushes a stray piece of lint from his uniform, in a fashion that couldn't help but call attention to outline of a cigarette pack wedged inside his breast pocket. ] You've seen how much Ritchan and I abuse those coffee machines. I thought it's high time for you to join in on our fun.
reciprocation: (ʙᴀᴅ ʀɪᴛᴜᴀʟ.)

[personal profile] reciprocation 2014-08-15 09:31 am (UTC)(link)
[ As per usual, he deflects one challenge and initiates another without skipping a beat, tapering down on rejoinders and conning her out of blocky, hamfisted victories. Kaji had contingency plans for his contingency plans sans omnipotence, apparently; if he'd been all-knowing, he would've let the chance for rekindling anything with her slip through his fingers unimpeded. It was a testament to his passive toleration for third-degree burns in jilted intimacy and the corollaries of decade-long dissatisfaction that he held out this long. The aftertaste of carmelized sugar lingers still, sticking to the roof of her mouth and twisting her lips into a pucker.

She always took him for a masochist. ]

Until it becomes overly sweet. I can't stand too much of a good thing.

[ His insinuation doesn't go by wholly unnoticed nor accompanied by a flashflood of comprehension, but Misato holds herself at a distance. And yet — even if the implication on its own isn't enough to perforate a heart, sentiment bleeds through better than any cancer in fluctuating arterial spread. While there's either hit or miss for every crackshot stab in the dark, this time he's struck the mark (he deals, she folds). ] ... Still, I wouldn't let it go to waste after you went to the trouble of fetching it.

[ Cigarettes or not, it wouldn't be conducive for any hypothetical bystander to peek in and get a whiff of tobacco smoke and whatever constituted heady, near-potent regret. High on her priority list is upholding the age-old maxim of professionalism — at least, as far as public appearances are concerned.

Snatching a sheaf of files from the paper landfill of her desk, Misato flips through a few exceptionally pedantic pilot synch rate charts without fully registering the data. ]

Unlike you two, coffee's not my vice of choice. But you know that better than anyone else, don't you?
insinceres: SWORDS (ᴡʜᴇɴ ɪᴛ sᴛᴏᴘᴘᴇᴅ.)

[personal profile] insinceres 2014-08-15 04:32 pm (UTC)(link)
[ despite the obvious similarities in tone, kaji is finding absolutely no trouble identifying second claim as genuine and takes it as presented, mostly due thanks to her moment's pause. ] I can't be sure unless I see it firsthand. But I think I'll be able to sleep better at night, now that you've said that.

[ for now, he's content to mirror misato's attempt at "fulfilling obligation" and does as he's told, complete with filing away papers in alphabetical order. mountains upon mountains of raw medical data, relayed back to a collection of other experts in various fields, who would then go to the trouble of doing in-depth analysis. not to say that he doesn't do his own share of such things, but yet again, his main goal was to provide information for his colleagues to work with, rather than badger.

kaji momentarily stops at a crude aerial photograph of the blast site, apparently captured by one of the many media helicopters that bothered investigating further. roughly on the left was kaji's best approximations of toji suzuhara's body — sans his left leg — being heaved into an ambulance. his mind wanders briefly back to the first time he'd seen the fourth child on over the rainbow. the boy had worn his best hat for major katsuragi that day.

another statistic on another big list. his expression tells of both interest and contemplation, when he speaks next.

You're right. But fortunately for us, there's no restrictions on bringing our little sins to work.

[ there were no restrictions on being under the influence of their little sins in a work-professional environment, either — save for the unheard-of instance where an individual so hyped up on caffeine and nicotine needed to be extracted from the walls of nerv. kaji manages to - mostly - hide a smile in response to mentally substituting "an individual" with one dr. agaki ritsuko, before making a nod to the cast completely encasing misato's entire arm. ]

How do you manage to open your vices with that thing, Katsuragi? Don't tell me you're asking Pen Pen to do it.
reciprocation: (ᴊᴇᴀʟᴏᴜs ᴏғ ʀᴏsᴇs.)

[personal profile] reciprocation 2014-08-16 09:09 am (UTC)(link)
Right, right, you learn from hands-on experience, but I’d hate to ruin your beauty rest. [ In the torrential downpour of a midlife crisis that was anything but an isolated occurrence, Misato's juvenile enough to resort to blatant teasing on a whim (with something to be said for her indefatigable pigheadedness). Nevertheless, on the rebound of heavier thoughts, her smile is an off-kilter rendition projecting bemusement in lieu of substance. At best, it's only surface-level, and at worst, it's avant-garde hypocrisy that would make their mutual coworkers dry retch and sprint to the nearest waste disposal bin on those grounds alone. For all the poise she's honed, she can't completely guise her restlessness, which gives her away in critical moments.

Shoulders lifted in a noncommittal shrug, Misato hums in soft-spun consideration, her head canted at a slight tilt as she trades in one document on the desk for another. ]

Just because we can doesn't mean we should.

[ A rule of thumb with common applications. Notwithstanding the perpetual cat-and-mouse game they string out their livelihoods upon, the fear of a fear coaxes Misato to continue on even when it's exceedingly clear that the truth is relative. Necessary evils and semi-benevolent falsehoods chalked down to the cause of the greater good mean nothing to the implacable, and she's never thoroughly tided over with NERV's stipulations of total confidentiality. In spite of it all, if vengeance keeps her walking on eggshells, then realization is a saving grace one epiphany too late. Shinji, with Toji passing through the peripheral of his morality like water in a sieve, is well-acquainted with that now.

As an incognito (consummate) sinner, it'd be a lie — of the embalming, delusional variety — to whitewash the fact that she'd spent no less than fifteen minutes working the cap of a beer bottle that morning shortly prior to it shattering in the sink. More to the point, she needed to scour the strainer free of glass shards before Asuka cut her hands while scrubbing dishes. ]

For your information, I can learn to live without mine. You, on the other hand — I’m not so sure how you’d deal with deprivation.
insinceres: IDA (ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ sᴇɴᴛ ʙʏ ᴍᴇᴀɴs)

[personal profile] insinceres 2014-08-16 10:43 pm (UTC)(link)
That you've gotten this far is nothing short of a miracle.

[ he's not referring to going cold turkey on alcohol, but he'll let her hear what she wants to hear. regardless, the current topic of discussion conjures one of his many memories of university, in which she'd managed to fill two garbage cans full of yebisu cans. which in turn conjures a clip show of their various drunken trysts that had piled on over the course of the years they'd lived together. no latter than he could say the phrase "one missed step down the tumbling staircase of adulthood", kaji was drowning in a mental ocean of ephemeral memories, and wondered if he was still so sure she hated him.

knowing he'd get a sour look for the admission, he closes the potential time-window for any smart comments to deftly pluck his cigarette pack out from it's hiding place.

You know, Katsuragi... [ his expression is one of mischief as he dangles the pack precariously over the trashcan next to his feet. ] If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were challenging me on my restraint.
reciprocation: (ᴛᴀᴋᴇ ᴏɴ ᴍᴇ.)

[personal profile] reciprocation 2014-08-17 08:01 am (UTC)(link)
... A-huh. [ Although they leave the topic hanging in the air, conceivably persuading her to cut back on her liquor intake isn't skillful coercion as much it is spiritual death. Misato's proclivity for debauched revelry spanned back to raucous post-quarter parties typically ending with her form bent-double and puking into the nearest porcelain bus while Kaji, in an ever-sympathetic sign of good faith, kept her hair held back and mercifully free from vomit. She's lived through hangovers so chthonic that it plausibly killed lesser beings and teetotalers in their prime. Katsuragi never kicks her habits in the end, holding onto the facade of reformation only through arbitrary increments in progress. At its core, whether that trait applied to other aspects of her life depended on the viewer as yet another matter of heated contest during snack break and off-hours.

The euphoria behind indulging in guilty pleasures is nothing different from intermittent addiction in its basest form, so his reaction momentarily throws her through a loop as she regards the cigarette box and its probable but untimely demise with mild chagrin. ]

You wouldn't quit just because I challenged your ability to abstain from smoking. [ Nonplussed, her laughter flickers in and out of audible range, briefly suppressed by one palm pressed against her mouth as she plunks back into her swivel chair. ] I'd have to seriously reconsider my opinion of you if you did, Kaji.
insinceres: IDA (ɪɴ ᴍᴀᴛsᴜsʜɪʀᴏ.)

[personal profile] insinceres 2014-08-18 02:31 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, don't get me wrong — I've lost count of how many times I've tried to quit to no use. Just until you get your vice back.

[ belying his words, kaji peels himself one last cigarette before the pack falls, joining among the small sierra of crumpled papers and stained styrofoam cups. yes, he's doing exactly what she thinks he's doing. if there is any doubt that kaji ryoji held regulation and protocol dear to his heart, even marginally so, the spark at the end of his cigarette would have dispelled it. it's a small miracle he still finds his pockets full every two weeks, catering to a crowd that wouldn't dream of appearing in a professional environment with so much as a single hair out of place.

and for his sincerity? he couldn't say one way or another, not yet. after spending a long time forging scenario-specific masks culled from other's expectations, he tended to regulate questions of his own seriousness to a background noise. any other option, and he'd go insane trying to beat perhaps one of the worst cases of cognitive dissonance ever documented within a fifty mile radius from tokyo-3.

after a puff or two:

This, [ well, not this, specifically. this, specifically, is a move in final indulgences. rather, the spirit of this... he trusts she'll catch more than the smoke drift, here. ] Consider this my act of solidarity. But you'll have to take the pledge, too.
reciprocation: (ᴋɪɴɢ sʜɪᴠ.)

[personal profile] reciprocation 2014-08-18 07:03 pm (UTC)(link)
That's awfully charitable. You sure know how to flatter a woman. [ Smart remarks aside, Misato's a girl of emotionally-tactile needs with never enough wherewithal to support intoxication in perpetuity. They'd fire her if she straggled into NERV HQ slurring her expletives to crash out on the spot, effectively slipping her designation as an ambitious major to a disorderly wino in .005 seconds or less. Her desires aren't low-key enough to substitute felines in the role of familial relatives, so she takes on a few pilots for surrogate offspring and plays house. If Shinji's continuous griping over the less-than-subpar state of her apartment (and life, by extension) meant anything in the way of rectification, her sickly wants only steadily worsened over the years.

But this? This was a prevaricated goodbye, cut-and-dry bitterness in a handful of tobacco. Kaji would never be so sloppy as to admit he was burning his own bridges, but perhaps he'd always been that way. His eyes were already turned sunward to an empirical lodestar she couldn't yet discern, interminably walking out of sight and out of mind; it was enough to sear the retinas raw with exhaustion retracing his steps. ]

I don't suppose you've got an extra can of Yebisu lying around to call it even. [ She interprets his smoking as sealing the deal on mutual reciprocation. Barring all nuanced forms of equivocation, Misato holds her uninjured hand out toward him, palm-up, voice lilting on the side of speculation. ]

Mind sharing your cigarette with me, then?
insinceres: IDA (ɪᴛ ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ʀᴇᴄᴏʀᴅᴇᴅ)

[personal profile] insinceres 2014-08-18 09:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Sounds like the the only way I can make even is by buying you a drink later.

[ well — there it is, laid bare, come full circle. certainly, there were as many different flirting styles as there were flirts, all utilized by those of varying degrees of panache and charisma. ones that were upfront, bashful, gave birth to colorful speeches and selfless displays of affection. kaji wholly seemed to prefer the 'you don't know what you've gotten into until it's too late' approach. underlying that, he was the kind of man who could clearly turn conversational direction into a precision tool in its own right.

and depending on the context, he was also the kind of man who could offer several dozen ways to use the aforementioned skill as an occupational-advancer, and plan accordingly.

kaji leans forward against the top rail of the chair, a boyish beam taking root and blossoming on his face, implying that nothing short of slicing his tongue off would be enough to get him to behave somewhat reasonably. besides — this offer was being done openly and fairly, in accordance to everything they had done once and a while in the past couple months since his arrival in tokyo-3. it would let her earn some well deserved rest. it wouldn't give her a chance to flex the range of her wallet, depending on how the night proceeded. it would get her some favorable samples from finer strains of booze. taking on last puff, he obliges her by offering the stick near her hands, his voice a near conspiratorial whisper:
] I'll tell on you.
reciprocation: (ɢʀᴀɴᴅʟᴏᴠᴇs.)

[personal profile] reciprocation 2014-08-19 02:08 am (UTC)(link)
Now you're testing my willpower. Restraint isn't one of my finer points. [ Regardless, it's how he delivered his proposal that ultimately wins her over — the ratio of perfect assurance over the inveigling enticement of drinks in good company in a forceful gravitational pull. Misato won't be dependent on whatever dubious sum of cash he's ferreted away to fuel their various rendezvouses, of course — her pride's too acute for brassy, one-sided overreliance — but she'll obligingly place her first drink on his tab.

While she constantly slingshots back and forth between sending out mixed signals and playing her cards close to her chest, even prolonged exposure hadn't rendered her immune to Kaji's more irritable attributes. Bravado could only get someone so far, and upon reaching her supposed limit on conversational facetiousness, Misato takes up the proffered cancer stick and obtrusively exhales a puff of smoke straight back into his face. ]

Idiot. You'd be shooting yourself in the foot. [ She clicks one heel against the base of the swivel chair, which could be construed as a circumstantial death threat or as a sign of her forbearance for errant, isolated acts of insubordination (as subjects concerning Kaji usually went). ]

... I'll consider it. Any time in particular I should be expecting you?
Edited 2014-08-19 02:20 (UTC)
insinceres: IDA (ᴡᴇ ɢᴏᴛ ɪᴛs ɴᴇᴡ sᴀᴍᴘʟᴇ)

[personal profile] insinceres 2014-08-21 03:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Feel free to change the tune of the song, [ kaji answers, looking surprisingly pleased that she would be amiable to the proposal. despite his commodious demeanor up until now, it was quite possible that he had harbored doubts about her willingness to "consider it", even when pitted against the alternative of spending any more time with people who forced frightful situations on others who were in no position to object, who thought being more powerful or knowledgeable gave them the right to start labeling other people as resources or costs or test subjects... well, any more time in the offices of nerv, really. he'd bet his last dollar that her retort was laced with a hint of challenge.

kaji liked challenges.
] But I have a partiality for ten.

[ a less-disciplined man than him — which is certainly saying something — probably would have been throwing out the 'd' word left and right. kaji lets the second hand smoke directly waft against his nose without so much as a flinch or wince, apparently possessing a cybernetic lung system. having apparently regulated a scenario including "misato smoking" and "displays of increased sentiment" to an unconscious reflex action from college, he extends one leg to briefly bop her restless foot with his. ] Shibuya Station?
Edited 2014-08-21 15:39 (UTC)
reciprocation: (ʀᴇᴛʀᴏɢʀᴀᴅᴇ.)

[personal profile] reciprocation 2014-08-30 01:26 am (UTC)(link)
Don't you think that's a little late for a rendezvous? Anyone with common sense would assume it was a tryst, Kaji. [ In regards of her negligence to clarify her terms, well — it's water under the bridge, anyhow. Karmic retribution never even laid a finger on the Holy Trinity of seduction (affection under the three tiers of willful ignorance, double entendres, and begrudged acceptance) — but it's a self-inflicted betrayal of inhibitions all the same. Denying PDA is nigh impossible when he's baiting a game of footsie beneath the office table. Katsuragi absently knocks one foot back against his. If sharing a cigarette is the peak on the slippery slope of platonic relations, then flipping out over an indirect kiss is a gesture reserved solely for B-grade chick flicks. Misato didn't rise through the ranks to get chewed out over the particulars of long-standing denial. She keeps her head intact, even if Kaji himself is less than reconcilable. ]

Hm. If you're really that set on getting me to temporarily renounce my ways, then —

[ Legitimizing any cautionary tale against the woes of domestic infatuation, furthermore, is a sensational joke for the ages. Her genetics made her a by-product of grayscale morality and perpetual moodiness. ... Besides. Kaji's expecting too much out of someone who can't be half-assed to delineate her emotions comprehensibly, much less sanely. He didn't even need resuscitation from what should've been a coughing fit, which was some cause for concern. Status quo can't be maintained when he's disconcertingly good at complying with her unbalanced whims. Her pout deepens considerably like she's processing his verbal syntax, picking out cues to contest or concede. His response leaves much to be desired.

Slowly and languidly, she tips back into her chair, head lolling to the side in surmisal. ]

I'll be there a quarter past nine. Will you make me wait?
goldencomet: (06)

[personal profile] goldencomet 2015-10-28 03:21 am (UTC)(link)
Really, it was quite typical of the Earth government. Not one month earlier they'd been the AEUG's staunch foe, but as soon as it became convenient they behaved as if the resistance group had always been working with (for) them. Which included making 'requests', such as helping with the transport of the mysterious 'Second Child' and her machine from the port of Wilhelmshaven to Tokyo-3. Quattro couldn't exactly fault them for their cravenness - learning to read the winds of change was an essential skill, after all, one that served him well in the past. He was just slightly annoyed at the presumption - as if they should be 'happy' to be rewarded with the Federation's 'trust'.

However, the man known as Quattro Bajeena (formerly Char Aznable) was nothing if not adaptable. He had been entrusted with the leadership of the AEUG, and had known full well that accepting the position meant he would have to do many things for the good of the group - whether he liked them or not. The very act of accepting the position had only been one of them. Plus, he found himself curious to meet this Second Child, a girl said to pilot a machine as strong as (if not stronger than) any Mobile Armor in existence.

Which is how Quattro found himself sitting in a small arrival lounge at the nearest airport, a naval airbase, looking somehow both out of place and strangely at home. Most of the people coming through were in a uniform of some kind, but there he sat in an expensive-looking blue suit, custom tailored, a pair of dark wrap-around sunglasses on his face and his blonde hair slightly too long and wild-looking to be regulation. And yet, unlike someone who had no business being on a military base, he seemed perfectly at home.

The uncomfortable chairs (which were probably old before the One Year War), the penetrating smell of jet fuel in the air, the bark of orders being shouted across the tarmac...some things never changed.

It was, he reflected while flipping half-heartedly through a year-old copy of the Federal Forces Journal, at least something of a novelty to be on a Federation base he wasn't planning on blowing up.
luridly: (DON’T TRY ME.)

[personal profile] luridly 2015-10-29 01:38 am (UTC)(link)
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.

She doesn't buy into the propaganda for a second. Not the issuing affirmation of tentative peace or the corrugated extremities of the political machine that feed the economy of the people into some kind of faulted absolution for the world. She doesn't even entirely believe in the military with its lopsided methodology, conspiracies turned inside-out, pretensions affected in lieu of ignorance. There's only been one person in the world for her, even from the beginning. But she always turns her sights skyward; always holds her head above, clawing into fatalism first-hand. It's a matter of progression; imbue ascension in her stance and attitude and she's bound to naturally rise above the rest. The behavioral tics of an individual destined for greatness.

There's something innately geometric about the morning that settles on her as anathema, decked in soft civilian garb, a stunning contrast to all the men and women swathed in uniforms, neat and dispassionate. She stands out, a preening immaturity in her rigid spine as she's led along by her current escorts, stony in demeanor and personableness. Most talk to her only through the periphery; second-hand orders with condescension dripping through the breath.

But all of that dissipates at the man sitting quiet and solemn in the lounge, fingers ghosting pages, head bent with a slightly refractive stare, eyes obscured from sight. Her convoys (glorified chaperones) silently excuse themselves from the vicinity, leaving her with the Tokyo-3 convoy.

All it takes is a linguistic switch as she parses semantics in the observance of social graces — German to Japanese, caustic to companionable, sulky to sweet. She's determined to please.

"You're the one who I'm waiting for, correct?" Asuka remarks in accented Japanese, neck craning in a petulant attempt to catch a glimpse of the pages, lashes incised at half-mast. She's never favored shades. It's harder to pick out a truth from a lie, that way.

"Asuka Langley Soryu, the Second Children."

The lacerating edge of complication dwindles marginally in her smile, confident and self-assured. One hand crumples flat at her side, assurance flooding her voice. It's better to bite the bullet here and there than waste the entirety of the trip narrowly side-stepping around the question.

"What are you reading?"
goldencomet: (04)

[personal profile] goldencomet 2015-10-29 02:55 am (UTC)(link)
Quattro observed the girl surreptitiously as she approached, from behind the anonymity of his sunglasses. It was one of the side benefits of his habitual use of them, though not the main one - the bare hint of a jagged scar rising from the bridge of his nose suggested another (though far from the only one).

She was very young, he decided immediately. That wasn't just a judgment on her age - he could see it in her very stance, trying so hard to appear grown-up that it was paradoxically childish. Like a child imitating their father. Her rapid switch in demeanor only drove the point home further. She wanted to impress...maybe not him in particular, but the AEUG? Or perhaps this was just how she was, and she was trying to impress the world.

Either way, she immediately had his attention. He was not unfamiliar with the world of child soldiers. He was curious to see how she measured up; he could tell she was no Newtype, or he would have felt that familiar tingling in his mind. But she was, he was told, already highly-trained. Trained, but untested. Full of possibility, whether for good or ill.

It didn't help, a part of him noted, that she was quite pretty.

"Correct," he said, obligingly tilting the magazine so that she could get a better look at it. He appeared to be partway through an article about the process of upgrading outdated GMs to the GM II standard. But, having given her an opportunity to look at it, he casually flipped the magazine back onto the table before standing and offering her his hand. She was, after all, a fellow soldier - even if a young and untested one. He'd give her the due respect - if nothing else because she clearly wanted it, and he was curious to see how she reacted.

The mark of a truly good manipulator is their ability to work their craft without anyone noticing - least of all themselves.

"Lieutenant Quattro Bajeena. Nice to meet you."

Even if he was known by other names - names he'd recently been forced to reveal to the world in a televised speech - it was still the one he felt most comfortable using. If only it could be that simple.

"It's nothing important," he said, implying by contrast that she was important. "Just outdated propaganda." After all, the military always had little but good news to report - magazines such as that were only good for raising morale. Or amusing those with a wider perspective. "Shall we, then?" He gestured in the direction of the exit, before moving in that direction. From this distance, it wasn't hard to miss that Quattro definitely had the bearing of a Mobile Suit pilot; back straight but not rigid, shoulders squared, movements quick and efficient.

There was a car waiting by the side of the road: a rented BMW, red of course. Ever the gentleman, Quattro opened the passenger's side door for her first.
Edited (Minor tweak; I've been canon-reviewing) 2015-11-03 03:10 (UTC)
luridly: (DON’T TRICK ME.)

[personal profile] luridly 2015-12-05 05:00 am (UTC)(link)
Maybe it's just a consequence of the times, projecting an air of paralyzing nonchalance. No one takes her seriously, otherwise, and condescension grates at the nerves. The passivity of her stare diminishes somewhat, idling on the magazine until its laid closed, her eyes snapped up like a catch to appraise him.

For all the fallacies of emotional rhetoric, Asuka thrives off of attention and dispels it in the same breath. She can't make anything of him — not the coolness or the warning acuity, but he's someone she's already infatuated by. It's not a decision composed entirely of empty fulfillment, stifling falsehoods for better lies, already standing straighter, smoothing out the crumpled fabric of her skirt the second his gaze wanders elsewhere.

Her enthrallment lies in his terms of address, his stature, his status — and for what it's worth, Bajeena isn't hard on the eyes. That's enough grounds to warrant vying for his good favor, taking precaution to modulate her inflection, softening the worst angles of her (the desire to surpass in perpetuity, the fear of crushing failure).

"I'm charmed to make your acquaintance," she lightly intones, following up with a nod and immediately dismissing the magazine in lieu of trailing after him. An invention of compulsion and a smothering sense of entitlement, Asuka dips into the vehicle with as much sinuosity as she can manage. She's a girl, still painfully just a girl, but she clicks on the seatbelt and curves her slender fingers over her folded knees with an aggrandized grace.

Shamelessly, she capriciously leans toward Bajeena's end the second he enters the vehicle, pitiless in her advance. As soon as he eases a palm over the stick shift, Asuka brushes her knuckles over the heavy curve of his hand. For a moment longer than strictly necessary, she holds, no accidental touch as she skims down to his wrist. Disingenuousness still motivates her, however, rescinding her fingers to gaze into the rearview mirror, observing her reflection. Once satisfied with her appearance, Asuka gazes at Bajeena from the periphery of her vision.

"It's so tiring speaking to people who have no idea what they're talking about, you know. Everyone in the airport was like that. I almost missed my flight. Would you believe that it was even delayed?"

Her eyes are bright even in scrutiny, picking out any sign of affirmation or dismissal in the driver's expression. With a protracted sigh, Asuka glances sidelong to vivisect the backdrop immediately outside the window, retaliatory exasperation only skin-deep.

"You aren't the same as them, though. I can tell."
goldencomet: (02)

[personal profile] goldencomet 2015-12-06 12:10 am (UTC)(link)
A normal man - a better man - might have brushed Asuka off. She was painfully young. It would be wrong to take advantage of that. Quattro merely glanced down at her hand on his own, making no effort to pull away. He smiled faintly. Something about the brazenness of her approach was oddly charming. It was a Newtype's gift and curse to understand people, better perhaps even than they understood themselves. Asuka's need to be liked was so obvious it practically hung in the air over her head.

Well, in some ways that made his life easier. Some of his younger pilots (not naming names, Kamille) seemed to enjoy being difficult. This, he could deal with. It reminded Quattro of a very different young girl who'd been under his command, years ago - although he quickly shut that train of thought before it could go much further. Instead he turned his gaze to the road, turning the ignition and putting the car into drive.

"I can believe that," he admitted, tone matter-of-fact. "The Earth Federation is a bit of a mess right now. If they weren't, they wouldn't be forced to rely on their former enemies." Case in point: himself. His expression turned contemplative after a moment, his gaze flicking off the road momentarily towards Asuka. "People don't always know how to deal with you, do they?" He could somewhat empathize - he'd been all of 15 when he'd enlisted. Not nearly as young as she would have had to be when she started, but still. "I guess that's the curse of becoming an adult - you forget what it's like to be young."

Her last statement earned her another glance, this one speculative. "Oh? What makes you say that?" He was curious now - was she making an educated guess, or did she perhaps have some hint of latent Newtype potential? The latter seemed rather unlikely, on the face of it, but one could never tell with these sort of things.
luridly: (DON’T ABANDON ME.)

[personal profile] luridly 2015-12-10 01:03 am (UTC)(link)
In any case, Asuka doesn't have the foresight to hold her tongue when it matters. The scenery goes by in a vehicular blur, the sights passing with all the reverence of a decadent holiday. It's anything but, especially when she's roped into a mission she doesn't entirely understand, but Asuka's never been one to turn down special treatment. It dwells at a direct inverse to soft-boned apologies or the analogues of love found in respect and admiration. Emotional corollaries with the pretense of betrayal baiting the breath; Asuka sucks in a leavened inhale, otherwise complacent under the open roof of the red BMW — flashy, extraneous, shallow, just like her.

"They'll take what help they can get," she remarks, voice like an exposed nerve, razed with emotion, "It doesn't really matter to me, but you think they'd at least have the decency not to hold themselves to a double standard."

With the wind playing at the edge of her skirt hem, Asuka turns her attention skyward, up at the clouds drifting purposelessly above. There's something intrinsically bizarre about talking like she's entirely dislocated from the organization she's pledged her life to. It's not a willful demonization, or she wouldn't have aspired to be more than the sum of her parts, but finding fault in other's failures is what she does best. The comment observing her youth goes tacitly ignored, but only for Bajeena's benefit. It wouldn't go over well to debilitate their conversation with pointed jabs over the irreconcilable nature of immaturity and what it'd be like to live without obligation.

In the sick mimicry of histrionics, maybe, something silvered and unhinged, Asuka tosses her hair back, raising her voice by blatant decibels. "Well, it's true, isn't it? You hide your secrets better than they can. I can't get anything past you at all." Her inflection is as callous as any shot in the dark, an invocation with perforated edges. It's not a threat, but her insinuation might be; the first signs of belligerence in an up-and-coming pilot, harshness that knows no limits.

"We'll be spending a lot of time together from now on, right? It only makes sense that we should get to know each other better."
showyouthesight: (frandship too strong can't cope)

[personal profile] showyouthesight 2015-11-15 12:48 am (UTC)(link)
[It's raining. Of course, it's raining. It's raining and the train is nearly 30 minutes late, with no news on whether it's going to show up anytime soon. Maybe there was a malfunction earlier. It's raining and Rin is staring sulkily at his scuffed-up suitcase, as he seeks shelter under one of the booths, holding his jacket closer to his body.

Some welcome back. And here he'd hope to avoid as much inconvenience as possible. It was already too much that Makoto had agreed to let him stay for "as long as he needed" rather than the week Rin had asked for. Just long enough to find his own place. The last thing he wanted to do was interrupt Makoto while he was at class. Makoto had told him where the apartment key was and he'd visited enough (if you could call two holidays and one birthday enough) over the last year and a half to know how to get there. Mostly. So this shouldn't have been a big deal.

Or at least it wouldn't be if the damn train would show up already.

He sneezes roughly, the cold already getting to him, and again curses the train under his breath. He can feel his cell phone resting heavily in his pocket, taunting him. Maybe if he walks a bit, he can get a cab instead. It's not ideal since what he knows how to get is the stop nearest to Makoto's neighborhood, rather than the apartment itself, but if the guy knows how to use a GPS, it should be doable.

Rin pushes himself up to start walking. But just as he's grabbing for his suitcase's handle, he hears a faint rustling from a nearby bush. Curious, he leans over to spot the hint of a tiny calico tail. Against his better judgment, he moves close to the bush, trying to keep his footsteps as light as he can so he doesn't spook the cat. Unfortunately, his efforts prove to be in vain, as he misses the chip wrapper on the ground and steps on it with a loud crackle.

A calico kittens darts out from the side of the bush. Or it would like to. Instead, it stumbles over its paws and rolls across the pavement. When it scrambles back to its feet again, Rin can see there's definitely something wrong with one of its paws. Either a sprain or... something more severe. The kitten tumbles again and again attempts to get back up and escape.]

Oi, knock that off.

[It's easier to scoop the lame kitten off the ground. Less easy to pick it up when it's squirming around like crazy and yowling its damn head off. Rin wishes he has some food to give it. But the plane trip meant his usual habit of carrying out treats for random strays had to be put on hold long enough for him to pass through security. All he's left with is his strained attempt at a soothing voice.]

C-Come on, kitty. Let's... get you out of the rain.

[Ugh, he's always sucked at this. And the rain makes the kitten's fur even slicker, forcing Rin to resort to grabbing its ruff to hold the animal in place, not wanting to squeeze it too harshly.]

Tch, will you just calm down? I'm trying to help you!

[It doesn't take long for his hands to bear the marks of the kitten's claws and teeth. And now both the kitten and Rin are soaked to the bone, as he sits under the booth. There's no way he's going to be able to manage a taxi in this state. Or even the train, should it ever appear. Even wrapped firmly in Rin's coat, the kitten continues to pitch a fit. He nows he should probably just let it go, but he's committed now! He's fought with this stubborn beast for nearly fifteen minutes and damn it, he's going to get it some help.

Which means there's only one thing left to do. Cursing again, he shifts the squirming bundle of clothes and cat into one arm, holding it tightly, as the kitten's head peaks out and mewls miserably in the rain. Then he performs the semi-miraculous task of fishing his cell out of his pocket and punching in a quick text before returning both arms to the bundle. It's good timing since the kitten had nearly managed to worm its way out again.

Well, at the very least, it's nostalgic. He can appreciate that.]
cordated: (RAPIDS.)

[personal profile] cordated 2015-12-05 05:57 am (UTC)(link)
[ Naturally, things have changed.

Years stacked over years; the dismal percentage of time passing. It's not regression to falter into domestic ennui, walk forward with the profundity of living day-by-day, but Makoto never dwells on much for long. Rei and Nagisa are saddled with extracurriculars; they hold up their sport scholarships alongside Gou like the triumvirate of good intentions and vivaciousness clasped in their closing palms. They send pictures, sometimes. A day at the old swim club. Summer vacation. Regionals. Mementos that collect dust and breath decay, back in the closet where Makoto stashes them, in-between the mildewing placards and medals rusting, showing their age.

Haru calls less and less, nowadays. His voice is always muffled by the sound bite of static, dimming and dimming, dispassionate. Excelling in the water takes constancy, and he hasn't deterred from his course at all on the long, winding track to success. A poltergeist in his life, but only by curbing necessity.

Given their schedules, he expects the same treatment from Rin, always pursuing the same dream. They've never been entirely in the same orbit, even back then, a relation held on the periphery. But, inexplicably, Rin still visits on occasion like off-kilter clockwork, grin burn-warm, nothing short of an anomaly knocking on his doorway during the holidays.

The week he asks to crash for a week while he checks out the cramped residential suites of Tokyo, Makoto can only blunder into dazed acquiescence, taking mental stock of the pantry with an impromptu shopping trip in the works. There's never enough protein in his fridge to satisfy Rin, and Makoto's sweet tooth is indefatigable. Straight after class, he wastes no time easing out of the campus parking lot to the nearest shopping venue.

The message comes in when he's in the middle of the produce aisle, trying to glean the nutritional benefits of apples to bananas when his phone serenades him with the text notification, screen backlit against the fluorescence of the bulbs overhead. A quick glance confirms the worst: Rin stuck on the outskirts of town under the deluge of rain.

By 4:45, Makoto is dashing out of the grocery store, nearly sideswiping his car against a light pole on the way out as he traverses the thoroughfare of disgruntled motorists and their idling cars. The traffic is only bound to get worse, given the schedule the average citizen runs on; evening kills the roads as vehicles slog to a stop in frenetic rows. It's even later when Makoto pulls up outside the train station, gazing vacantly past the pedestrians huddled out in clumps in a last-ditch effort to wave down their rides.

In the end, there's no methodology Makoto ascribes when feeding his credit card into the machine and sticking a parking space receipt behind the dashboard, only the incumbency of motion.

Impulse for its own sake.

Through the glistening downpour slicking trails down his umbrella, Makoto spots him immediately. Even with the weather dismally leeching color away, Rin's hair is a bright smear of red in his periphery. Wasting no time maneuvering the clogged streets, Makoto calls out to him as soon as he's in audible range, voice overwrought and languishing in his throat. ]

... Rin? Rin! Over here!

[ Heart thrumming in the cavity of his chest, Makoto stifles his alarm for open fondness, concern drinking in his breath as he rushes forward, fumbling to snatch up the suitcase beside his friend. His pupils are too bright, sockets wide and swimming in scrutiny at the sight of Rin, drenched down to the bone, exasperation its own biting expletive. ]

Geez, you should've let me know you were here sooner! I don't mind waiting.

[ Brazenly, he manages what he can of a one-armed hug with luggage in tow, attempting to wrench Rin up in whatever capacity he can manage. ]

It's good to see you. Really. C'mon, let's get out of the rain first.

[ As Makoto steps out of the outdoor booth, hoisting the umbrella above them both, he belatedly registers the feline silhouette mewling in Rin's grip, blinking down at the animal. Several long seconds pass as the kitten bats its injured paws in the air at warped angles, apparently trying to mutilate Rin's face or go skittering into the rain.

At a distinct loss for words, Makoto helplessly glances up, mouth stumbling over his inquiries. ]

Is this little guy yours? What happened to him?
showyouthesight: (could stay there)

[personal profile] showyouthesight 2015-12-13 03:31 pm (UTC)(link)
[Rin scarcely has time to register Makoto's voice, his pathetic attempt at chiding (because chiding has never been one of Makoto's strong points, although he hopes that his training lessons might one day improve that), before he's getting half-yanked into Makoto. Words flutter by his ears, half lost in his struggle to keep the kitten from being crushed between their bodies. For once, the animal stays silent, whether out of fear of the newcomer or simple confusion, Rin can't be sure.

Amid the chaos of sudden contact and Makoto's over-excited greeting (well, it has been almost a year since the last time he threw himself into his friends' periphery again, armed with trinkets from his home-away-from-home and boisterous tales of his exploits and his training, partially to get a rise out of Haruka and partially to ensure his friends can still take this journey with him), Rin catches snatches of directive. He follows Makoto's retreat, still half in a daze, when the kitten picks up its loud protests again, shattering the spell. It's probably the only thing that spares his face from another scratch, as he jerks back in surprise.

When Makoto speaks again, he can finally comprehend most of it again, at least enough to recognize that an answer is being sought. He tries to maneuver those lashing paws back into the swaddling of his jacket, both for his own safety and the kitten's. That flailing can't be good for an injured paw and he needs to prevent things from getting worse.]

Ah, I found him.

[He breathes it out in a rush, still trying to come down from the flurry of the last few moments. That's about when it hits him how ridiculous he probably looks right now, drenched under Makoto's umbrella and clenching a squirming bundle of stray cat, a lost look on his face. Not the presence he usually wants to strike upon homecoming. He feels positively juvenile, despite nearly being 20-years-old now.

The worst part is he can't even use his reflexive act of scratching the back of his neck to ease some of that self-consciousness. He just has to stand there and pretend to look less flustered than he actually is. Rin might have gone through his own set of changes during his second stint in Australia, but he's still too into his head for his own good.

His response is more of a bothered mumble than anything.]

Not sure. I think he broke his paw.

[He manages to regain enough of himself to look back at Makoto, with an obviously feigned shrug.]

I figured you'd have a better idea of what to do. And how to calm it down at least. Its temper is worst than the last one.
cordated: (CHANNELS.)

[personal profile] cordated 2015-12-18 02:08 am (UTC)(link)
[ Giving unbiased critique isn't one of his finer points. It's only a stone's throw away from his inability to foist blame where its rightly due. Recursively, Makoto keeps going through the same motions. More on more often, he keeps deflecting questions for concentricity, looping around topics he refuses to broach like a self-effacing form of masochism.

Presently, Makoto's face unmakes the tired frown for a puzzled stare, comprehension in soft dissolve. He's pressing down on the handle too tightly, knuckles spread thin over the plastic grooves while his gaze hopscotches between Rin and his newfound friend, until he stutters back into awareness with a frenetic jolt. ]

Oh, I see. Here, let me take him off your hands and check what's wrong.

[ Less than a tradeoff, he thrusts the umbrella to Rin in exchange for the wet, mewling bundle of fur and feline animosity, dodging its swiping claws to nestle it firmly in his grasp. Gaze cast sidelong, he entreats with an imploring twist, already jogging down the crosswalk. As much as he'd normally monopolize Rin's free time with a barrage of commiserative small talk, the weather is taking a turn for the worst.

It might also be partially attributed to Rin's current state, soaked down to the bone, appearing much more subdued than the celebrity that had come to gloss the covers of high-end magazines, interviews painting him refulgent under the glare of camera bulbs.

Retreating to the relative safety of his secondhand four-seater, Makoto halts fussing with the kitten long enough to unlock the vehicle. Key neatly slid into the ignition in conjunction with the humming engine, he flips on the heat prior to ushering Rin over. ]

Sorry for the wait, ah — ... this might take a bit! I just want to check how bad the injury might be before we jump to any conclusions.

[ Retrieving what appears to be a small nest of blankets from the trunk, Makoto spreads the sheets out on the backseat to firmly swaddle the sullen kitten around. Cat whisperer that he might be, any injured feline is liable to react negatively to vulnerability (a trait he shares with Rin's piteously yowling companion, nose twitching at the temperature shift). It's a greater feat to carefully protract one paw, peering at the swell bunching the skin taut around the paw.

Gripped with the inability to lie convincingly, Makoto compulsively swallows around the uneasy lump in his throat, gaze stained with concern as he fastidiously folds the quilt in, tucking in the corners around the fidgeting cat. ]

Do you mind if we take a detour to the pet clinic, Rin?

[ His heart's been melted by the concerted efforts of one meowing kitten. There's no saving Makoto now. ]
showyouthesight: (walking on a wire)

[personal profile] showyouthesight 2015-12-28 06:02 pm (UTC)(link)
[It takes Rin a moment to unwrap his arms from the kitten, the cold and his desperate hold all but paralyzing his limbs into place. But somehow he manages to make the trade, handing over his feral charge. The moment he's sure Makoto has the kitten secured, he makes a dash for the car, knowing that the sooner he gets inside, the sooner Makoto will follow suit. Crawling inside it, he half-twists around to keep an eye on Makoto while he continues fussing with the kitten.

He wonders, briefly, why Makoto has blankets in his trunk. Has he been hauling things around lately? Helping someone move? He hasn't really asked Makoto about making new friends, usually keeping their conversations more to Makoto's studies or his training and the occasional questions about their other friends. A jolt of guilt goes through him at the realization that he's asking to crash with someone that he knows nothing about aside from their personal connection. Hell, he probably knows more about Australian teammates, which shouldn't be unusual but it bothers Rin at this moment.

Makoto's question, though cutting through his reverie, comes as little surprise. It's even a bit of a relief. If the kitten is in as bad shape as he guessed, there's probably not much he and Makoto will be able to do on their own. Even if he does feel awkward as hell for dragging Makoto to a pet clinic less than fifteen minutes after their reunion.

He gazes at Makoto over the seat, hair clinging to his face in sopping dregs, looking both more and less photogenic than his star athlete persona. Rin brushes a clump away from his eye, the action fastidious but looking almost protracted.]

I figured we might have to. You sure it's all right? You just got off class. And you rushed over here. I can probably call a cab when we get back to your place.

[He can't believe the sheer effort he's putting into one cranky kitten, but Rin's never been able to just step away from a lost cat, even the ones that clearly don't like him. Whether it's simple stubbornness against anything that tries to defeat him or some innate desire to win them over for the feeling it gives him, he's never bothered to sort out in his own head. Maybe it's just projected gratitude for the small dog that afforded him so much comfort when he couldn't bring himself to ask anyone else for it.]
cordated: (OSMOSIS.)

[personal profile] cordated 2016-01-19 12:30 am (UTC)(link)
[ Rin looks smaller when he's riding shotgun, somehow, drawing into himself, erasing the harshness of his angles with an uneasiness that sliding tumultuously on his visage when Makoto stares too close. He doesn't have much commentary for Rin's stubborn obstinance to project himself as a human kaleidoscope as opposed to the Olympic athlete he makes himself out to be, always on the verge of belligerence, but Makoto makes a career for himself moonlighting as a pushover.

It's in bad taste to prattle off on non-sequiturs like how elated he is for Rin, haloed under the lights of over one hundred million people, the mention of his name alone liable to get Iwatobi residents in a blissed-out frenzy. A shark frenzy, if the comparison isn't that cringe-worthy, given how rambunctious his fans could get whenever Rin was in the vicinity.

It's just like Rin, then, to keep tripping himself over trite details like the welfare of a stray cat, even if his conscience goes knee-jerk at the tumbling insinuation, holding onto memories that distort and lose perspective with time. He's a self-fulfilling prophecy, but Rin always seemed to get the best of them, even back then. If anything, he should've expected Rin's tenacity to never give up long after things like obligation and comparative benevolence were long-since dead and shoveled into a premature grave.

Considering the peace offering of a proposal with a spasmodic tap of his fingers on the driver's wheel, Makoto goes silent, hitching a ride on incompetent social faux. A dilemma of a dilemma. ]

Yeah, um — ... actually, I'll drop you off first! It might take me a while, so I don't want you to wait up for too long.

[ Reflexively, he slants his eyes sidelong. From that distance, Rin still personifies a water puddle in all but name, itching with a restlessness he refuses to give a proper voice to. ]

Don't argue with me, okay? There's no way you're spending your first day here in a clinic.

[ Blunt and no-nonsense, Makoto sets the vehicle running, easing out of the parking lot with a hard-pressed insurgency to ignore any requests made by any potentially offended parties, human or cat or otherwise.

The ride back to his apartment is silent, but not for lack of trying.

Under the scrutiny of sickly streetlights casting a faintly nausea-inducing hue to the storied windows and beveled roofs, Makoto is eerily on-key about getting Rin's luggage to the doorway in record time. His friend might be the fastest in the water, but he's no match for six full feet of neurotic intent and an insistence almost entirely above censure. It's nothing to scoff at, even when he claps the house key into Rin's hand and points to the domicile juxtaposed against the darkening skyline. ]

Third floor, Room 340. They've got a map up-front at the directory if you need it. Remember what I said! I'll catch you later, Rin.

[ Enfolding Rin a hug that is constricting and antsy in turns, he retreats back to the relative safety of the car, sending one of his passengers off with nothing more than a wave and the hope that Rin would at least have the good sense to reconsider his taste in wishy-washy friends.

If nothing else, he's counting on Rin popping in a decent popcorn flick. Makoto amassed enough films to fill three-fourths of a bookshelf.

Several hours (and many, many grievances) later, he's balancing a mewling (bandaged) cat in tow and briskly making his way down the carpeted hallway to his apartment room. The lights cast under a burnished halo, but the weather detracts from most of the ambience. With the rain beating and throwing itself up against the window, even he's liable to end up riling up the kitten if he doesn't pick up the pace.

Innocuously enough, his second encounter with Rin starts with a harmless knock at his own door. ]
showyouthesight: (must be waiting for you)

[personal profile] showyouthesight 2016-01-30 09:23 pm (UTC)(link)
[To say that Rin was flustered by Makoto's insistence on handling this cat predicament by himself would be a disservice to the total meltdown his mind goes through during the course of Makoto's absence. It starts as just an initial protest, a rebuff of Makoto's offer and insistence that he take full responsibility, he being the reason that the injured animal is currently in their charge.

The thought of Makoto assuming his role is both jarring and a bit shaming, considering the sacrifice Makoto is already making in sharing his home with him for an indeterminate amount of time (hopefully, not more than a week) when he's sure Makoto is long used to having his own space by now. He no doubt has his own routine and his own preference for the use of that space that he now has to make accommodations for the alterations (never slight in Rin's case because Rin never does anything in small measures) that Rin's arrival surely brings. And Rin has already thrown things awry by nudging those gracious host instincts that Makoto has always had in spades, making him thing the only course of action if for him to take matters into his own hands so that Rin can rest up in his apartment.

It's practically infuriating. Even worse is the way Makoto completely and unexpectedly shuts him down with the start of the car, something about his tone making Rin reluctant to press the issue. Makoto seems to be the only one who has that affect on him. It's not so much that Makoto's voice holds any true power or authoritative tone but that the rarity of Makoto taking a firm stand on anything is such an event (even now) that Rin balks at the thought of discouraging it. Makoto may be more willing to make his decisions without the explicit approval of others, but he still carries that self-conditioned aversion toward making waves. He's seen it enough during their occasional Skype talks.

So he grants Makoto his request, albeit sulkily, displaying a demeanor not too different from the displeased kitten in the backseat. Though his infrequent glances in Makoto's direction suggest he's waiting for Makoto to reconsider, even amid Rin's intermittent sneezes. Eventually, his exhaustion and the weight of jet lag wins over his stubbornness and he barely realizes when he when he nods off against the edge of the headrest.

The sound of slamming doors jolts him from his repose, soon accompanied by the troubling sight of Makoto rushing his belongings to the door and soon after shoving a key into his still drowsy grasp. It's not until after he's chased from the car, stumbling over half-asleep feet, and nearly blinded by the flash of departing lights that he begins to piece together the possibilities of what just happened, as a sinking feeling builds in his stomach.

Maybe he's jostled Makoto's existence more that he realized, wedged himself into a privacy that Makoto had cocooned himself in after their group slowly begin to drift apart. It's not the first time Makoto has been left to pick up the piece of his life after Rin has flown off to another country. Even if he had done a better job of keeping in touch with the gang this time. Mostly. Maybe part of Makoto's journey to find himself outside of their tight-knit circle meant spending more time to himself. And Rin is messing it all up. Why else would make such a big deal about taking the cat by himself and leaving Rin to a relatively unknown apartment?

Rin tries to chase off the self-blaming thoughts by better familiarizing himself with the place he's only seen for hours at a time and only twice. He learns where each of the rooms are, where the necessities like the washer and dryer (into which he promptly tosses his wet jacket and clothes and changes into a loose t-shirt and some jeans after a quick shower to clear his head) and peers through Makoto's rather unimpressive food selection. Apparently, most types of cooking still remain an overall mystery to his friend. Well, at least there's some meat.

If Makoto planned on Rin spending his time with the TV, he is sadly mistaken. Anxiety over both Makoto and the kitten preoccupy Rin's thoughts, making it impossible for him to focus on much of anything. Instead he devotes himself to preparing a decent dinner, the least he can do after all of Makoto's other overtures today. His culinary skills have improved with his second time in Australia and his more frequent instances of inviting company over. Usually teammates but occasionally also some acquaintance his teammates foisted on him, insisting that they would be sure to hit it off. So far, Rin hasn't noticed any sparks. But as long as it doesn't interfere with his training, he doesn't begrudge his friends' attempts. He already has a reputation as an extreme workaholic.

The knock comes as he's finally setting the table, having spent a good portion of time ensuring that he didn't leave another mess behind for Makoto. He toes on some flip-flops and heads for the door, looking more refreshed than he had in the car but also more subdued. His gaze falls on Makoto first and then... the cat.]

I wasn't expecting you to bring her back.
cordated: (ABSORB.)

[personal profile] cordated 2016-02-17 02:47 am (UTC)(link)
[ Bitten by the slushing cold, his eyes dulled and bright at once, he shakes off the preternatural intensity of a criticism by downplaying it. Relying on imperturbability just doesn't cut it when it comes to Rin, outlined an artificial orange from the doorway, a coronating glow. It sets him at ease that he hasn't abstained from his offer to get himself situated, even if he can tell — just fractionally, but enough — that Rin just might be ticked off with him.

Something accrued in the thinness of his mouth, like an intensity that leaves him slightly off-kilter in the process. ]

She's yours, isn't she? You have to take responsibility for her yourself.

[ Rin doesn't just cosset strays until they're fussing about in his grasp, he can't bother to leave them well enough alone, even after they've gouged holes into his jacket, made shambles of his complexion, scratching thin, indelible lines into his skin. He's always been like that, even from the very beginning. It never took Iwatobi or swimming to bring that trait out in him. He might've always been chasing after someone like Haru.

Complacency eventually stealing over his face, Makoto loosens his shoulders, peering past the nebulous space above his head to the immediate indoors. It's been years and years, but he still holds two inches over him like a birthright. ]

Do you think you can let me in? It's kind of freezing out here, Rin.

[ Back to his normally sheepish demeanor, he squats down to release the yowling cat into the relative safety of the indoors. It doesn't seem to notice Rin's presence at all, endeavoring to prowl around on the lacquered floors undeterred. Given that Rin isn't entirely obstructing the doorway, Makoto removes his water-sodden sneakers and placidly eases past him, padding into the loft. Finding himself venturing forward, staring offhandedly at the dinner Rin's scraped together from less than table scraps. ]

You shouldn't have. I mean, I didn't have anything in the fridge, so why didn't you order out?

[ His words are sharp on first inspection, but his tone is soft, seeping into the contrition of his face under filamented light. He isn't staring directly at him now. He can't, really, not after kicking him out of the vehicle like he couldn't grapple with the prospect of wising up to the impending future. Every time Rin comes back, the distance between them is so much more ostensible.

All this time, and Makoto hasn't forgotten how unkind Rin can really be, immortalizing himself in his memory long after the faces of his former classmates have dimmed into one homogenous blur. It seems so apparent now, like his thoughts are melting into realization that don't come on as epiphanies, only an affirmation of something he might've always known.

If it's something Rin recognizes in himself, the infallibility found in haunting others, he hasn't made it known.

Trapped in an unnatural stillness, Makoto's gaze sweeps over Rin with mounting inscrutability. ]

Thank you. You know, I —

[ But his gratitude comes to a sudden halt, stranded somewhere in his windpipe. He's always looked back while Rin looked forward, but that's just the thing — it wasn't out of nostalgia or sentiment or how his heart threatened to transpose clear out of his chest, gone into death rattles, when Haru told him he'd be pursuing his own dream.

Avoidance has always been easier, and it's not like it's ever been discouraged before. There's an implicit heaviness in the air, and Makoto's voice atrophies in the silence, haphazardly plucking out an excuse at random. ]

... I'll just take a shower first, so don't wait up for me! Enjoy the food.

[ And he's shrugged off his coat to hang on a rack too easily, retreating down the hallway and toward the bathroom. If Rin wants to get any last words in, now is his chance. Makoto is dead-set on shucking off sentiment before it consumes him entirely. ]
showyouthesight: (threw us into the flames)

[personal profile] showyouthesight 2016-03-05 08:10 pm (UTC)(link)
[Rin balks at the unexpected counter. Just because he dealt with her fussy self in the middle of a storm doesn't mean he's placed any definite ownership of her. He just wanted to make sure she'd be all right. And while, yeah, he'd wanted to take responsibility to ensuring her welfare in the form of getting her to the vet, he hadn't really considered far beyond that. He certainly hadn't considered making her a semi-permanent fixture in Makoto's apartment until he scraped together his own place.

It's both touching and exasperated that Makoto can be so damn accommodating, without Rin having asked him for it. It also forces his hand since he knows if he refuses the kitten, Makoto will likely adopt her himself at this rate, having already settled in his mind that she's now part of this household. But more than that, it smarts of Makoto making a decision for Rin, which he's never been particularly fond of. Even though part of him also wants to take some pride in the fact that Makoto isn't waiting around for someone else to make the decisions anymore. Couldn't they just have some happy medium?

And why is Makoto countering him in the first place? He has every right to be surprised at the kitten's rapid return. At least give him some time to guilt himself into claiming her.

He watches the kitten wander off into the apartment, still kind of mentally frazzled, as Makoto nudges past him, trying to escape the downpour. At Makoto's comments about the dinner, Rin doesn't know how to respond. He figured he had enough to work with so he used what was there. Ordering out haven't ever come into his head. He's used to making do with quick meals in between practice sessions or interviews or even eating in transit. But ordering out has never really been his thing. It either cost him the loss of the interaction he'd get from a restaurant or the satisfacting of preparing something himself. But, judging from both Makoto's reaction and the unimpressive former contents of his fridge, Rin suspects Makoto opts for delivery quite often. That meant he still struggled with most basic cooking.]

"I didn't see the point. You had enough to go with. And it's not like I had a lot to do while I was waiting."

[He tries to keep the building ire out of his voice, but he's fairly sure he failed at that. Ugh, he hates being annoyed at Makoto. It feels wrong to him. He wishes he knew just what was causing Makoto to act so edgy around him today. They always chatted just fine over Skype. Is something else on Makoto's mind?

Thankfully, Makoto's gratitude comes out a moment later, brief and interrupted as it is. It's the Makoto Rin remembers again. Not this almost haunted creature that seems to have taken his place since Rin's arrival.

The brief return of his friend's usual personality vanishes just as quickly as it appeared and Rin is left with a heavy, twisting feeling in his gut, as Makoto makes his attempt to escape to the shower. No! He's not going to let Makoto just run away from him again! It's enough to spur him into surging forward and catching Makoto's wrist in a firm grip.

His voice comes out in a tight pained growl.]

"Oi, what's your deal today? I wanted to spend time with you, you know. I didn't make this just to eat it by myself. I didn't ask if I could crash here just to rent your place. I asked because I thought it might be nice to hang out like we used to." [He's missed it, but he can't manage to get those words past his throat.] "But the way you've been acting since you picked me up, I'm not even sure why you agreed. So what's up with that?"
cordated: (FATHOMS.)

[personal profile] cordated 2016-03-17 11:01 pm (UTC)(link)
[ As hard as Makoto might try to invest himself around unequivocal certainties, absolutes don't exist in real life. There will always be a modifier, or a leniency, or an exception to the rule, which only makes itself apparent in cases of extreme situational irony. And the hilarity of the situation doesn't upend itself over his head as much as it displaces its own weight, sends it scattering as an epiphanic realization that only makes itself known after the fact.

It's like he's trying to absolve himself of something he doesn't entirely understand, the incipient fit of panic that threatens to crush his windpipe and lay waste to equanimity, cause him to startle in some critical way before he's even left Rin's trigger-sights.

(When he was young, he thought he'd never be happier than he was at that point in time. His family seemed to have been conjured straight out some storybook, voices gilded and bright like wind chimes disturbed by the open breeze. His studies were progressing well, and he never lacked for anything. And while Haru and Rin held their encounters like a bone of contention between them, his best friend had never been more enlivened than then, the sun filling his eyes even from the depths of the pool like some unearthly outpouring of light.

But even ineluctable joy has to die sometime, in-between the tangled symmetry of goldfish swimming slow circles into doctored water, the way Rin took that conviviality with him and sent Haru in the fugue state, stricken into a stupor he couldn't possibly recover from on his own. All those years he'd held Haru steady, only to belatedly understand the kind of confrontation liable to crack camaraderie all the way open.

All those years, and Makoto never figured out how to move oceans, to incite change as natural as breathing.)

Standing in the corridor, Makoto is more or less presenting himself like some ghost on borrowed time, but that isn't true. Jealousy, or envy, or admiration, or respect — it's implausible that he can't identify the strange mixture that rises like apoplexy in him.

So it's not about the cat, or the meal, or the contradiction between the things he says and the things he means, only that Rin must be able to divine his own future just by exhaling it into existence. There's nothing like a happy medium when it comes to a vice that has gone untreated for years, dependency curdling into detachment. It's easier to feign ignorance when the worst thing to fear is a split connection, the silence that comes after he's shut Skype off, left with only the strangeness of displacement.

If evasion is a coping mechanism, then this is where the dam breaks, the rest of his entreaties scraped out of his throat like crushed glass. ]

I'm sorry, Rin. I've ... been avoiding you this whole time, haven't I?

[ For once, Makoto's tired of having his thoughts revolve in cyclical perpetuity around Haru, like the only thing that keeps Rin coming back is the vestiges of obligation that come with a friendship lived within the periphery. His life isn't contingent on Haru's wellbeing anymore, but he hasn't been able to think about Rin without Haru like a contextual footnote, an ever-present addendum.

If Rin knew, he might be disgusted. He might really hate how hung-up Makoto is on the past without even the illusion of having taken a step forward, but it's somewhat absolving to hear Rin speak his mind, even if it's only in denunciations. Given half a sense of functioning humor, he'd parrot back the same words (that's the Rin I know) like he'd been the one with self-deprecation in his throat. ]

I want to spend time with you! It's been a while since we've had a chance to talk like this, so I ... I got a little scared, hahah. I mean, you're widely-recognized everywhere now, so you don't have to keep coming back here like you're obligated to, or just out of habit. I'm not so important that you have to come see me in-person anymore.

[ Locked in Rin's vice grip, Makoto eventually turns his head, eyes too misty to feign ignorance. ]

But if you really wanted to spend time with me, then I guess I wouldn't mind that either. It's kind of a relief, actually! Even if I am boring.

[ It's a weak-willed excuse for an apology, but Makoto rescinds his inanity increment by increment all the same, frustration slowly ebbing into resignation. ]

I do want to see if your cooking has improved at all since last time, too. Do you remember the last time you baked a cake with Nagisa? It was pretty awful.

[ And just like that, Makoto cedes. ]
showyouthesight: (their words are just whispers)

[personal profile] showyouthesight 2016-05-01 04:00 pm (UTC)(link)
[The admission lessens the grip on Makoto's hand, as Rin listens carefully for any signs that Makoto is simply acquiescing to his demands, rather than understanding what he's actually saying and making his decision based on that. But as Makoto continues going into what has possibly led to this rarely felt awkwardness between them (not since that day after preliminaries when Makoto had called him on what he did to Haruka), he lets himself believe that Makoto really is opening up to him again. He guesses it does change the dynamic when a conversation is face-to-face rather than blocked by miles of water and a sometimes fickle connection.

But what's this about his notoriety? He hasn't thought of himself as becoming that big yet. Sure he's won a few important medals on his path toward the world stage but nothing that should make him off-limits to his old friendships, especially one as important as Makoto. Still his confidant in many ways, the one who always seemed to know what to see to turn down the fires of his temper in a way that nobody else could. Did Makoto really see himself as something less than that? As just another face in Rin's busy and crowded life? And is it his fault that Makoto sees himself this way? Has Rin never done a decent job of letting Makoto know where he stands amid all of the Rin's encounters and departures throughout the years?

Rin acknowledges that he is a creature of the moment, nearly impossible to hang onto for anyone not chasing the same path. Always on the move, looking for the next thing that might give him that much needed boost to the next step of his journey. He's probably more accustomed than farewells and new settings than anyone else he knows. Eternally a big fish in a small pond, searching for one that might be wide enough to withstand the enormity of his dreams and ambition.

But he always thought that he's carried his friends with him on that journey. He just never thought to find out if they felt the same way. He's sure Sousuke does. But Makoto...]

"Makoto, listen to me. You've always been an important friend, even when I was too stupid to realize it. Sorry if I've never really told you that. No matter what happens, that's not going to change for me, okay?"

[Rin steps back again, needing a moment to come down from the weight of his words. He's never said them to anyone, not even Sousuke. He's never considered that anyone might need to hear them.]

"And you're not boring. Ask anyone who tries to play a video game with you. You're fucking terrifying." [He jokes, nudging Makoto's shoulder.] "You're just too close to the situation to really get what makes you so great."

[There's a faint brush of color on his face as he says the last part, but he does his best to ignore it, as he waves Makoto toward the kitchen.]

"But if you want to be blown away by my new cooking skills, I'm happy to oblige. They're not the same as you remember at all. And that cake was just fine. It just needed more time to sit."

cordated: (ABSORB.)

[personal profile] cordated 2016-06-29 02:46 am (UTC)(link)
[ Makoto's fingertips dig into the heart of his palms, a compulsive act. At first, he's betrayed by the shock that alights on him, some kind of strange, transfixing disconcertion that embeds itself in the back of his throat. He can't recognize that he's been strangling himself on it until his voice won't come, and by then, Rin is speaking — talking and talking with an assuredness he's founds so intrinsic to him, but never manifested. Not even a lifetime of taking personal responsibility into his own hands can cure him.

Hesitation has taken root in him for such a long time. This set-up bears a startling familiarity to the same one Haru dragged out of Rin the year he'd confronted them all. As an outsider, Makoto only had the tangential understanding that came in the aftermath — the moment when they'd stopped turning their backs to each other. At the time, he'd seen it as inevitable.

But trapped in the same predicament of conscience now, hedged on the desperation to dodge the shadow of arrest, all the insecurities that have accrued with the lack of direction (because he's been struggling hard to find his own place in the wide, wide world, even if he's only impeded by his own contrariety). Makoto never pursues what he really wants. He isn't ballasting the storm of self-effacement now, though, disentangled when Rin eventually disentangles, even if the sensation lingers in the ligaments of his fingers where his touch grazed.

Even if it's only in the interim, fear has no place where he stands with Rin in a moment that seems to go on forever. There's something inherent in the silence that lapses, but Makoto can't give it a tangible shape when he's still trying to parse his intent enough to breathe it aloud.

Choosing to stay is as inarticulate as that. Cheeks hot, Makoto is only marginally successful in scrubbing away the blush scalding his face in a deeper tinge as he takes a few unwieldy steps after him, voice blocky in his windpipe. ]

I — Rin!

[ And it's utterly ridiculous, the tenor of his inflection dips — uncertain first, warbling, then gradually gaining confidence. ]

Yeah. I want to see it. How good you've gotten at cooking. [ His smile is thin, but indelibly sincere. ] You better not disappoint me. I've been looking forward to your visit for a while now.