14

[16:20] <Jaito_> Michael's clothes are hung up on the door as he awakens. This isn't unusual. Of course, the door may have been locked. That doesn't seem to stop Iris.
[16:24] <Michael_Lin> …Michael sighs, inaudibly. He…really should be used to this by now, shouldn't he?
[16:27] <Jaito_> His dream, at least, was familiar. That voice, saying "Decide." over. And over. And over. It's almost comforting after a while, like the sound of waves.
[16:29] <Michael_Lin> Decide…decide what? But predictability is a form of stability, and it's…comforting, really. Even if it is an ominous dream.
[16:32] <Jaito_> Michael can faintly make out the television on downstairs. "…reports of inappropraite entry into restricted zones is down as awareness increases and software is released to denote warnings. Please be advised that safety is YOUR responsibility-"
[16:35] <Michael_Lin> These warnings and bulletins are so familiar by now that he's memorized even the particular cadence of the announcer's voice, and he tries to make as little sound as possible as he gets up.
[16:37] <Jaito_> There's the rhythmic piston sound of the secret door opening in the main hall and then a long sigh. "(Japanese) Again? Ugh…" and then the TV turns off and soon after, there's the sound of silverware on bowls.
[16:43] * Michael_Lin dresses quietly, before picking up his bag with books and cautiously opens his bedroom door, peeking into the hallway.
[16:45] * Greenling is now known as Green_boxes
[16:46] <Jaito_> Izumi is sitting at the table, properly and square-shouldered, as she stabs at a bowl of miso soup and a bowl of rice. Back and forth. Either thinking or very much NOT thinking.
[16:46] <Jaito_> Lying on the couch, Kazue appears to be out cold. Lunches are set for them, however.
[16:51] * Michael_Lin tries to silently make his way towards the door to not either wake up Kazue or disturb Izumi.
[16:51] <Jaito_> Izumi doesn't even look up. "Don't blow up anything. I mean, you won't. But…don't. No matter how much you want to."
[16:53] <Michael_Lin> "…I won't." soft as dust. (A reminder?)
[16:54] <Jaito_> "Though…if you ever want to? Lemme know first. We've made plans." She sighs. "…I can't wait until the world really ends." She sips her soup and starts to pore over homework.
[16:57] <Michael_Lin> (Only a little longer.) behind glass. (This is too fragile to hold.)
[16:58] <Jaito_> Morning passes quietly. Things are always quiet now. People make a point not to look at Michael. Not to stare. Not to unsettle him. It's as if the whole word finally decided to leave him alone…but never too far out of sight. His professors are kind enough, in the rare moments they address him. "You're very gifted," they say. "It's…only natural" one said, but only once.
[16:58] <Jaito_> He might have been scolded not to 'draw unnecessary conclusions'.
[16:59] <Jaito_> All in all, every tries very hard to treat him delicately.
[17:01] <Michael_Lin> Michael almost misses the way things had been before: this wasn't truly being invisible, and he could never have truly been invisible, but there is a difference between being left alone and being left alone under a microscope, a butterfly in a glass cage. Even Nikaia points this out, whispers in his own voice (glass doll in a glass cage: they don't want us to break, but it's a thousand years too late.)
[17:06] <Michael_Lin> He keeps a careful eye on the time: he does not want to be late to either meeting that he has today.
[17:07] <Jaito_> The glass cage is good one. Even people he recognizes don't look at her. Marissa Lereaux, who has been appointed Protector of the school, leaves any room he enters. There's been no sign of Cam Bradley, but some of his minions made good on their education. There's even rumors they work for Michael - roughing up people who get too close.
[17:07] <Jaito_> Which, of course, is ridiculous. But the few whispers you hear? Are just about as mad.
[17:08] <Jaito_> Some people even whisper about cults…of you. When they think you can't hear.
[17:08] <Jaito_> It's no surprise that Michael's probably already tired by lunch.
[17:12] <Michael_Lin> He's tired of a lot of things: the whispers, the glass cage, (of not being whole). Even trying for a double degree was not anywhere near as tiring as dealing with the people, their whispers and their rumors. (they're more afraid than you are), and if it wasn't for the consult he had at lunch, lunch would be finding the roof, away from everyone, and sit in the last of the moonsoon rain. even if it wasn't the sun, it was better than having to listen to all of that.
[17:15] <Jaito_> They even moved the nurse (she didn't say anything, but was quite cold for the first meeting at the university) to ensure 'continuity of care'.
[17:16] <Jaito_> Lisbeth sighs in her office, sitting at her desk as soft classical plays. A High Pixie sits on her shoulder, looking more bored than sympathetic. She doesn't even notice Michael come in at first.
[17:17] <Michael_Lin> He…doesn't think he can ever apologize enough for that, either.
[17:21] <Michael_Lin> He isn't sure whether to alert her to his presence: he doesn't want to disturb her more than necessary, but the demon will pick up on him sooner or later.
[17:22] <Jaito_> Sure enough, "Sister Lisbeth! The Demideva is here!" it cries, clapping with (maybe sadistic) glee. "Is it time for the needles now?"
[17:22] <Jaito_> The sister sighs. "No needles, as always, Sprig." She turns in her seat, stands and curtsies. "Michael. How are you feeling today? Any pain?"
<Michael_Lin> "No, ma'am."
[17:26] <Jaito_> She offers him the chair - everything else is cots, while putting on a prim pair of AR goggles. "Heart rate…steady. Always steady…" she mutters. "Temperature…below normal average, but within normal range for…your recent development." She puts a hand to Michael's cheek, lightly brushing aside to touch a line. "…no heat from luminescence, but…considerable energy release. All normal so far." She paints a smile. "Have you…tried eating some of the specially prepared meals for our other students? I understand if you're reluctant."
[17:27] <Jaito_> "So much about you is unknown, so it's…being requested." She looks a little pale, even through her bedside manner.
[17:30] * Michael_Lin shakes his head. "…no, I…" pause, at the 'it's being requested.' "…ah." (and of course they could not ask you themselves.)
[17:32] <Jaito_> "I have one, if you like? It's…lasanga. I mean…I…" Sprig giggles and points. "She TRIED it."
[17:34] * Michael_Lin shakes his head. "…no, thank you." he doesn't laugh: he wouldn't, anyway, because curiosity is a powerful thing, but he definitely does not laugh.
[17:36] <Jaito_> "…it didn't agree with me," she admits. She's still touching Michael's face. "You know…you don't have to hide them. The lines, I mean…all things have their purpose. I mean…in nature, some animals are very colorful. As…well, as warnings. But also to attract others! You…have a purpose."
[17:36] <Jaito_> This time, her smile is genuine. "You should try to shine. It may give people hope in hard times."
[17:40] <Michael_Lin> …hope? Inspire hope? /Him/? "…people fear what they don't understand." and he is…one of the least understood variables of all.
[17:42] <Jaito_> "And that is why angels must say 'Fear not'. They still carry an appointed message. Whether that message is hope or…older…well, I suppose that's up to you." She pulls her hand away, but still smiles. "But look at me natter on. I'm not your mother."
[17:45] <Michael_Lin> Not that Mother ever had spoken to that like him, and some trace of confusion at that shows in his face: mothers were supposed to do that? …well, he supposes so, thinking about it, remembering watching Kazue and Shousei.
[17:46] <Jaito_> For just a moment, he can practically /see/ the sister's heart break a little. "Well, you seem fine. Try…try the food before the end of the week, unless it's just not palatable to consider. Please?"
[17:48] <Michael_Lin> That hurts more than the realization of what things he had never known. "…yes, ma'am."
[17:50] <Jaito_> "And…if you need anything. Please call me. I'm on your contact list. You don't need glasses, correct?"
[17:51] * Michael_Lin shakes his head. "I…I don't."
[17:52] <Jaito_> Spring peers from her perch. "He almost seems human. Weird. You oughta let me heal him. Something's wrong with him…"
[17:52] <Jaito_> The sister shakes her head. "He will be fine, I think. Have faith."
[17:52] <Jaito_> Sprig blinks. "In who?"
[17:52] <Jaito_> The sister gives her a blank look.
[17:52] <Jaito_> "Fiiiiiine. Bye, Michael!"
[17:53] <Michael_Lin> "Goodbye." Michael says, quietly, to both of them as he stands up.
[17:54] <Jaito_> The sister curtsies again. "Same time tomorrow."
[17:54] <Michael_Lin> "Yes, ma'am."
[17:55] <Michael_Lin> and his eyes flick towards the clock: how long until class, and how long until the meeting with his…liason.
[18:02] <Michael_Lin> And behind glass, is a whisper: (if they are afraid, then I will show them what it means to truly be afraid)
[18:03] <Jaito_> He's got a good half-hour before the next class.
[18:04] <Jaito_> And the meeting? You'll be picked up right after the last class.
[18:05] <Michael_Lin> He could go to the library, but that would mean more people staring at him while pretending that he is not there. Instead, he goes to find a way up to the roof: better to be rained on then to be stared at.
[18:07] <Jaito_> It is, in fact, lightly raining. THings even seemed quiet until Michael actually opened the door…just in time to see Lereaux pull her gun on another student. "This isn't a game anymore. You aren't Borus the knight. You're not a boy. You're a corpse waiting to happen. So yes. I refuse. You're not welcome to join my tribe."
[18:08] <Jaito_> "But the KNIGHTS-" he starts and earns a graze across the cheek. She has an actual .45 now. It's the little changes.
[18:08] <Michael_Lin> …
[18:08] <Jaito_> "You're a baseline. Useless to me. Go."
[18:09] <Jaito_> the young man turns away, sword in hand, to stare right at Michael. He…smirks, blood on his face. "…maybe I'll have to slay a demon to prove myself…"
[18:13] <Michael_Lin> …and behind glass, Nikaia laughs, a soft, jagged-edge giggle, witch's laughter. (That will never be enough), and as Michael tilts his head, some edge of that laughter bleeds through into his eyes. Not quite pulling the veil of his other self over himself yet, but it's there. "…will that be enough?" flat and soft, like everything else, and perhaps there should have been emotion in it, but there isn't any. (it won't be.) and /that/ echo follows it.
[18:14] <Jaito_> He actually takes a step back, startled. "…y….you aren't allowed to fight, anyway. This isn't over, Captain!" He brushes past, running.
[18:14] <Jaito_> Lereaux…sighs. Takes out a pack of black-label cigarettes and lights up. That is at least illegal twice.
[18:16] <Michael_Lin> Only twice?
[18:17] <Jaito_> "….come on up, Lin. Want a smoke?" She sounds downright haggard, even if she's otherwise immaculate in a bomber jacket, slacks, and a nice blouse. Tan leather boots go up to the knee with a knife sheath on either side - black harness. It's both fashionable and a bit intimidating. As intended, most likely.
[18:19] <Michael_Lin> Nikaia appreciates those boots. Fashionable and intimidating: he approves. And Michael steps out onto the roof, blinking quizzically at the cigarettes. He…isn't even sure that would have an affect on him anymore. "…um."
[18:21] <Jaito_> "You're a demon now. Doubt it'll kill you." She offers the pack. "….we never talked much. I was a bitch. Still don't know what to say." She looks out into the distance. "So I won't. All right?"
[18:25] * Michael_Lin takes one: the cigarette looks awkward in his fingers, and he'd have never considered it before, but (things change. and we change them.) "…yes."
[18:28] <Michael_Lin> What is there else to say?
[18:29] <Jaito_> She nods. "So…the old folks don't understand…but I played. And the players talk." She offers to light him, but a purple flame cherries the second the stick touches his lips. "…useful." She clears her throat. "Anyway…I saw some footage. Had to delete it, of course, but…I saw your fight."
[18:29] <Jaito_> "…what /was/ that thing? And…what are you gonna do if he comes back?"
[18:31] * Michael_Lin hesitantly inhales on the cigarette, not even sure what he's doing, and coughs, unused to it. "…he's like me."
[18:32] <Jaito_> "That, I highly doubt, but I see your meaning…" She smiles just a little, just for the briefest moment. "Bad habit, I know. But I'd like to think that if I die of cancer? That means I've won. Robbed them of something…it's crazy, right?"
[18:33] <Michael_Lin> "…by old logic." Michael says, even quieter. "…by new?" slim shoulders shrug, if only the barest movement.
[18:35] <Jaito_> "That's just the thing. No one's bothered to tell anyone the new logic. I mean…the fallen stars. The gods that sprung from them…and…the great things at the poles. Are those really there? Is…is…is God up there and…did we make him?"
[18:35] <Jaito_> She sighs. "I used to be Catholic. Now what?"
[18:37] <Michael_Lin> Michael doesn't know any better than she does, really. He doesn't have the religion problem, at least - he was always nominally Buddhist, and there's no real contradiction in this for him. "…find our own answers?" e timidly offers.
[18:38] <Jaito_> She blows smoke angrily. "Now they tell me. And here, I was raised to follow orders." She drops and crushes the cigarette. "I'm out of things to say, but I'm going to eat a sandwich. I've got two - want one?"
[18:39] * Michael_Lin shakes his head. "No, thank you."
[18:40] <Michael_Lin> It is likely about time for his next class, anyway.
[18:41] <Jaito_> She nods. "Remember - no use of your arts…I've seen them, and if you unleash? I'll have to shoot to kill just to survive." She shakes her head. "Would be a shame." She even seems to mean it.
[18:42] <Michael_Lin> "Understood."