A pixie just landed on top of Michael's homework and is staring at his face, clearly not liking what he sees.
12:29 AM
The lack of AR glasses makes this perhaps unsettling.
12:30 AM Kykinos_Elene
W-what? Michael jerks back for a moment, nervously, forgetting how precariously balanced the chair is, and over he falls.
12:32 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"Doot-doot-doot dooo doooo dooo, doot-doo-doooooo…" The pixie hums, then walks over to the edge of the table. "Are you cursed?"
12:33 AM Kykinos_Elene
just stares up at the pixie from where he's lying on the floor. Perhaps he has lost his mind. Maybe he should have listened to the nurse's advice after all.
12:37 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"Muted? Hmm…."
12:38 AM
"PATRA!" A great cloud of sparks and sparkles enshroud Michael. He even feels a little better…then has to wonder where the sparks actually came from. "Can you talk now?"
12:38 AM Kykinos_Elene
"I-I w-wasn't c-cursed." Michael has to wonder why he's talking to things he shouldn't even be seeing.
12:39 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"That's good. You are the prettiest demon I've ever seen! People should be nicer to you."
12:43 AM Kykinos_Elene
"I-I'm n-not…n-not a-a d-demon."
12:43 AM Greenling has joined the channel.
12:44 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"Ohhhh…then you are kinda…heavy for a human." Flit-flit-flit and down she bounds to land on Michael's knee. She has a very real weight. "I try not to talk to humans, so forget I was ever here, okay? I'm kind of heavy, too, so I'll keep your secret."
12:44 AM Kykinos_Elene
"I-I'll f-forget." Michael whispers, closing his eyes for a moment.
12:46 AM JaitoWerkzIn
He feels a sudden, very tiny wetness on his cheek and then a sensation like a gigantic bee buzzing out of reach. "K, gotta go!" There's a yelp in the hall, followed by Nurse Tan ducking in. "…I could've sworn I heard a bee…"
12:48 AM Kykinos_Elene
abruptly sits up.
12:49 AM JaitoWerkzIn
She frowns. "This is a hospital. That's no excuse to get yourself hurt in a convenient place…" She comes over, despite her tone, offering a hand to help.
12:50 AM Kykinos_Elene
"I-I'm s-sorry. I-I d-didn't m-mean t-to fall out of the chair, ma'am."
12:53 AM Greenling is now known as Shousei_Yamazaki
12:53 AM Kykinos_Elene
manages to get himself up.
12:54 AM JaitoWerkzIn
She clucks her tongue, dusting him off. "Yes, these chairs do have a wicked sense of humor. Normally, don't you stay out in the hall? You're like a ghost sometimes, you know that?"
12:58 AM Kykinos_Elene
nods. "I-I d-do, ma'am." and it's entirely on purpose, too.
12:59 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"Well, let me be the first to tell you - we have enough ghosts in this hospital. The living ought to live a little louder…" She glances to the side. "Or maybe just sweeter." She gives a long sigh. "She's awake, you know."
1:01 AM Kykinos_Elene
"O-oh." Michael is perfectly fine not living loudly enough to make a mark - fading away will be so much easier. He doesn't deserve a place in this world anyway. "D-does s-she w-want t-to s-see m-me?' Mother had thrown him out the last time he'd actually tried to go in to see her.
1:02 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"She's certainly waiting for something, it seems. She's staring out the window." The nurse shakes her head. "You don't have to go, you know…"
1:04 AM Kykinos_Elene
is packing up his things in his backpack. "I-I s-should…"
1:05 AM JaitoWerkzIn
She lays a hand over the bag. "Michael…what you should do and what you want to do aren't always the same-" "Nurse Tan!" She winces at the distant call. "…I have to go, just…" She glances at him, then shakes her head. "I have to go."
1:09 AM Kykinos_Elene
bows his head and waits for her to go. He didn't understand. He doesn't ever really think about what he /wants/, always acting on /should/, and isn't that what he should do? What he should do and be obedient?
1:10 AM Kykinos_Elene
In the end, he picks up his bag and walks like just another ghost to his mother's room.
1:11 AM JaitoWerkzIn
The room is stark and simple - she'd decorated it at first, but half of that had gone in the trash. The other half? Out a window. Now, there was just a simple white bed, an open window, and a nightstand with a single sunflower.
1:12 AM
She doesn't look away from the window. Doesn't speak. Her hands lay softly in her lap, folded. She could be an older image of Michael…no, of Nikaia. Upright, confident, aloof.
1:12 AM
In control.
1:12 AM Kykinos_Elene
Michael rather timidly peers in. Cautiously.
1:17 AM
Takes a silent step in.
1:17 AM JaitoWerkzIn
Still, she says nothing. She watches the clouds move. She's lost more weight, Michael can see that already. There's shadows under her eyes without any hint of make-up. She's starting to wither.
1:17 AM
Slowly, though…slowly, her fingers are tightening on the sheet.
1:18 AM Kykinos_Elene
"H-hello, m-mother." Michael slips instinctively back into Chinese, the most polite phrasings, barely a breath to disturb her.
1:20 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"Shut the door behind you." Still, barely a shift in the lips. The faintest sense of acknowledgement. No clue of feeling.
1:23 AM Kykinos_Elene
shuts the door behind him. The acknowledgement is…new.
1:23 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"So…is there anything that you would like to tell me?"
1:23 AM
So calm. So sweet. Angelic, realy.
1:23 AM
1:25 AM Kykinos_Elene
starts to shake his head, before remembering she isn't facing him. "N-no, m-mother."
1:25 AM Kykinos_Elene
He knows that tone.
1:25 AM
He knows it really well.
1:26 AM JaitoWerkzIn
She hmms softly. "Nothing about your day? Your friends? Your favorite book?"
1:29 AM Kykinos_Elene
Michael isn't sure what to say. That he'd tried to kill his half-brother in a game and nearly got blown up in reality? "I-I d-don't h-have a-any f-friends, mother." he disappoints her, no matter what he does or doesn't do. he's used to it by now. he just isn't used to her actually asking anything about him.
1:30 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"I see…" Is that…sadness in her voice? Genuine, simple sad- "They must truly hate you, after all. Just look at you. Your face…your hair…your eyes, your voice. How could they love what is so far beyond their reach?"
1:34 AM Kykinos_Elene
just shakes his head. "T-they c-can't h-hate w-what t-they d-don't notice." and any of that is hers…he got all of that from her, after all. it's not his, really.
1:35 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"You think they /don't/ notice you?" Michael's mother smiles, and for all the shining light from the window, that smile's as cold as ice. "Every. Single. One. Sees you…they know when you walk in, they know when you leave."
1:35 AM
"If they don't /say/ anything, it is because there's nothing to be said."
1:36 AM
"You hadn't noticed?"
1:37 AM Kykinos_Elene
"N-no." maybe he should step even lighter, then. he isn't disappearing well enough, if even his mother notices this.
1:39 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"A lawyer visited me today. Offering me a polite reminder not to leave my…" Her lips part. The smile bares teeth. "Trash where it is not wanted. Do you have any idea what that might be about?"
1:39 AM Kykinos_Elene is now known as Michael_Lin
1:39 AM JaitoWerkzIn
(You're welcome to roll Empathy if you' like.)
1:40 AM Michael_Lin
1:43 AM
"O-oh." awkward little pause. "T-there w-was a-an a-accident w-with the game Aunt Iris g-gave m-me…"
1:44 AM JaitoWerkzIn
At the mention of Iris, the warmth drains from her face. "Speak. Clearly."
1:49 AM Michael_Lin
tries to resist the urge to curl up into a little ball and never come out: instead he's twining his fingers around each other, white-knuckled and his hands are trembling. "S-she gave me a copy of Paradise, that game she's working on." he manages to get the sentence out with only a little wavering in his voice.
1:50 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"Stand up straight. Keep your hands at your -sides-," she commands. Finally, her eyes turn on Michael, but never on his eyes. His fingers. His shoes. His hair. "What does a video game have to do with things you oughtn't be bothering?"
1:54 AM Michael_Lin
tries to do that and his hands shake worse. "T-the first time I played it, when there was the accident, m-my h-half-brother w-was i-involved. T-there. T-the lawyer is F-father's lawyer." and back to stammering all over the place again. this is not an improvement.
1:55 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"Did you somehow assume I didn't -know- that much? Consider every word you say - everyone else will. Come. HERE." She pats the bed beside her.
1:57 AM Michael_Lin
sits gingerly. This is why he just doesn't talk.
1:59 AM JaitoWerkzIn
She wraps an arm around his waist. Up close, he can smell it. Faint, like a well-applied perfume - rot. The smell sinks into his nose and promises to never quite leave. "I do not know what Iris was thinking. You need to focus on your studies."
1:59 AM
"One day, someone will see you and they will, for whatever reason, want something from you. You must be ready. It's the only hope you have. Sadly, you aren't as talented or lovely as your forebears. You'll need to be -obedient- if you want to be happy."
2:04 AM Michael_Lin
is good at being obedient, of putting on that blank serene face. "Y-yes, m-mother. I-I w-will." he stiffens at her wrapping an arm around his waist - he doesn't ever remember her being affectionate like that even (especially) when he was small, and his mind skips across the irony that he lives like he's a ghost and yet his mother is the one dying instead, when once she'd been so vibrant that he thought she'd never die.
2:04 AM Michael_Lin
But people do.
2:06 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"You need to draw /allies/ to you, if you're going to get anywhere in life. You are weak, so you need the strong. If you are going to /destroy/ that little demon child, you will need -friends-. Your mother wants to hear about your -friends-, Michael…"
2:07 AM
She runs her fingers through his hair. Soft. Gentle. So very alien, but kind. "Iris…just wants you to live in fantasy. She doesn't know a THING about what's real, and never has. Don't let her distract you."
2:12 AM Michael_Lin
doesn't want to get anywhere in life. He doesn't have ambition: he doesn't even know what he is going to do once he finishes school. He's never thought about it. And he stares at her blankly, completely confused by both her words and the fact she is…being nice to him. He didn't ever imagine this even when he was small and still dreamed impossible dreams of a mother who loved him.
2:12 AMActivating Flood Protection
2:17 AM JaitoWerkzIn
She pulls him close. The smell gets stronger as she holds him to her breast. "You are /my/ son. Never forget that. Mine." Her nails dig in. Painfully. "You -owe- it to me to succeed. To be better than this. To -hurt- them, do you understand?"
2:17 AM
"Do. You. Understand?"
2:18 AM Michael_Lin
bites down on the pained little breath, barely audible. "I-I u-understand, b-but w-who a-are 't-them', M-mother?"
2:23 AM JaitoWerkzIn
She hisses out a long, slow breath, then goes back to stroking Michael's head. She kisses his cheek. "You would be so pretty if you didn't have his bones. Like wasted art." She releases him. "I'm tired."
2:23 AM
This can mean nothing but a dismissal.
2:23 AM
He'd learned a long time ago that she got nasty when she was 'tired'.
2:25 AM Michael_Lin
"G-good n-night, M-mother." and Michael makes himself scarce, quickly.
2:25 AM JaitoWerkzIn
A moment after the door closes, there's a fierce snarl and the sound of a broken vase against the other side. Not the first time. They keep more in the gift shop.
2:27 AM Michael_Lin
drops down heavily into his usual chair in the hallway outside his room and curls up for a moment, trying not to tremble.
2:28 AM JaitoWerkzIn
(Alertness, please.)
2:29 AM Michael_Lin
2:29 AM JaitoWerkzIn
He hears a footstep trying to quietly duck into the nook he'd just studied in.
2:30 AM Michael_Lin
glances that way, but trying not to let on he's looking that way, his head still buried in his arms
2:31 AM JaitoWerkzIn
A moment later, a mess of red spikes peek around the corner, followed by a familiar face. Then, standing up and tucking hands into his pockets. Anthony Wen starts to walk away.
2:32 AM Michael_Lin
drops his backpack in surprise.
2:33 AM JaitoWerkzIn
He stops, wincing. "…oh, /hey/! Lin." Surprisingly, he keeps his voice down. "F-funny seeing you here."
2:35 AM Michael_Lin
nods, timidly, retrieving his bag. "Y-yes." awkward little pause. "I-I h-haven't s-seen y-you h-here b-before."

2:36 AM JaitoWerkzIn
He shrugs. "Just…around, y'know." Terrible, terrible liar. "You all patched up after the explosion, kid?"
2:37 AM Michael_Lin
notices the lie, but doesn't call him on it. and he nods. "Y-yes."
He sits down, resting a hand on Michael's shoulder. "Good…good. Uhh…Misaki-sama say anything about me lately?"
2:42 AM Michael_Lin
jumps, startled, at the touch. "N-no, s-she d-did n-not."
2:46 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"..figures. So…wanna spar?"
2:49 AM Michael_Lin
"N-no, t-thank you."
2:50 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"Wanna get a bite?"
2:53 AM Michael_Lin
blinks at him for a moment. "A-ah-"
2:55 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"…man. Am I really that annoying?" He sighs, whistling through a smile. "It's the hair, isn't it?"
2:56 AM Michael_Lin
"N-no. I-it's m-me." pause. even more timidly. "I-I d-don't s-spend m-much t-time w-with p-people."
3:01 AM JaitoWerkzIn
He laughs at that. "Me, neither, really. Not since I moved here. C'mon - I hear hospital food is terrible. Let's find out."
3:01 AM
He stands up, offering his hand.
3:05 AM Michael_Lin
doesn't take his hand but instead keeps clutching his bag full of books as he stands up, slowly, untangling himself from the litle ball.
3:07 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"Yeah, how about something at a stand a couple blocks off of here. My treat? I'm actually sick of this place. I can tell you a bit about demons."
3:10 AM Michael_Lin
"O-oh." and he remembers what his mother had said, and just nods in timid agreement.
3:12 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"You see, demons break up into clans. Some of them more lawful…others more prone to chaos and unruly behavior, but most of them just neutral. But any or none of them can be nice. They aren't LIKE us, y'know. Back in Japan…"
3:12 AM
He's more than happy to keep up both ends of the conversation, but when he talks about things? It's easy to tell he really loves it.
3:15 AM Michael_Lin
listens, committing it to memory like he does so many other things, though he isn't sure what use he'll ever make of the information since he's not playing any more (steadfastly ignoring what happened earlier earlier in the afternoon)
3:16 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"So, uh, hey…d…do you think Yamazaki and Misaki-sama are…y'know, a thing?"
3:17 AM
This came immediately after his discussion of Faerie royal families
3:18 AM Michael_Lin
"A-a w-what?" Michael pauses. has to stop and process this for a moment, before he shakes his head. He doesn't know much about romantic relationships or love at all (other than that certain truths can't be seen without it), but he doesn't think so.
3:22 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"Cool. Yamazaki thinks he's so cool, but I'm better than him in every way!" He laughs, maybe a little too hard. "Uhh…don't tell Misaki-sama I said that."
3:23 AM Michael_Lin
"I-I w-won't."
3:24 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"You know…for a quiet guy, you're actually kinda cool. I mean…I've seen you around, but you don't talk. I figured you were some kind of jerk, y'know? One of those standoffish types, thinks they're better. Like Shousei."
3:28 AM Michael_Lin
just shakes his head, staring at the ground. "I-I d-don't l-like t-talking."

3:30 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"Me, neither. I prefer fighting. But…I get the feeling you've never fought before. That's cool - just means you've never wanted anything enough. Now, most guys would think that's sad. Me? I think that's lucky." They come across a noodle stand. "Double lucky, because I'm feeling all-you-can-eat generous!"
3:32 AM Michael_Lin
still doesn't want anything, either except that one part of him does. "I-I d-don't l-like f-fighting e-either."
3:33 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"Nobody likes fighting unless they're crazy. Never forget that." He winks. "But don't worry. You've got at least one crazy guy in your corner. I dunno what Misaki-sama wants with you, but I like you anyway."
"I wish I could just…be quiet, y'know."
3:35 AM Michael_Lin
nods, timidly. "I-it's b-both h-hard and e-easy t-to disappear." he would have said it was easy but he isn't disappearing as well as he wants any more.

3:43 AM JaitoWerkzIn
"I'll never disappear." There's no bluster, no anger, not even a hint of bravado. Just calm, cold, and sudden finality. "I'll become a god if I have to." Then he smiles at Michael. "That's how you get the girl, you know."
3:43 AM
"You have to become something immortal and overwhelming."
3:45 AM Michael_Lin
It's like that in the stories…
Staring into a noodle bowl is good a way to spend an afternoon as any after a bad shake. Wen hasn't stopped talking yet, "So you see, that's when the Emperor and I singlehandedly faced off against Hachiman to prove our conviction- hey, are you sure you're not hungry? You look kinda…frail, you know?"
5:41 PM Michael_Lin
shakes his head: he hasn't really touched the bowl in front of him. "I-I'm s-sure."
5:42 PM Greenling has joined the channel.
5:43 PM Greenling is now known as Shousei_Yamazaki
5:46 PM Jaito
"So what IS your story, anyway?"
5:48 PM Michael_Lin
5:50 PM Jaito
"Yeah. Everyone's got a story, and a kid like you? I'm guessin' it's a big one. I mean…" He rubs the back of his neck. "You don't hafta trust me, but…the gist, y'know? I wanna know what kind of man you are."
6:06 PM Michael_Lin
looks away. "I-I d-don't r-really h-have one."
6:09 PM Jaito
He shakes his head. "Everybody's got a story. Maybe you just don't know yours yet…lucky you." He grins like a demon.
6:11 PM Michael_Lin
"I-I d-don't r-really want to know it, e-either." barely audible at best.
6:14 PM Jaito
6:16 PM Michael_Lin
6:19 PM Jaito
Michael feels a shadow fall over him. Wen doesn't even so much as look up.
6:22 PM Michael_Lin
glances in the direction he feels the shadow fall on him from.
6:23 PM Jaito
Three boys in surgical masks and long coats stand, covering them in a loose semi-circle. One of them speaks - with the masks, it's hard to say for sure which. "Prince wants to talk to Lin."
6:25 PM Michael_Lin
6:26 PM Jaito
Wen keeps eating his noodles, ignoring all of this. The voice speaks again. "The Devil Prince requests an audience with one Michael Lin…in our kingdom. This is not voluntary."
6:32 PM Michael_Lin
"I-in y-your k-kingdom?" pause. "T-the g-game?" he shakes his head, timidly. "I-I c-can't."
6:39 PM Jaito
"Your attendance is mandator-" "He SAID he ain't goin." Wen slides his bowl over to the cook, who is politely ignoring this and sliding towards his phone.
6:39 PM
Wen rolls around in his spinning stool and leans back on his elbows. "Wanna…make somethin' of it?"
6:40 PM Michael_Lin
is immediately looking for the nearest exit, on instinct. He doesn't /want/ Wen to fight for him, or because of him, and he isn't going to go to this meeting, and…
6:41 PM Jaito
The three take a step back. "Zoutouchen…." one of them mutters. Then…all three of them start laughing.
6:42 PM
Wen raises an eyebrow. "What?!"
6:42 PM
"….you deleted your account. You gonna get assault charges for decking us?"
6:42 PM
Wen snorts. "For my buddy? Sure!"
6:42 PM
(Michael, if you want to find an opening to run for it…give me an Investigation to find a good moment…or just try to break their block with Athletics.)
6:44 PM Michael_Lin
"P-please d-don't…"
6:44 PM
6:48 PM Jaito
He sees a way…but they'd almost certainly get a grab at him in the process.
6:49 PM
Wen glances over, "Eh?"
6:49 PM
One of them snickers, "Yeah, don't. We're just playing a GAME, Tony. Remember the game?"
6:49 PM
Wen…stands up, fists audibly clenching like leather going taut.
6:51 PM Michael_Lin
tenses, looking from between Wen and the boys, almost wanting to risk it. He doesn't want anyone to fight for him, whether in the game or out of it.
6:53 PM Jaito
One of the masked boys suddenly kneels. "Master Nikaia…I cannot return without your company. Please ignore this ogre and honor us?"
6:53 PM
The other two look ready to square off. Wen is holding himself on edge.
7:01 PM Michael_Lin
"P-please d-don't k-kneel." Michael whispers. Pause. "W-will i-it s-stop a-any fight b-between t-them?" birdlike tilt of his head towards Wen and the other boys.
7:02 PM Jaito
"Of course. There's nothing to be gained from fighting the weak."
7:02 PM
Wen takes a step forward. "Wanna say that ONE MORE TIME?"
7:08 PM Michael_Lin
"P-please d-don't." going to take a deep breath, and slide off the stool. "I-I c-can't p-promise y-you a-anything, b-but." he's pretty clearly going to at least /go/.
7:09 PM Jaito
He stands up. "Of course. Promises are just lies in advance. Shall we?" He steps aside and gestures. Wen grits his teeth. "Just say the word, Lin, and these guys are toast…
7:09 PM
7:11 PM Michael_Lin
(0. empathy, what is it?)
7:15 PM Jaito
…Wen's showing more restraint than usual. Huh.
7:18 PM Michael_Lin
just shakes his head the tiniest, most timid fraction.
7:20 PM Jaito
He takes a deep breath. "If you come back with so much as a scratch, they're dead." He pats Michael on the shoulder, grabs his bag, tosses down some cash…and walks away.
7:20 PM
The three Black Brigadiers form up around Michael. One of them softly says, "It's not far - at the school."
7:22 PM Michael_Lin
nods. will start walking, his eyes pretty firmly down at the ground.
7:23 PM Jaito
One of them sifts inside his coat. "Gum?"
7:23 PM Michael_Lin
shakes his head - where did they get chewing gum anyway? It's illegal in Singapore.
7:24 PM Jaito
Another offers, "Smoke?"
7:24 PM Michael_Lin
shakes his head even more.
7:25 PM Jaito
A third offers, "Jack?" A flask comes into view. "You're shakin'."
7:27 PM Michael_Lin
shakes his head even more, clutches his bookbag more.
7:28 PM Jaito
"Suit yourself." They walk on in silence, only stopping to watch as an ambulance rushes into the hospital from nearby - the park, maybe?
7:28 PM Michael_Lin
O-oh dear.
7:29 PM Jaito
Then, after a while, they come across the athletic field and to the bleachers. Steel drums and wood crtes have been strewn across the underside, making for a sort of fort between the back of a school wall and the stands.
7:33 PM Michael_Lin
….going to avoid hiding here, then.