|Empty Spaces (Akihiko!)|
|Topic Started: Feb 5 2012, 12:06 AM (320 Views)|
|Deleted User||Feb 5 2012, 12:06 AM Post #1|
MAY 27TH, 2012 | 1:00 PM
There were times that Rise missed fame.
No, really-- there were. The glitz, the glamour, the cheering fans and the adoring masses... but it all came with a price that, for now? It was all far too high for her to pay it. Maybe once she was a bit more mature, she'd try again-- but for now? She was enjoying a more mundane existence. Sure, every now and then she still got asked for an autograph... but it had largely calmed down from the frenzy that had occured when she first arrived in Inaba. Having the time to reflect on what had led to her being burnt out on the verge of self-destructing was probably the most valuable thing she had... and so she was doing just that, a pink pen moving over the journal she's got propped up on her knees as she sits on the steps leading up to Tatsuhime Shrine. It was a spot that allowed her some level of privacy while also giving her the chance to enjoy the sunlight, a rarity now that the fog had begun to show up on a more regular basis.
Her pigtails blew about her in the breeze as she wrote, her eyes glued onto the page in front of her as she works. Dressed today in a floral print, halter-style top that was done in shades of yellow and orange, she's got on a pair of denim shorts instead of her usual white capris since the last thing she wanted was to get too much dirt on the rear end of her favorite bottoms. Simple white sandals upon her feet, she hummed some song or another she'd heard on the radio to herself as she worked. Empty Spaces, she thought it'd been called-- some hit from the States from years ago. It had been oddly catchy.
I'm not afraid... to go backwards, fix what we broke...
And the more she thought about it? That summed up how she felt about her time in the spotlight. Even now, with her mind ensnared in the past that had nearly broken her... there was a lot more she could learn, and could teach others now that she thought about it. Hopefully, someday, she'd be able to share what she'd learned with the world-- see if she could save some other girl with stars in her eyes and big dreams from the same pitfalls she had stumbled into.
|Akihiko Sanada||Feb 5 2012, 12:27 PM Post #2|
"Do you know where a... Rise is at?"
An older woman he asked gave him an abrupt snort, looking him up and down. She stopped with her piercing eyes glaring acid in his direction as Akihiko's own eyes opened wide in surprise. He never expected such a lady to be so hostile! She quickly mumbled something to the effect of, 'It's been a year! You people just can't ever leave her alone, can you?!' Pushing past him and never answering, Akihiko was left to stand there, wondering what he had just done.
He decided it wasn't worth it to figure it out right now.
Shoving his hands into his pockets in jacket, he continued to trudge down the Central Shopping District, glancing into shops here and there. Every time he mentioned Rise's name, people either pointed to the tofu shop and rolled their eyes saying 'good luck,' or completely blew him off. He stood outside of the tofu shop now, looked through the doorway, saw an older lady, and continued walking. His guess: People thought he was talking about a sixty year-old woman.
He took one last glance around to make sure Rise wasn't nearby as he approached the shrine. Glancing through the gate, he finally saw a familiar sight of red pigtails as she was writing in something in her lap. He debated in speaking to her from the entrance of the shrine, draping his arms across the horizontal posts to keep his distance, but he continued inside, never really good with apologies.
"Hey," just to get her attention. He strolled further in, stopping several feet from her position, yet to look directly at her as he spoke. He was scuffing his shoes along the way, trying to figure out what to say. "I should apologize for my actions. It's... complicated. But..." Was he really sorry in pushing someone away if they had the means to fight? No, he realized, no he wasn't. It'd be one less person he had to worry about in the arena. "...sorry for being... mean." At least that was something he was sorry over. A man of few words though, wasn't he? "You didn't happen to get an invite to an arena, have you?"
|Deleted User||Feb 5 2012, 01:23 PM Post #3|
My gaze falls behind... you make desire seem so easy...
And really? Fame did just that. It was an alluring thing that was all too destructive in the wrong hands... and as much as she had been reluctant to admit it at one point? Her childhood hands had been the wrong ones to try to control it. She'd tried to seize ambition by the blade, and the scars remained-- and they would always be there. In her mind, though, they were what made her a tiger that had earned her stripes, something that was also true of her time in the TV World. She knew that the day would come where she'd need to link the two together, along with tying them both to the rest of her life... but she wasn't entirely sure how to go about it. If she ever published this diary of hers as a memoir, then there'd be a lot of embarrassing stuff that would come out-- and one of those less-than-favorable moments was responsible for that familiar ping in the back of her mind, although she didn't know it for sure until she heard his voice say that one word of greeting.
The former idol let out a faint, shaky breath, finishing the sentence she was writing before she looked up... and what she saw had her blinking a bit in confusion. He'd been so hostile at the Conductor fight, but now he was... why would he be seeking her out? She was understandably hesitant when she spoke, her voice quiet in the peace of the shrine.
Putting the cap on her pen, she stashed it in one of her pockets before she closed her journal, letting it lay flat on her lap as her hands clutched the edge. Her eyes were glued on him, taking in the way he moved. It was... almost adorable, really, how he was scuffing his toe on the ground in front of him like a little boy being forced into saying what he thought. It was also not like him, although what he said next was something that she welcomed with a faint smile. He'd come to apologize to her? She felt her heart begin to put itself back together again, although what he said about things being complicated had her arching a brow.
Don't forget how he apologized, Rise! Her smile widened, a bit of that impish flirtation making a comeback.
"And... I'll forgive you, I guess. I mean... it's not like I haven't flipped out on someone when they didn't deserve it. I don't think anyone hasn't done it, at one point or another. Just... feel lucky that you're so damn handsome."
And there it was... although now? Now there was a more playful edge to it, like she was joking around with him instead of hitting on him. Not that she didn't still want him for herself, more... she was trying to not get her hopes up. They'd been dashed to bits once already, after all-- and she'd rather not have to put them back together again, thankya' very much. The change in topic was one that she went along with, her head canting faintly to one side as she remained sitting. If he wanted to sit beside her, he was more than welcome to it-- but she got the feeling that he wouldn't take an invitation to do so well. When he brings up the arena, she nods.
"Yeah, I got an invite. Mine was..."
Her hand vaguely gestured as she did her best to come up with the right word.
"...different than the ones that the others got, though. Theirs were all about being in the tournament; mine said that my presence was required, but... not as a combatant. What use would I have, though?"
Sighing, she shakes her head.
"I'm trying to not worry too much about it since it means I'll be able to try to use Kanzeon to find out just what's going on with Teddie. He's a..."
This time, she was struggling to find the words to explain just how her Persona worked. Considering how support types were far less common than the combatant types, she knew that he'd likely understand her trying to break things down in a way that he'd understand.
"...a familiar wavelength for me, so I should be able to tap into that and follow it to what's going on."
|Akihiko Sanada||Feb 5 2012, 02:11 PM Post #4|
W...what? She'd forgive him when he didn't even get a chance to say why he did what he did? What was it with the people in Inaba that could so easily throw him off his game? He supposed he could write that off as him not exactly being used to society yet. For a man that lived on his own in nature for as long as he did, the simplest things could be the largest mountains to climb over. Though she threw in the word handsome again. Sigh. It was like high school all over again.
So she got an invite. Akihiko's beginning theory that any person that had a persona was getting an invite was becoming true. Listening as she continued to talk, she wasn't invited as a combatant? Akihiko frowned at that. What did that mean? What was the point of inviting someone to an arena if they weren't going to fight? Though she seemed to know this Teddie and revealed her persona was much like Fuuka's or even Mitsuru's. But at least he didn't have to explain what the arena was.
"The prize for the arena was stolen from my best friend." His frown deepened, wrinkles creasing his brow. "Knowing that, I agreed to enter the arena. But after I ran into someone else I knew," he took in a deep breath, trying to abate the anger in his chest at his own stupidity when chatting with Aigis, "I realized if there was anyone that was going to win, it would have to be me." Rise probably wouldn't understand his meaning behind that sentence as he finally looked at her. "Have you ever thought about the only way to win the arena was to kill the other participants?"
The words flung from his mouth with such weight he was lucky to get them out. But his stern face didn't flinch, even when he thought about having to kill someone with Caesar at his side. "That's why I'm being... difficult, Rise. If I can keep everyone away from the shadows and the arena, they won't fight. I won't have to kill them. It's better for me to push those with personas into thinking they're horrible people that way they don't compete. But I don't like being mean, and I apologize if I hurt your feelings." Rise was young, too young to be treated the way he treated her without any explanation. "Though I hope you realize you haven't been the only one I've lashed out at, so you're not the only one that's... upset, I guess."
He was sure Mitsuru was still very upset with him. But he was also sure no one else could understand the horror of seeing family and friends die at their feet knowing they had a chance to stop it. Mitsuru might have been the closest, but she'd never be capable of truly understanding.
"So I decided to at least explain to those I've hurt as to why I'm doing it, even if I don't know them. Hopefully they, like you, will understand why I'm doing it."
|Deleted User||Feb 5 2012, 02:47 PM Post #5|
To be fair, some of her quickness to forgive came from the crush that still lingered in her mind... although there was also how she'd want someone to do the same for her. Common courtesy, and all that. And of course she threw the word handsome into it-- why wouldn't she? It fit him, after all, and it added a little bit of levity to a conversation that was quickly turning serious. Her hand did subtly pat the step next to her as she watched him grow more and more upset, the redhead wanting to give him a hug... but that would probably go over like a lead balloon, so instead? She tried to put on her big girl panties, in a manner of speaking, and be the support he needed. First up? Dealing with that question that was responsible for his expression turning so dark and brooding.
"It's... something that's come up in the group, yeah. We're still working out what we're going to do about that. I mean, Recarm spells exist for a reason... although no matter how hard I've trained, so far, I haven't figured out the key to casting it myself. I can heal in a sort of... diffuse way, but I need to figure out how to focus it. Yukiko's been helping me with that, although there's only so much she can really do, y'know?"
Falling silent after that, Rise merely watched as she allowed Akihiko to get it all out, to explain what he was doing and why. She could definitely feel for him, not wanting to be put in the situation where he'd have to put an end to someone he cared about in order to win the tournament... but there was something that came to mind that she had to share. Waiting for him to finish saying his piece, she nodded a bit before she spoke, her tone sympathetic.
"That's... wow, that's heavy. But, ah... maybe it's just me, but if someone made me mad and was a jerk to me and there was going to be a tournament where I could kick their face in? That'd just motivate me to want to go and fight even more. I can get where you're coming from-- I mean, no matter how you look at it, chances are good that I'm going to end up seeing a lot of people that I care about getting hurt or... or killed, but..."
There was that vague gesturing again, the words escaping her momentarily in the face of such a life-and-death (literally!) subject... but she found them soon enough.
"...but why didn't you just tell them-- and me-- directly what you were doing? I mean, I'm not going to be fighting at all and you were a jerk to me. I'm not sayin' that you didn't have a reason to be... rattled after that battle, but you-- no, no it's not just you. We both should've been calmer about it and we should've talked about what we each knew."
Nodding to affirm her own point, the idol put her journal aside and stood. This topic was one that required pacing, she was finding out. There was no way that she could just sit down and talk about this any further.
"I mean, I saw you look at me funny when I summoned Kanzeon without that gun-like thingie-- and I thought you were trying to commit suicide, at first, with it. It's obvious there's a lot of pieces missing on both of our sides, y'know?"
God, she hoped she was making sense and not prattling on needlessly...
|Akihiko Sanada||Feb 5 2012, 03:39 PM Post #6|
Akihiko watched Rise's lips move, but her words didn't register in his mind. Her "group" was trying to figure out what to do about... people dying? As if magic could reverse that? As if the blood and gore could easily be fixed by mere training? Akihiko found his fingers screaming in pain as he clutched them into fists. How could someone treat death as if it was something easily fixed? It was as if they didn't take someone killing another person seriously!
"If they want to prove themselves, that's their decision," Akihiko said, trying to calm himself. "They would already know what they'd be dealing with." Him, specifically, in the arena. What he was capable of, what he could do, and what he'd reserve for them in the arena without batting an eye.
He was having troubles now. Not because of Rise, but what was coming to the surface. The very assumption that Rise and her group was taking the act of death so nonchalantly had driven some of Akihiko's memories out of their box. He could still smell the burning smoke and the flames licking his flesh. Her screams, Akihiko! AKIHIKO!, echoing in his ears. God, they'd never understand the savage feeling of impotency in not being able to save his own sister as he and Shinji crawled out of the fire.
Never again would he feel that weak. Not even in the face of killing someone as long as he kept his deal with Mitsuru. And tell them exactly what he was doing? "You wouldn't understand," Akihiko snapped, eyes closed, trying to push away the memories. Now Shinji was coming to the surface, his body weak in his hands after being shot to save Ken. Rise wouldn't understand it was easier to let his aggression out than to simply explain something so personal to someone he didn't know. The very idea of the arena was bringing out the worst in him, making him a monster when he was never one before. He just wanted to close his eyes, rub his palms into his sockets, and erase everything he had seen.
But that was the weakness in him talking. He wasn't allowed to think that. He finally took in a deep breath and opened his eyes, uncurling his fingers as he rubbed life back into them. "I'm apart of SEES; it's a group trained and experienced in fighting shadows. We use evokers to shatter the barriers in our mind to summon our personas. Two years back we ended up stopping the Fall which would have ended the world. We lost too many people we cared for, and this," he swept his hands around him signifying the chaos in Inaba, "is becoming too personal. So tell your 'group' to stay out of the arena."
If her group was anything like her, inexperienced, naive, and too young, then they'd all be in trouble. "Throw the invite away, Rise. SEES will deal with the arena and this Teddie ourselves."
|Deleted User||Feb 5 2012, 04:15 PM Post #7|
Akihiko assumed so much... although Rise couldn't possibly know why. Was she and her friends being naive? Maybe, but to go to cynical extreme that he had taken was far from the right thing to do, either. She knew that he was under a lot of pressure, but he was assuming that he was the only one, that it was all on his shoulders... when he couldn't be further from the truth. For someone that had pursued the truth until she helped to take down a goddess? That wasn't going to fly with her, especially when she could see just how this was going to end for him. Even if he wouldn't listen, she... she had to at least try to save him, to do what she could. Unfortunately for them both, though? She wasn't going to be able to do it calmly... not when he was going right back to that well of condescension that he had just apologized for using mere moments before.
"Really? Because from where I'm sitting, I understand exactly what you're doing. You're trying to take this all on alone, pushing yourself away from everyone else like it's going to help anyone, least of all you! Isn't it painfully obvious that whatever is behind that wants you to do just that?! Whoever's pulling the strings wants that infighting, wants everyone to tear each other apart until there's just... just scraps left!"
Rise stalked right up to him, not caring that they were in a place that was supposed to be meant for peace... or that he could easily snap her over his knee like cordwood. She wasn't going to let him talk down to her like she was nothing but an ignorant child-- not this time.
"Yeah, well, the group I'm talking about doesn't have specialized training or fancy gadgets or any of that mess... but we all had to face ourselves to unlock our Persona. All of us were thrown into the definition of our own personal Hell, a Hell that ultimately took the lives of some of the people that we cared about, too! And if we hadn't gone into Izanami's realm to fight her, then it wouln't just be a pocket of fog here and a bit of fog there-- that would've spread all over the world. And it's not just 'this Teddie', either... he's my friend, and I'm not just gonna sit back and do nothing while you just blindly go in there and try to hurt him! So you know what?"
Her eyes narrowed.
"How about you--"
And then she stopped herself short, taking a few ragged breaths as she looked up at him like she's on the verge of decking him one... but instead? She forces herself to take deeper, slower breaths, actually following her own advice from earlier.
"You know what? No. No, I'm not gonna do that. I'm not going to blow up on you, because that's gonna fix nothing. Neither is treating everyone around you like they're stupid and like they don't know about what you know, for that matter. So how about we just... share what we know, and see what we can come up with?"
..jeez, this being an adult thing was harder than she thought it would be!
|Akihiko Sanada||Feb 5 2012, 05:42 PM Post #8|
She was right. He was pushing people away on purpose. He was trying to do things alone, but that's because he cared too much to people as a whole. But as for their enemy wanting them to tear themselves apart? No, Akihiko didn't see it that way. He saw the enemy wanting friendships to go into the arena and then laugh hysterically as they're forced to kill each other. Why would they want in-fighting now? Wouldn't they wait for that while the arena was being aired?
Rise walked up to him, but Akihiko stood his ground. He wasn't about to flinch away from some adolescent teenager who didn't know how life worked yet. She'd probably been sheltered her entire life, never having to make a decision for herself. Akihiko grabbed the word Izanami--a name he didn't know--and captured it in relation to the fog. Rise continued sputtering on as if friends meant everything now. He recognized that look in her eye. It was the same look Mitsuru glared in his direction when her hand slammed into his face.
He was waiting for it this time, but it never came. She backed up and only asked for information. Such an act caught Akihiko off guard. He knew how to fight with fists--knew when a fist was thrown what it meant. But now that he wasn't going to be hit, he wasn't sure what Rise was aiming at.
"I only know the box contains something that has to do with shadows," Akihiko said, still staring. That was it. There was nothing else. He was just as blind as the rest of SEES as they tried to piece together the puzzle. Sure there were theories, especially when Aigis was concerned, but nothing had panned out. "We're actively patrolling Inaba to keep the cases of Apathy Syndrome down. How many is in your 'group?'"
It was a strange case in knowing there were more personas than just SEES members. How were so many popping up and how did Rise herself become a persona user? There was something he was missing still and he wasn't willing to ask the questions out right. He still didn't know Rise or what her group was about. For all he knew, she could be associated with members of Strega, and then they'd all be screwed.
|Deleted User||Feb 5 2012, 06:16 PM Post #9|
Still with the assumptions... but at this point, the only thing that would prove Akihiko wrong would be seeing a lot of what Rise has seen with his own eyes. Well, either that or for him to just knock it off and stop looking at Rise as nothing but a child when she'd endured more than he knew-- far more than he knew. At this point, though, she's just glad for what little forward progress she's made. The arguing and grandstanding has stopped-- now? Now they could put together the pieces and see what they could figure out before sharing it with their respective groups. Or maybe they could somehow arrange a roundtable with everyone..? That would certainly be effective, but knowing Yosuke, he'd end up turning it all into one big screaming match.
Y'know, like she almost had.
Taking a deep breath to further calm her nerves, she nodded at what he shared... however little it was.
"Something to do with Shadows... mm, I can see why you'd be confused. I have no idea what a box in a city that's a day's train ride away would have to do with what happened here, in Inaba. I guess it could happen, though, since the TV World is so vast-- and also how it's a separate dimension, from what I can tell. Have you actually seen what I'm talking about, or is it just the patches of fog here in town that you've dealt with?"
That's a good question, a fair and solid one to start with-- he had access to all of these other gadgets, so maybe he has a way to get there that she doesn't know about? If that's the case, then that would be invaluable. As for the question he asked, it, too, was fair... which was why she answered it without hesitation. At this point, trust was what they needed to work with-- so she trusted him with the information, hoping that he'd follow suit.
"That's in town? Lessee... me, Yukiko, Chie, Yosuke, Kanji, and Naoto. There's also Yu, who's moved away, and... Teddie, who's got to be in danger if his Shadow is putting out stuff on the Midnight Channel. So eight in total, six still in Inaba right now."
Wait. Teddie's Shadow?! It seemed like Akihiko would have to come out and ask more directly after all.
|Akihiko Sanada||Feb 5 2012, 11:22 PM Post #10|
A separate dimension behind the television? "Just the fog." Even though it sounded completely far-fetched, he couldn't find himself not believing her. After experiencing the Dark Hour for nearly his entire life and battling through Tartarus, there wasn't a lot of things he wouldn't believe. The more Rise kept talking, the more Akihiko stared at her, trying to process everything she said. He wasn't sure if he was following along properly.
She was giving him names, and he didn't recall meeting any of them. Sighing, this wasn't his duty. Mitsuru was the information broker; he was the hired hand--the one that tested the waters and gave a decent estimate as to how difficult an objective could be. This was beyond him. Honestly, he didn't even want to know what Rise meant by Teddie's 'shadow'. It sounded complicated and long winded, and Akihiko really didn't want to fathom having to face his shadow.
Akihiko pinched the ridge of his nose. "You're talking to the wrong person about this." While he could keep up, his state of mind wasn't in the right mode to do so. He couldn't remember the last time he had a decent night of sleep since he arrived. "What you do with your group is your business; what SEES does is ours. As long as we have the same goals, I don't see what the problem will be." Akihiko lowered his hand. "If information is what you want, you're going to have to talk to Mitsuru or Aigis. They'll know more about what's going on than I do."
Realizing he had forgotten something, Akihiko went about plucking the front of his jacket away from him as he slipped his hand inside to pull out a brown bag he had folded within. He was able to purchase something before he arrived since it weighed so much on his conscience. He tossed it to her in a ruffle of paper. "Take it. I tried to match it." Within was a skirt he was embarrassed about buying, but destroying another person's property on purpose wasn't the right thing to do. "And I'll leave you to your thoughts."
He turned around without a word more, making his way back to the entrance of the shrine.
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