Hidden 11 days ago 11 days ago Post by OffshoreAutumn
Raw
GM
Avatar of OffshoreAutumn

OffshoreAutumn

Member Seen 3 hrs ago

"Ren? Ren, are you sure about this?"

Ren's reedy frame shuddered, jolted back into the reality that he was still standing in front of his apartment, the card that had prompted a surge of emotions and fractured memories half-crumpled in his hand. He looked down, glasses steamed from the acrid humidity in the hallway, but still visible through the sauna-like environment was Morgana, tail swishing in curiosity as his head nodded towards the door.

"Come on, let's get inside." With a nod, Ren followed the sound advice, entering his quarters with Morgana's mottled fur rushing up against the leg of his slacks. A blur of black was visible as he took off his glasses, cleaning them on his damp(ish) off-crimson dress shirt before returning them to his face. Morgana paced on the kitchen island, paws clicking on the granite.

"No one knows who we are in Osaka. We picked Osaka JUST for that reason." An aggravated sigh, the cat's sky-blue irises glaring at Ren.
"Well come on, tell me what you're thinking. Don't clam up on me now!" A sardonic chuckle was followed by a reply:
"When I touched the card, I...felt something. Like when I would go to the Velvet Room except...I never left? I don't think?" Morgana's tail stiffened.
"Velvet room, eh?" Ren nodded.
"It was the same feeling of being uncontrollably whisked away, but all I felt was my mind trying to remind me of something...something important. I can't put my finger on it, but I just know whoever left this is someone that I need to see." Ren cast his eyes past Morgana to the ebony leather sofa tucked against the right-hand wall, several pictures hanging right above, each depicting various slices of the past that he never wanted to forget, no matter how painful the reminders might be.
"Do you think it's..." Morgana shook his head.
"No, no, she wouldn't do something like that. She'd just show up." He looked to the pictures as well for a moment, eyes narrowing before turning back to Ren.
"Think Futaba would be able to help figure out...I dunno, where the card was made?" Ren rapped his fingers on the island, then nodded.
"She might be able to get something. I'll send a picture and text her on the way to...wherever this address is." Punching in the address into his nav, he found that the caller wanted to meet at a cafe right on Dotonbori Canal. Odd to want to meet in such a public place, but then again, Ren knew the power of subtlety within chaos. Dotonbori would packed with tourists, drunk salarymen, hawkers and every other kind of distraction imaginable. No one would regard two people talking at a cafe, even with the subject potentially revolving around his past.
"Want me to come?" Ren shook his head.
"Too dangerous a time. Don't need you getting abducted or trampled." Morgana let out a huff.
"Just because I'm not as spry as I used to be doesn't mean I'm an invalid!" Ren half-smiled.
"Guess you can ride with me. Don't be too obvious, though." Having spent most of the day roaming around the alleys and side-streets around Ren's office, the thought of falling asleep in Ren's oversized duffel bag did sound appealing.
"I'll be listening the whole time, though! Whoever this is will have to deal with the both of us."
"Just like always."

Cafe Paris' terrace faced the canal, but also had exit points on either side of the sitting area, giving Ren the perfect area for a discussion with a potentially dangerous individual who knew about his past. His coffee lazily wafted steam, untouched. Sojiro had trained Ren too well when it came to recognizing good coffee, which soured almost any visit to a normal coffee shop. Ren understood why the old man was cranky about sampling other's coffee; it was never as good as his own.

His phone buzzed, Ren glancing at the message from Futaba:

Nothing unusual! Weird, huh? Seeing something like this...let me know how it goes, ok?! I want deets!
With a chuckle, he placed his phone on the table, grateful that Futaba was still a part of his life, as was Sojiro. With his parents as emotionally distant as they were, Sojiro and Futaba were more family than his parents ever were. It had been a few months since he had gone to Yongyen, maybe he should...

He heard footsteps coming onto the near empty terrace, Ren turning his head to see if this would be the mysterious caller.
Hidden 11 days ago Post by FalloutJack
Raw
Avatar of FalloutJack

FalloutJack The Long Dark Nuka-Break of the Soul

Member Online

It was one of those...butterfly kind of feelings, if that makes sense.

You drift off into sleep, your body is floating away, and then suddenly things seem a bit...weird. You're not sure if you're dreaming, or if awake. Your immediate thoughts and surroundings are mired in confusion, as you don't know what to make of them, at first. It wakes an old man with a big nose to set you straight. That's the kind of sensation that card imparted. It wasn't just a message. It was an invitation, an initiation back into those strange times, back then, changing hearts and putting to rights what's wrong. It was a familiar feeling, an uncertainty of the situation, that indication...that things are about to get interesting. Most importantly, though, it was the way to seal the deal and show that this was not a prank or a phan or anything like that. It was real, and that meant it needed to be addressed.

So, he had come here, to the club at Dotonbori Canal, where the nearby running water, the open terraces, and the ceiling fans make an effort to keep its guests cool in this stifling hot evening. He didn't have to wait too long. Anyone pulling Ren out of his apartment with a card like that wouldn't keep him waiting. The footsteps were light, not really giving much away before he looked. As he did though...



You never know what to expect in a situation like this, but in this case... A woman came to the terrace area. Dark hair and eyes of similar color to his own, though her hair went straight down hear her waist instead of his on head's jungle disaster. From this perspective, it was hard to tell, but either she had an inch on him in height, or perhaps the other way around. Slim and built, wearing a loose shirt and pants that would breathe in this heat, she looked like she trained, as she was very fit, and very easy on the eyes.

As Ren laid eyes on her, though, there was something else: A flicker in his vision, a faint image of a younger - but siimilar - figure, in like a racing jumpsuit and helmet? It began to fade as the helmet was pulled off and a mane of black hair cascaded down. It was her. He knew her, but he didn't know her. It was one of those tip-of-your-tongue things. It was there in his head, somewhere. More than deja vu evoking the idea of something happening before, he was sure of it...but knew not why. The most important factor was that the memory felt exactly like the card. This was his caller, no question.

All of this processed in the few seconds it took to look him over, for her to be satisfied that she herself had the right person. Her wait had been longer, in more ways than one. Stepping into the terrace proper and taking a seat across from him, the woman addressed Ren in a familiar fashion, not like a stranger, at all.

"Sorry if I kept you waiting. The coffee in this place is alright, but you have to ask for anything special to be done to it, and it takes a little while to fill the order."

She said this, looking down at the cup she had brought with her, paralleling his own. It was a little more up to the Sojiro standard, by the smell of it. At least, it was an attempt by the Cafe Paris employees to make it so. She regarded the pair of cups for a moment, processing something only known to her, along with the look she'd receive upon walking in here. Then, she lifted her gaze over to Ren, as though searching for some hint across the table, looking for indicators of reaction as she spoke on.

"It's been a long time, though...you don't remember me, do you?"

It wasn't that she was so much as disappointed as...possibly expecting it, maybe prepared for it? Her eyes wandered now to the nearby bag, then, and she added...

"Either of you."
Hidden 10 days ago Post by OffshoreAutumn
Raw
GM
Avatar of OffshoreAutumn

OffshoreAutumn

Member Seen 3 hrs ago

Her entrance left Ren with an odd taste in his mouth, coppery and sweet. His mind was racing to try and put together the shards of memory that were strewn about in his subconscious, summoning his mental might to put a name to the face that sat across from him. Upon her question, he parted his lips, ready to answer before they closed at her mentioning of Morgana. His initial instinct was to reach down and quell the potentially shifting Morgana, but instead, he unzipped the top of the bag, allowing for the supernatural feline to poke his head out of the bag, eyes narrowing. No use in hiding it now; besides, the cafe terrace didn't have any others occupying it and there were no wait staff to trouble him about having an animal in his bag.
"Don't say anything." He mumbled, casting a glance at Morgana, who most certainly wanted to, but instead twitched his ears, looking intently at their coffee partner. Ren turned his attention back to the woman, her seemingly soft, yet inquisitive gaze prompting far too many questions for his liking. Instead of asking them all at once, Ren sat up in his chair and told her quietly:
"Quite a way to get my attention." He shifted, grimacing slightly from the sweat that was beginning to pool on the upper part of his back.
"I would say I'm flattered you knew who I was, but I find myself more...troubled than anything else." He pushed the coffee a couple of inches away from him.
"Troubled simply because you know who I am, but I don't know who are you. Your face, your clothing, even the way you sit...I feel like..." He shook his head.
"I feel like I know you. That I should know you from something very important." He swore under his breath.
"If you know anything about me, you'll know that this is an occurrence that comes up far too often in my life." Morgana shot Ren a sympathetic look before returning to glare at the new-comer.
"So in short: no, I don't know you and I'd appreciate you telling me who you are before we carry forward in our conversation."
Hidden 10 days ago Post by FalloutJack
Raw
Avatar of FalloutJack

FalloutJack The Long Dark Nuka-Break of the Soul

Member Online

She knew that he'd treat this with suspicion, but...not like this. This wasn't merely Ren Amamiya she was talking to, right now, but rather Joker, and Joker was treating this a little like a Hold Up sort of moment. That bothered her, and he could see that she hadn't expected a reaction quite like that. She had to accept it, though. As soon as she'd exposed particular knowledge of his past, including the presence of Morgana, it was undoubtedly going to be more of an interrogation than a conversation. So bet it. She was prepared to face that. Firming her gaze into something more serious, she replied "Alright, then.", and began.

"My name is Ryoko Yumekishi. I was born not too far from here, actually. I'm heavy into psychology, and I like foreign culture. Most importantly, though, I have a Persona and access to the Unconscious World, or what you termed as the Metaverse."

There it was, then. Not only a name to the face, but a clear-cut reason for why he should know her, and vice versa. She confirmed that this was not a mere social call, but something bridged upon that aspect of his life that was simultaneously the most interesting and most dangerous. More to the point, there was no beating around the bush that she specifically knew him, that they had met and talked and potentially worked together. One thing was for certain, though. This all had the hint of familiarity, but again it was under a pile of dirt, waiting to be excavated. So far, she was only confirming suspicions, but it seemed clear that she had details, that she could and would clear this up for him. Or else, why even invite him? Ryoko continued.

"I'd always worried you wouldn't remember back then, partly because you had alot on your plate, but mostly because we didn't meet under any normal circumstance. Seven years ago, you were living far from here and not by choice, and that was when you were attacked in your sleep."

Another flicker, all too brief, when she said he was attacked. Just a mass, a gray liquid mass - shifting and massive - filled with huge drowned corpses. It was a nightmare creature, a midnight horror that defies understanding or reason...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"You were attacked by the Dreamer."




It came from the grayed-out edges of his memory in the midst of his slumber. Whatever he was dreaming about abruptly ceased. In the real world, he might've turned in his sleep, disturbing Morgana, but nothing more than that. However, inside was a different story. Inside, his Phantom Thieves outfit appeared on him, and he knew without question that he needed to defend himself. A gelatinous wall of horror lay before him, spreading its mass around to try and surround him. The mass was filled with drowned corpses with sunken faces in terror, too large to be even remotely normal. And somewhere in the midst of all that, the presence of thought and desire to crush him - to eat him - was in there, as well. The surface of it all gave way to glowing eyes, terrible ragged teeth made of bones, and even a...smell?

"You were attacked in your dreams by a creature which feeds off of them, feeds off of YOU,
but unlike the other victims in its path, you could defend yourself."
Hidden 9 days ago Post by OffshoreAutumn
Raw
GM
Avatar of OffshoreAutumn

OffshoreAutumn

Member Seen 3 hrs ago

"Yumekishi...Ryoko..." The name rolled off of his tongue far too easily for his liking, as if it were a part of his core. Her explanation only complicated the now seething vortex of thoughts within his mind. He wanted so desperately to remember, but something was fighting his recollection, pushing his memories further down into the recesses of his subconscious. It wasn't until she made the point about their journeying through dreams that a rush of emotion flooded up into the conscious, a grey, destructive wall of macabre standing between him and the sudden implosion of the dreams of mankind.

He attacked it furiously, whipping and lashing with his dagger, firing off his pistol, unleashing every possible ounce of magical energy he could from the Personas that served him, yet the wall continued to regenerate, to reform and undulate forward. Joker could feel the hunger seething out of the creature, the outstretched arms of those consumed hoping, wishing that he too would join them in the belly of the beast. It was at that moment when he felt a twinge of familiarity, a loud shout of triumph as bolts of lightning cascaded down onto the wall, followed by the crackling of ice and the burning inferno that only hellfire could produce. His teammates, his friends had come to help him, just as they said they would next time Joker encountered the devourer of dreams. It retreated, temporarily, only for-

Breathing heavily, Joker's line of sight returned to the present, where Ryoko sat, her eyes seeming to wonder whether or not he had remembered. Regardless of his perceptions, he had indeed remembered...something. Something dreadful, that he truly wanted to forget. He sighed, looking at the soft, lapping waters of the canal, pleasure boats cruising past lazily in the stifling August air.
"You were the one who told me about the...devourer? Dreamer?" He shook his head.
"I don't remember what it was called, but I remember what it looked like, the threat it represented to people not just in Japan, but everywhere around the world." He slumped back in his chair.
"Ryuji, Ann, Yusuke...they were there, too. I found them in their...something, somehow, and they came to help." He tilted his head.
"But our relationship goes deeper than that, doesn't it?" Morgana's ears were perked straight up, eyes locked on Ren.
"Why didn't I know about this?" He asked a bit too loudly for their current surroundings, but Ren chose to ignore the comment, willing to explain to Morgana how he was excluded from this particular adventure of his past life.
"Regardless of our past...affiliation, why are you coming to me now? If you know as much about me as I believe you do, you know that the Thieves are a relic of the past." It stung for him to describe his former team that way, but they hadn't been a "team" in seven years. Life tends to dissolve bonds very quickly.
Hidden 9 days ago Post by FalloutJack
Raw
Avatar of FalloutJack

FalloutJack The Long Dark Nuka-Break of the Soul

Member Online

It would only retreat for a time, because it had sensed power, and once it had gathered new strength from elsewhere, it would definitely return for a rematch. The strange thing of it was that he had found himself among friends to easily, instantly brought to his awareness, like a Persona. Were they simply that good, or had his power actually summoned them. He found himself in the Metaverse, it seemed, once the Dreamer had retreated, in a simple park area. And after the creature cleared out, so too had his friends, and in their place was a new figure...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That was where she had appeared, wearing that black-and-orange racer outfit, and a helmet with red backlighting. She'd been standing there with a Persona active, but it faded shortly after the Dreamer's departure, indicating that she wasn't a part of the problem, but rather the solution. Here in the present, Ren started to piece this together, but it was not completely formed yet. A small island of recollection had formed from the depths of the ocean in his mind, but that was all. He needed more, but he also needed the reason for why she came to him, here and now. Ryoko had briefly turned her attention to Morgana before Ren pressed on, the seriousness on her face breaking for a moment as she was met with another familiar face, but she kept on with the conversation at hand.

"You may not have donned your coat and mask for seven years, but that doesn't mean things stop happening in the world. Believe me, I wish it were that simple, and that this were just a social call, but it's not. More than my own wish for you to remember, Ren, I need you."

Amidst the seriousness of their discussion, there was a definite look on her face, the confirmation that she didn't just know him, but knew him well. That familiarity he sensed between them kept surfacing, and in those last words he could see not only a cry for help, but that there was so much more. He wasn't simply Joker to her, an ally to be called upon, but the one she would turn to - first and always - in a crisis, the one her trust and faith went to, and maybe even...

"I don't know what happened to you or the others in the past seven years. When we finally tracked down the Dreamer to its lair, we were all hit with a fog that made the memories fade. You, your friends, and even I was affected. The only thing keeping us rooted was Morpheus' power."

Morpheus, the god of dreams, and also...the name of her Persona.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Persona had been this pale figure with a wild shock of black hair, and eyes filled with blackness and starlight, like a universe. It was a gaunt and eternal sort of man, an unending existence, clad in a dark cloak or tunic with one shoulder bare. It faded as she revealed herself to him, a girl maybe a couple of years his senior, maybe an inch over his height.

"Sorry if I startled you there. I felt your battle with that thing and had to intrude here in order to help. Morpheus was the one that called your friends, brought them here to help thanks to your call. He manifests one's thoughts and dreams into the Unconscious World."

She stepped forwards, but not too close, because she understood that he had no reason to trust her, as of yet.

"Let me be clear on something. Right now, you're dreaming all of this, but more importantly, it's lucid dreaming, the state of being aware of the dream and being in control of it. You're not dreaming me, and that thing wasn't any part of your subconscious either. We're both real. I need you to remember that, so it can't take you unawares."

She was being completely serious here, keeping him informed for his own good so he doesn't let his guard down in the future. She didn't believe that he would. He seemed rather strong, and the bond he shared with his friends was equally strong.

"I call that creature the Dreamer, or the devourer OF dreams. It's feeding on people's minds, using their imagination to gain strength. Morpheus gives me the chance to fight fire with fire, but that alone isn't cutting it. I need to destroy it, or this will never end."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She looked into his eyes, searching for the signs of recognition from the one she put all her hopes and trust and yes even affection in before. She wanted him to remember, but at the same time knew that recalling without context or understanding was as unsettling as telling an amnesiac to their face what kind of person they were in the past.

"I've been in recovery. It took me time, even with my Persona, to get it all back. The first thing I wanted to do was find you, but that wasn't easy, and when I DID find you...your mind was still healing. I can help you remember, but the truth is that I come to you now because I found the man who created the Dreamer."
Hidden 4 days ago Post by OffshoreAutumn
Raw
GM
Avatar of OffshoreAutumn

OffshoreAutumn

Member Seen 3 hrs ago

Flashes of emotions intermingled with unfamiliar nostalgia flitted across his conscious memory. Feelings of crossing across dream spaces, gliding across subconscious desires, slitting his dagger through the defenses of those who were willingly feeding the creature that jointly threatened the world along with the god of control-

Ren jolted back in his chair, head nearly whipping backward.
"Ren!" Morgana hissed, ready to jump onto his companion's lap to check and see if his heart was beating out of control, but Ren waved him off, taking a slow exhale before he gave Morgana a reassuring smile, turning to Ryoko, the smile morphing into a pensive half-frown.
"What you're saying is...true. I can feel it." He shifted once again in his chair, elbows gently resting on the table, coffee jostling in the porcelain mug.
"But you have to understand something, Ryoko: my time as a thief has come and gone." He chuckled sardonically, motioning to the illuminated bustle of Dotonbori.
"We fought with all we had to make sure people's hearts were safe, their desires intact and also, apparently, their dreams stable-" A throbbing pierced his temples, jaw clenched as the momentary agony came and went.
"What was that..." He mumbled to himself, looking to Ryoko apologetically.
"Happens every so often. Maybe a side effect from being in people's heads for so long." A slight chuckle before he continued:
"I remember far too much of my time as a thief, so the opportunity to remember even more isn't exactly what I'm looking for right now." Morgana frowned, poking his head out of the bag as his whiskers twitched, feline mouth opening slightly, then closing.
"Even if this 'Dreamer' monster/thing had an origin point and you somehow discovered who made it, why don't you deal with it yourself? You don't need me for anything other than maybe back-up." Morgana hissed at end of the sentence, but didn't follow up with a barb. He knew the subject was well-trodden ground that Ren had refused to budge on for at least two years, ever since she left.
"Sorry to have wasted your time with a meeting like this." He shook his head, taking a sip of the coffee and instantly regretting it, setting the cup back down.
"I am curious, though: what did you think would happen when you showed up? That I'd jump back into duty? That I would feel obligated to go back to the old ways of doing things?" He snorted.
"Even with all the work that the Thieves and I did, all that we sacrificed, things continued to go on like they always had. Fighting against it is...tiring."
Hidden 4 days ago 23 hrs ago Post by FalloutJack
Raw
Avatar of FalloutJack

FalloutJack The Long Dark Nuka-Break of the Soul

Member Online

This wasn't good. The Ren she knew was never one for biting cynicism. He was a caring individual who stepped between the serious and the ability to crack a joke to break the tension. It was a more innocent time, it seems, even with the threat of people's minds on the line, because as the boy became a man, something had changed. Perhaps he felt it was all entirely futile to try and change the world through people's hearts. Ryoko never believed so. She had met him when the Phantom Thieves only numbered in five. She had called Ryuji Sakamoto, Ann Takamaki, and Yusuke Kitegawa the first night, learning more about them along with Morgana later on. Indeed, as the hunt began, she eventually learned about them all, though...it didn't take a psychoanalysis to tell that something was up with Goro Akechi.

Right now, the boy's enthusiasm was gone and the man before her was not interested in the call to action. The flinch of pain he'd had there wasn't helping, either. He believed her, but he wasn't interested in helping her. It...was disheartening to hear him talking like this. Clearly, there'd been a falling out of some kind, owing to a disagreement perhaps on their actions as the Phantom Thieves. Ryoko could see that, clear as day, even without Morgana's obvious disapproval. She wanted to ask the not-a-cat directly on this, but didn't want to double-team Ren on this without knowing how it would turn out. When he asked her what she expected out of him, it almost sounded like an attack, like he wanted her to give up, as well. She couldn't do that, no matter what. That man created the Dreamer, and he had much more than simply that. He had to be stopped.

"My worst fears had been of me finding you, but learning that your powers had faded completely. That, at least, was mercifully untrue. Even still, I'd hoped that you would be on board for the same reason none of you quit halfway. I wasn't there for your worst foes, but I saw reality change, just as everybody else did, and I retained cognizance, after the fact, though everybody else had seemingly forgot. I knew, just as we had overcome the Dream, that you defeated something greater and more threatening."

She gave the cafe a look now.

"Changing hearts one person at a time may feel like an uphill battle, but you have to admit that if you didn't, someone or something would've killed us all. I believe you fought to keep the world turning instead of spiraling out of control. A hard task, but necessary."

Ryoko's eyes gave off the sign that she was reviewing it in her mind: The good, the bad, saddeness, and the joy. It was easier for Morgana to see at this angle that she was kind of hurt by this, not because of what Ren had said, but because of the state he was in. She returned her gaze to the man across her and followed up her statement.

"For me, it was always about keeping people alive, and you know that I didn't have enough power alone to take down the Dreamer. That's why I asked for your help then. My Persona can't do everything, no matter how versatile it might be. Your abilities were stronger, and the bond you had with your friends allowed us to recruit their subconscious selves at will. If we didn't do the task in front of us, the creature would've glutted itself on countless many and left braindead husks in its path. I would rather not have had to put my life, my soul, and my mind on the line, but sometimes there's no alternative."

She sighed now, worried that this was exactly the reception she would get from the others, or worse. She didn't know them consciously like she did Ren. They would've thought they were dreaming, the whole time. Except maybe Futaba. Her skills might've given her more retention of mind, in this case. This situation wasn't as bad as it could get, but it wasn't in a good place, clearly.

"Listen, I guess I understand if you aren't up for it, but will you at least let me have a look at whatever's causing that pain? That...didn't seem right, to me."
Hidden 24 hrs ago Post by OffshoreAutumn
Raw
GM
Avatar of OffshoreAutumn

OffshoreAutumn

Member Seen 3 hrs ago

Ren shook his head, the half-frown morphing into narrowed eyes and lips thinning into agitation.
"I'm getting tired of you telling me what I supposedly felt, did..." He grimaced, another jagged bolt of pain crossing through his skull and down his spine.
"But if you are...telling the truth..." He suppressed the urge to shout as yet another burst of agony cascaded down his spine and into the small of his back, nearly forcing his upper body forward.
"And I did...help you, then you've...piqued my curiosity." The pain from the back to back incidents subsided and, for the moment, he felt normal. A part of him wanted to recant his expression of interest almost immediately now that he was somewhat lucid, but those spikes of pain had only come on when he had wracked his brain searching for the supposed experiences Ryoko had informed him of. If he really wanted to figure out why she had approached him, the validity of the claims and, selfishly, the cause of the sudden aches, he needed to work with her, albeit temporarily. He paused for a few moments, eyes cast on the neon signs across the river, breathing lightly. Silence passed between the duo before he spoke quietly:
"I don't think it would be wise for you to go through any kind of examination process out here."
"She can come back with us!" Morgana delightedly exclaimed, dark blue eyes shifting from Ren to Ryoko, whiskers twitching in excitement. For the supernaturally created cat-being, this represented the first time in a while that there was SOMETHING happening in their lives that involved the Thieves, even if it was at the expense of his friend.
"That was awfully eager of you." He shot a half-teasing glare at Morgana, who ducked his head back into the bag as he proclaimed:
"Onward, to home!" Ren couldn't help but laugh.
"As the cat says, we do. Follow me."

Ren's apartment was housed in one of the many white-washed, sterile high-rises that stood near Osaka station. Not only was he happy about how close he was to the station to visit...well, fewer people than years ago, but it was also a place where he and Morgana could blend in. Neighbors were barely seen, let alone interacted with, and the walls were soundproof enough to where one could easily find themselves doubting that anyone else lived in the building at all. The lack of personality was less apparent in Ren's apartment, wherein Ryoko would see a few trinkets on a bookshelf, books on a host of subjects and several photos mounted on the right hand wall of the Thieves she should have recognized. As Ren closed the door behind them, he asked:
"So what exactly do you plan on doing to examine the pain?" After Morgana leapt out of Ren's bag, the cat followed up:
"I'm curious myself! How can you diagnose Ren's pain so easily? DO you have experience with this kind of thing?"

________

...When your brain goes numb, you can all that mental freeze...

Left kick. Right uppercut.

What you know about rollin in the deep...

Jab. Jab. Cross. Cross.

I feel like...

"Ann? Ann?!"

Taking an earbud out of her left ear and allowing the training mannequin a respite from her onslaught, Ann Takamaki turned to face the source of the voice, her lithe frame dripping with sweat. She took a couple of breaths, wiping a few droplets off of her brow before smiling widely, speaking in slightly accented English:

"Hey, Roan! What's up?" Roan Atkins, a burly man of about 40-ish, chuckled as he motioned to the training dummy.
"You were putting in some focused work. Good for you."
"Just doin what you showed me! It's done WONDERS for the toning in my arms and legs." She winked and flexed her arms, slight protrusions of muscle jutting upward. Roan clapped, laughing as he responded:
"Well don't get too worked up tonight. You've got shoots on the coast all next week, so we'll need you limber, not sore."
"You got it, chief!" Ann titled her head slightly.
"There's something else, isn't there..." Roan nodded.
"There was a request that came in from Tokyo. I know how..."
"No."
"Ann, Japan is a burgeoning market and you need to go ba-" Ann turned around.
"See you tomorrow morning, Roan."

Left hook. Right hook.

Hands held, head on his shoulder, looking at the sunset...

Will it ever get better than this?

What about children? Maybe?

Model! I'll be your manager slash lover.

I'll follow you to the ends of the earth.

Ends of the earth.


Right kick. Left haymaker.

Jaw clenched.

Hidden 22 hrs ago Post by FalloutJack
Raw
Avatar of FalloutJack

FalloutJack The Long Dark Nuka-Break of the Soul

Member Online

It was always going to be difficult, trying to convince a man who doesn't remember what he did that he did it. Imagine a victim of abuse, traumatized to the core, who has committed murder in self-defense. Even if they were acquitted of the offense, who wants to admit that that ever happened? Who wants to expose themselves to the pain? Admittedly, the hunt for the Dreamer was definitely no vacation, but as much as it was a danger...there was also a joy, not to mention a certain satisfaction in having defeated the thing. Right now, though, it was more than just personal letdowns. Something was wrong. Both her and Morgana must've seen it. He knew Ren better than she did, and she...well...she knew him well enough. The pains were getting worse. Something was legit throttling his concentration. It looked like a concerted effort to agree to at least let her help him. They couldn't do it here, like he said, though.

"Your choice, then. Lead the way."

That was when Morgana shouted the idea of taking this to their place. Ryoko smiled slightly at his input, quietly thanking him for his help. They would leave without drinking their coffee. It just wasn't up to their standard. Now, whatever means of transport Ren had, Ryoko's definitely stood out more. Outside the cafe was a car that definitely stood out in Japan. It was a black-and-red Ford Mustang resemblant somewhat of the one used in Starman. Japanese license plate in back, vanity plate up front: 'HAMRHED'. Even approaching it, both Ren and Morgana would've felt some kind of connection to the Metaverse, like the calling card or...something else. It was no matter. They would head off and soon reach their destination: Ren's apartment.

The inside was not entirely unexpected. As Ryoko entered, she found herself nodding to herself about how it all seemed familiar to her. She knew about the room above LeBlanc, how it was about as sparse in decor, except for what could be added in the year of his parole. Like all the real Phantom Thieves - Yup, there they are. Futaba making a goofy face, Ryuji cheesy grin, Yusuke doing that portrait thing he does with his fingers... - Ryoko had heard about the man who tried to destroy his life with false witness testamony. The last time they'd spoken, it was almost a month from when they'd destroyed the Dreamer. Haru's Psychokinesis had been like a resounding cannon to the thing. Everything after that time...was a reminder of why it was good to be alive. But around the time they were investigating a Shadow to clear their name of the Okumura incident, Ren told her that he needed to focus on this, because he was exposing the traitor in their midst, and he told her never to invade his subconscious, because he would try to kill her, or worse. She agreed, and left him...

Without her presence, the effect of the Dreamer's last strike took hold...and Ren forgot...

Back here, in the present, the nostalgia was starting to get to her emotionally, and she stifled it, for now. Just because he might remember didn't mean he... Well, anyway, she had walked in with them, Morgana now able to walk freely. He had changed too. Regardless of his status as a being, he still had the body of a cat. The body was aging... That was a sad thing in of itself. Morgana deserved better. No time for that now, though. They wanted to know how she planned to handle this. Very well.

"I've been through countless minds via their subconscious. The medium has always been the Metaverse, because that place was always a subconscious landscape formed of human thought."

She regarded the blue-eyed animal that denied being a cat with some respect.

"Morgana, you taught me all the things I couldn't learn in a psychology book, but there were some things where that knowledge applied. You accessed the Palace of Shadows, I stepped into a mental landscape, the mind of a human being, through the back door which connects to every mind."

Pulling out her phone, a symbol not unlike the Metaverse Navigator was present. It was blue, though...

"I can access the normal aspects of the Metaverse via the Nav, but the Dreamscape function is almost akin to your Palace searches. If you know enough about a guy or if there's been some sort of damage, access granted. It was originally one of the powers I gained from Morpheus, but I made it a little more user-friendly after I met Futaba."

She gave Ren a more serious look, now.

"The point is that I can enter anyone's mind, even forcefully if I was of a mind to do so. I won't do that to you, or anybody else. The only thing I ever wanted to do with my studies and my talents was help people. If I enter your mind, I don't know what I'm gonna find this time around, but I'll never do anything like him. I can take Morgana with me, if you're not sure, but for obvious reasons, I'd prefer it if you didn't try coming in yourself. Your power has always been incredible, but I don't know what state your mind is in to handle a Futaba Paradox. Let your subconscious be our guide, like the first time we met. We'll seek out the source of the pain and see if it's something I can clear up."
↑ Top
© 2007-2017
BBCode Cheatsheet