Stalker 1

So it's late. Late enough that normal people might have returned from whatever late hospital visits they could manage. Michael's apartment is still neat and spotless as it ever was, and dark. And quiet. With an air of…waiting. Can't imagine why.
6:20 PM Michael_Lin
6:20 PM Night_Misaki
6:20 PM Michael_Lin
opens the door, cautiously.
6:22 PM Night_Misaki
Well, it's as he left it, nice and neat and untouched. Still, something in the air might seem just…off.
6:22 PM Michael_Lin
Steps inside, takes off his shoes as he closes the door behind him.
6:22 PM Night_Misaki
Maybe it's leftover from his brother's visit.
6:24 PM
As the door clicks, there's a faint-rustling, like fabric creaking.
6:24 PM
And the very faintest glint of light on something crystal blue.
6:25 PM Michael_Lin
….Michael just stops dead in his tracks. Turns on the light.
6:27 PM Night_Misaki
In the space between the light turning on and him freezing, Night has moved from the couch-where she had been sitting as if she belonged there and yes, her shoes were properly set by the entrance, just in a corner where they might be missed in the dark, to being right by the door, holding it shut. She isn't smiling, or even looking particularly angry, just calm and completely bland.
6:28 PM
"This would be easier if you didn't run away all the time, I'll have you know."
6:28 PM Michael_Lin

6:28 PM Night_Misaki
"This isn't about the game."
6:28 PM
"And remember to breathe."
6:30 PM Michael_Lin
is just staring at her, like he was just another ghost in the doll's house.
6:31 PM Night_Misaki
Night looks at him-and it's an odd look, coming from her, like she's trying to see down into his very core through his eyes. "When are you going to get tired of running away, Lin?"
6:31 PM Michael_Lin
just shakes his head. Never. Running and fading and never leaving a trace is what he lives by.
6:33 PM Night_Misaki
"So you'll fade away as if you deserve it? What happened to the strength you made Nikaia with?"
6:34 PM Michael_Lin
"Nikaia i-isn't r-real."
6:35 PM Night_Misaki
"Neither is anything in this world, when has that ever mattered?" She tips Michael's face up with her other hand, forcing him to maintain eye contact. "Nikaia's as real as you want them to be."
6:35 PM
"You don't need the game to breathe life into a stronger self."
6:35 PM Michael_Lin
tries to jerk away from her.
6:35 PM Night_Misaki
Her grips a bit too strong for that. He'll have to actively fight to get away from her.
6:36 PM
Which is, of course, the point.
6:36 PM Michael_Lin
Just like a puppet on its strings.
6:36 PM Night_Misaki
"…I wonder. Is Nikaia really the shell? Or are you the shell to Nikaia?"
6:37 PM Michael_Lin
"I-it d-doesn't m-matter."
6:37 PM Night_Misaki
"No, it matters the most."
6:38 PM
"Or are you trying to tell me you're not worth it?"
6:38 PM Michael_Lin
It was a dream anyway - to bury himself inside the life of a person whose life was both far worse and far better than his
6:38 PM
To be someone he can't be, even for a moment.
6:39 PM Night_Misaki
"Michael Lin." There's steel in Night's voice, steel out of place in a distant girl who never seemed to care beyond what books he borrowed. "Answer me."
6:39 PM Michael_Lin
What is she going to do? Tear the words out of him if he doesn't, can't?
6:39 PM
The answer is evident anyway.
6:40 PM Night_Misaki
"Just who was it who left you trapped in this shell, anyway?"
6:41 PM Night_Misaki is now known as Zephyrus
6:42 PM Michael_Lin
just shakes his head.
6:43 PM Shousei_Yamazaki is now known as Greenling
6:45 PM Zephyrus
"You can't keep running. The world has a way of trapping people where they don't want to be the longer they run." Where was all of Nikaia's anger? Where was that bitter edge that made Michael being a demon almost believable? "There's no difference between someone and any role they play, Lin. A ghost of someone else is still a part of them."
6:45 PM
"But you already knew that, didn't you?"
6:47 PM Michael_Lin
Nikaia isn't here, trapped behind broken glass and a world he isn't going to touch again.
6:47 PM
A ghost is a ghost is a ghost.
6:47 PM
And it's not like he can throw himself through glass and never come back, either.
6:48 PM
"W-why a-are y-you h-here?"
6:48 PM Zephyrus
Why not, Alice? "…That night in the boiler room, that world became real, Michael. The pain in my wrist is a reminder of that."
6:48 PM
"Me? I'm paying back a debt, although this isn't how I'd envisioned doing it."
6:49 PM
"You'll be safer if you start fighting back."
6:49 PM Michael_Lin
"A-a d-debt?"
6:49 PM Greenling is now known as Ni-sen_Au
6:50 PM Zephyrus
"What do you think what would have happened to Shousei and I if you hadn't said anything?"
6:50 PM Michael_Lin
doesn't say anything.
6:51 PM Zephyrus
It's not like he needs to. Night knows he's not stupid. "You have weapons and a spine, Lin, isn't is past time you started using them?"
6:53 PM Michael_Lin
What spine and what weapons?
6:54 PM Michael_Lin
tries to get himself out of her grasp. Even if it means tearing his shirt.
6:55 PM Zephyrus
Well why don't you just think hard about that one yourself? Night reaches into her bag-letting him go and probably unceremoniously dropping him—and pushes a heavy binder into Michael's hands. Notes, such as it is. Her knuckles are bruised and bloody, from…something. Those wounds aren't from last night. "You know it isn't as easy as crushing the AR glasses. These things happen for a reason. You might as well stop
6:55 PM
running and find out why."
6:56 PM Michael_Lin
just shakes his head and hands it back to her.
6:56 PM Zephyrus
"…Those are the notes, Michael."
6:57 PM
"You know, for class."
6:57 PM
"You're gonna need those."
6:57 PM Michael_Lin
shakes his head. He's going to do the work himself.
6:57 PM Zephyrus
"Like hell I'm letting you do all the work."
6:57 PM Michael_Lin
Besides, he has time and needs space to fill it.
6:58 PM Zephyrus
Then research something else.
6:58 PM
Night is honestly offended at the suggestion of letting him do all of it.
6:58 PM Michael_Lin
he's already done a lot of it.
6:59 PM Zephyrus
So has she, evidently.
6:59 PM
It's about this time, with Michael pinned to the door…that Night opens it. Think fast.
7:00 PM Michael_Lin
W-what is she doing?
7:00 PM Zephyrus
7:00 PM
She's not taking the notes.
7:01 PM Michael_Lin
he'll..just give them to his brother.
7:01 PM Zephyrus
And they will magically turn up in his apartment again!
7:01 PM Michael_Lin
Shousei needs them more!
7:02 PM Zephyrus
He's gonna need more than notes!
7:03 PM Michael_Lin
Besides, he can just put the binder in his bookshelf.
7:03 PM
And not look at it.
7:03 PM Zephyrus
If you're that desperate for time to kill, you might as well read it.
7:03 PM Michael_Lin
He can do more work.
7:04 PM Zephyrus
Reading counts!
7:05 PM Greenling
Hey. Hey. Shousei did not get a perfect GPA thus far by letting /either/ of you do all the work and act like he's the third wheel.
7:06 PM
This is the history of /economics/. There will be math, and he will /ace/ you both.
7:06 PM Zephyrus
Then do an equal amount of work and we'll be /fine/.
7:06 PM
Also bring it, twinkletoes.
7:07 PM Greenling
Well, good. At least we're agreed and come /on/, you don't get to claim total domination in your major /and/ mine.

7:08 PM Zephyrus
Then prove me wrong, prettyboy!
7:09 PM Michael_Lin
will carefully close and lock the door behind Night once she is gone.