0
followers
follow

Shizuka Hibiki

<JUNGLE> King

0 · 371 views · located in Tokyo, Japan

a character in “K Project; Fall Of The Grey King”, as played by CabbageAngel

Description

X







X







x







X







X
X







X







x







X







X
Imageแƒป
แƒป
แƒป
แƒป
แƒป
แƒป
แƒป
แƒป
แƒป
แƒป
แƒป
แƒป
แƒป
แƒป
Shizuka Hibiki

Nickname(s)
Age
Gender
Clan
Role
Ethnicity
Birth Date
Sexuality
โ™ข| J
โ™ข| Eighteen
โ™ข| Female
โ™ข| Green
โ™ข| Green King
โ™ข| Japanese
โ™ข| March 16th
โ™ข| Heterosexual











Hibiki is the successor to the retired Green King. Despite being the King for nearly two years now the clan has never seen her face or know anything about her and whether she even is a 'her'. She goes by the codename "J" and communicates to her clan through encrypted messages. She works as a freelance programmer/hacker for hire on the side and manages the inconspicuously named <JUNGLE> hangout, The Jungle, a nightclub staffed and dominated by her clan. And by manage I mean watch the security footage from her own apartment and give instruction via radio. The only person to meet with her is her Right Hand, who recently had to be replaced as she was one of the many victims in the string of murders happening, and even then she hides her face and uses a voice manipulator.

POWERใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€XXAGILITYใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€XXCHARISMAใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€
Image
Hibiki stands at 5'9'', or rather, she would if she didn't slouch her shoulders and always hunch over. She's awkwardly lanky with feet and hands that are just a little too big for her and her nails are jagged and uneven, some being bitten down until they bled. She's very thin and bony with not much to say in the curves department which along with her boyish facial structure leads people to believe she's male, and it doesn't help that she purposefully trained her voice to sound masculine. Despite how brittle she seems, she has definite lean muscles - she doesn't just sit around in her room, she owns a punching bag she uses to train and she goes for runs every morning. She's deathly pale from staying indoors despite going outside every day, as when she goes outside she's so covered up with her hoodie and turtleneck that the sun can't worm its way through to her skin even then. Her eyes are a dangerous red and always have dark circles beneath them and her hair is long, stringy and green. She never wears makeup and would really be quite an attractive girl if she just looked after herself properly.

Her wardrobe mostly consists of baggy, skin covering clothes that are slightly too big for her and no dresses, skirts or heels. She usually is wearing her favourite purple hoodie, red turtleneck jacket, jeans and green sneakers. Another thing notable about her appearance is that she always has something in her mouth, usually bubblegum or her own knuckles and more recently cigarettes. Her late Right Hand smoked and ever since her death she's been attempting to pick up the bad habit but just can't seem to stomach it.
ARTใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€XXINTELLIGENCEใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€XXBEAUTYใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€
Image
Loves:
    Being shrouded in mystery | "If <JUNGLE> really knew their king was some teenage shut-in, they'd never take me seriously. It's the nature of hackers to keep to the shadows, anyways. I don't enjoy it, it has to be done." She lies. She loves not being in the public eye.
    Showing off | "It's not my fault that I'm better with technology and the most powerful <JUNGLE> member. Every time I use my skills in front of someone I'm going to be showing off to some extent, it's not like I mean to." Once again, she's lying. She enjoys showing up people because of her own issues with feeling inept.
    Pranking, trolling and generally messing around with people | "Sometimes when people are exposed to things they don't understand, for example my phasing ability, they can have difficulty comprehending what just happened. It's not that I take joy in the faces people make when their minds are blown." Why you always lying.
    Roleplaying | "Egh... everyone wants to be someone else somewhat, I'm not excluded in that respect."
    Yaoi | "..."

Hates:
    Public speaking | "*too frozen in quiet fear to provide a quote*"
    Flirting | "If someone is flirting with me they're either stupid, being rude or both."
    Honesty | "I don't - honesty is a value, isn't it? Only bad people hate values." The truth: Something in her dies whenever people honestly voice their opinions about her or anything she feels strongly towards but the worse is having to be honest herself, either to herself or to other people (especially when it's about... feelings...).
    Interruptions | "You know when you're doing something, then you have to do something else, then you can't get back into what you were doing?"
    Pretty much everything about her life since Naomi kicked the bucket | "Tch... such a casual way to put it."
โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹
Imageโ– Trait

โ– Recluse
Hibiki doesn't cope with eyes on her. The only person allowed to directly communicate with her is her Right Hand and since Naomi is dead she had to choose a new one, which she definitely did not choose by putting names in her hoodie and pulling one out. ... That person feels like a stranger to her and strangers to her are serial killers she hasn't met yet, which is probably why that when they meet in the VIP room of The Jungle she wears a box over her head and straps a voice manipulator to her neck. The box has one badly cut out eyehole and "J" written on it in permanent marker as well as a plastic crown balancing precariously on top of it. She only goes out for her morning jog and grocery run and pulls her hood over her head and keeps her turtleneck covering her chin and won't speak. She doesn't have to leave her apartment at all really because her jobs can be done at home. Her residence is a secret from her clan and if someone knocks at her door she'll hide until they go away. She prefers the company of animals to people, but every cat she's ever had ran away (probably to Alastair's doorstep) and every rat and hamster was an escapologist. Even her siamese fighting fish opted to jump out of its bowl rather than spend its life as Hibiki's not-so-cuddly companion.


โ– Lazy Genius
Hibiki is ridiculously intelligent and didn't have to try to be. A child prodigy, she flunked high school because despite having a photographic memory and passing her tests with flying colours she couldn't be bothered to put in the time to do her homework and assignments and would just sleep in class with her headphones in, being exhausted from staying up all night playing games or leaking information that corrupt officials would kill to keep secret from the public. Well, that's when she was IN class, which was pretty much where she spent 7% of her schooling years. The other 93% she was ditching to avoid people. Yeah... that's probably why she flunked.


โ– Social Disaster
"Ergh" is Hibiki's trademark. "Ergh" and the occasional grunt and shrug. Her conversations have to be planned otherwise they don't exist. When conversing with her Right Hand, she has what she has to say written down in a notebook and she will be awkwardly reading what it says from underneath her cardboard box. A dozen different responses to his different reactions are written down also and she has painstakingly predicted the different ways the conversation can go and has written them out script style, just in case. She didn't have to do this with Naomi, who was in the process of teaching her to use her words without reading them off a piece of paper. In a fight, while people are quipping back and forth with hilarious one liners, she'll be the one who's kicking ass in silence.


โ– Dishonest
It doesn't help that whenever she is on her own without her notepad everything that comes out of her mouth is a compulsive lie. Hacking isn't the most honest of livelihoods, sure, but whether they're little white lies that cover up absolutely nothing or major ones concerning her ideals and image, she lies to herself and everyone that comes close. Perhaps it's habit, or a defence mechanism. The truth is she has multiple layers that need breaking through. Her decision to keep her identity secret even from <JUNGLE> is frowned upon by her own clan, she's changed her name so many times she doesn't remember the name she was born with, her current name is masculine and her looks are ambiguous enough without her never bothering to correct or confirm the pronouns people use for her. Everything about her is a secret and she wants to keep it that way. Don't let her keep it that way.

โ– Stubborn
And I don't mean stubborn in the way of, "I will stand for what I believe in!" stuff. Pride is a deciding factor to how stubborn she can be. When she makes a decision she will defend it no matter what and convince herself she did well no matter how dismal things become. An example of how stubborn Hibiki can be on account of her pride is that she's lied to herself until she's rewritten her memories to convince herself that she made the right decision nine years ago.

โ– The secret Hibiki...
Nobody knows how she rolls around her fold up mattress, blushing furiously and silently screaming while she clutches her BL manga to her chest when her OTP finally kiss. Nobody knows that she once held her umbrella out for a dozen ducklings and helped them cross the busy street to their mother, getting completely soaked in the process and not once considering that ducks are pretty much down with getting wet. Nobody knows that what someone considers a simple wink is a thousand arrows to her heart that leaves her twitching and bleeding out on the floor (the REAL reason why she hates people flirting with her so much). Nobody knows that her real voice sounds like what fairy floss and cake frosting would sound like if they had a voice baby (something only revealed if you hear her sneeze) and how her singing sounds like someone rubbing two balloons and a triangle together and nobody, NOBODY knows how she spent an entire morning remaking the shell of a snail she accidentally stepped on while tiptoeing her way to the letterbox. And ESPECIALLY nobody knows how she set her snazzy snail up on a snail date to see if his awesome new shell would get him points with the lady snails. But of all the things nobody knows about... not even Naomi knew that she's the secret author of the popular blog I Really Hope We Don't Crash in which she poses as a girl named Ujiko and talks about all the secret things nobody knows about her.

Your challenge is to try and break through to the secret Hibiki! Good luck, you're going to need it.


I'm here.



Note: While it appears that Hibiki is pretty damn high in Power and Intelligence - she is the most powerful, but isn't as experienced as using those powers in combat as the likes of Alastair, Kita and well pretty much everyone. She usually just phases through the flying fists while thinking of ways to get herself out of there asap. For intelligence, she lacks any sort of emotional intelligence and has trouble reading people.


โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹
ImageWhen the Green King, Akiyama Ryuu, went into retirement, somebody simply named 'J' was announced his successor... problem was, nobody knew who the heck this guy was. There had been rumours that there had been a shadow following them and helping them out discretely (under the codename, 'I'm Here') but until then it had never been properly confirmed that another high ranking member existed, or as some people speculated, Ryuu's trump card. It was told to them by Ryuu's Right Hand, Yamauchi Naomi, that J was his adopted child and had been trained secretly because of the child's... personal reasons. Obviously that sort of explanation did not stand and people did rise to challenge J's authority and in the end she revealed herself. And when I say revealed herself I mean she was in a bear suit and didn't really reveal herself at all. To put simply, the people who disagreed with her leadership challenged her, she kicked their asses and proved herself to be the most powerful and intelligent <JUNGLE> member, then trotted off home to update her blog, eat pizza and track down the whereabouts of a lost child through hacking into a slave trading hub.

It's been almost two years since she proved herself as king and thanks to how peaceful it had been her job was no problem whatsoever. Her Right Hand Naomi relayed messages between her and her clan and the worst she had to deal with was their constant complaining about HOMRA and occasional brawling it out with them in what she hoped was light-hearted rivalry... well, that's what she had to deal with then. This is now. Two weeks ago Naomi unfortunately was filed as one of the casualties in the string of mysterious murders, meaning that Hibiki's only trusted asset is gone and she now had the anxiety of meeting with a new Right Hand and the added stress of calming the bloodthirst of her clan. Since Naomi, who was well respected by her clan, is gone she's afraid that her clan won't respect her as a leader as she always doubted that they looked to her for guidance and instead viewed only Naomi as a trusted figurehead. She'd be right.













Hibiki's history is unknown to all but a few, Ryuu and Naomi. She was born into a wealthy family with a grand reputation to uphold and after a traumatic birth her mother was left unable to have any other children, forcing the weight of the family name onto Hibiki's shoulders - something neither she nor her parents were pleased by. She was so tightly controlled that she was instructed how to behave and talk to the point she simply memorised thousands of phrases and would speak as though reading off a script. She became afraid of interaction and strangers because of how much her parents stressed that every word counted and everything she did in the public eye would haunt her forever and what other people saw was all that mattered. She was a child prodigy, already brilliant and satisfied with what she achieved daily, but her parents pushed her harder. They didn't want her to be brilliant, they wanted her to be the best. In the end, trying her hardest to please them did not matter, because they adopted a son to inherit the company. He was inferior to her in intelligence and everything else (as far as Hibiki was concerned) yet was still the successor simply because he was male.

Technology and her computer had been her friends during her childhood. What she believed to be her only friends were the strangers on the internet she talked to. She loved how she could think and properly plan what she was going to say and how they didn't have to see her face and nobody looked at her or judged her. After her little brother was proclaimed the successor of her family her parents became hostile towards her and she knew there was nothing she could do to please them as she was. She sent out a message to her friends that she was running away and her best friend Pentaghastly invited her to stay with him in Tokyo. She was seen going on the way out, but wasn't stopped. By some miracle, she just managed to scrape by on her journey. Nobody came looking for her. When she got to the city she never found Pentaghastly. She was found hiding under a box by Naomi, who brought her to Ryuu. After proving her intelligence by revealing that she had pickpocketed Naomi and could name the entire contents of her handbag after glancing at it once and what was in her pockets after simply brushing her hands past them, he took interest in her and took her in.

That is the history Hibiki remembers.

So begins...

Shizuka Hibiki's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Kita Tooru Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Yukimura Hisako

0.00 INK

#, as written by Elision
Image
5:45 AM | October 1st | Greater Tokyo Area

As the sun rose over Shizume city and the rest of Tokyo, the city had begun to wake up from it's slumber. It's residents, getting ready to begin their daily grind through their 9 to 5 jobs. Some already there, having stayed the night struggling to finish the heavy workload assigned to them. Others, of less orthodox professions, mucking around in the streets or on their way to school. However, for those who have managed become intertwined with the seven Kings residing in the city, the day had a more solemn meaning.

Marking exactly two weeks after the death of the former peacekeeper, a small ceremony was to be held to honor the dead King before his burial. Though few would be in attendance, too busy fighting among each other as to who the culprit of his, and other recent deaths was.

However, while they may be able to determine how their days will go, the security of their future is no longer certain. What may seem like an irrelevant decision at the moment, could very well mean whether or not more blood is spilled.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki

0.00 INK

#, as written by Elision
Image

Image
ImageX
Image
ใ€ŒMaeda.Katsuoใ€
Dialogue โœฎ #A60A00
Thoughts โœฎ #D65E0D





The ceremony couldn't have been over sooner, with the fresh air helping to rejuvenate him after the stressful congregation. For the better part of the ceremony, Katsuo had been cradling a visibly distressed Miu during her fits of tears. This was understandable, of course, but it hurt him to see the small woman so torn up.

Planning on escorting the girl to the reception, he was about to raise his arm to hail a taxi when the small hand wrapped around his wrist. Expressing her wishes to go home, a sigh escaped his lips. Of course she wouldn't care to go through the proper motions,even if it was the sensible thing to do.
'Geez, why couldn't she just act normally for once.'

"Mi, sweetheart, you should really go." The elder boy insisted, putting on his sweetest voice. This, however, was shot down in seconds with a curt shake of the woman's head. Not willing to start an argument with the equivalent of a brick wall in public, Katsuo gave in, though he wasn't to happy for it. "Fine then, let me slip off for a moment for a smoke. Don't wander off, I'll be back soon." The lecture was one fit for a child, however, in his eyes Miu wasn't far from it. Sure, she was no fool, but she had found herself in bad parts of town before when she wandered off on a whim, albeit that was several years prior. Though she was older and able to handle herself now, he had dealt with those situations before, and wasn't to keen on replaying them for a second time.

The stroll to the smoking area was a brisk one, fearing that leaving his 'baby sister' alone for too long might allow some of the more unsavory characters to take advantage of his angel in such a fragile state. Collapsing onto one of the benches, his lighter flew out of his pocket like lightning.


"Yo." He greeted the other lone figure in the section. A conversation was probably the last thing he was seeking out, but it was also rude just to completely ignore the other person. The man could just cross his fingers and hope the person in question would be as opposed to speaking to him as he was them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Kita Tooru Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Gensai Riku

0.00 INK

WARNING: VERY LONG POST AHEAD.


Before the arrival of dawn, three small green stars were becoming one with Hibiki's ceiling. Their edges were rough and scraped at by the longest nail she possessed (on her right index finger, saved from her nibbling teeth by the unconscious desire to have something to scratch with), but they had been there too long to easily peel off the way they once might have. Her parody of a starry sky was as much of a spectacle as the true skies of Tokyo at midnight, a time Hibiki once thought was when the city went to sleep and the stars quietly arranged themselves into fantastic stories that you could read if you stayed in the dark. The slightest flicker of a light could send stars scattering. A light told them that children who should be sleeping were awake and watching.

But the city did not sleep then and the lights warded away the stars until the only ones that remained were the three she was glaring at on her ceiling. They weren't the brightest, having their own light pollution to battle with in the form of flashing monitors and screens, but she was too indifferent to properly remove them so they were OK by her. Now that Hibiki was older she knew when the city really slept. It slept in the earliest hours of the morning when the sun was not yet up and the stars had all gone away. This was the time that Hibiki always woke.

On that freakishly early morning, she found herself sprawled out on the floor in a position that was obvious to anyone she hadn't meant to fall asleep in, with her shirt flipped up and revealing her stomach and her legs tangled in electrical cords. Her one exposed eye looked dead, dragged down by the dark bags beneath it, and it stared lifelessly up at the stars which reflected in her brilliantly red iris. Hibiki peeled from the carpet as one would remove themselves from a cobweb: picking off things she didn't want to touch while making faces. Her long sheet of hair was the most reluctant piece of her to get off the ground before she wound it around her hand and yanked, breaking it free of its mango iced tea puddle prison. Several wispy green casualties were left behind but would not be missed. She crouched in her over sized shirt and boxers until something turned on in her brain and she stood up โ€“ or, as up as her spine allowed her to. She scanned the room once for anything on her security footage, her eyes lingering a little too long on her beckoning laptop, then navigated over the empty food packets, video games that focused on male bonding, a build-your-own-robot kit and lots and lots of unsorted laundry. She opened the door and stepped out to be swallowed by complete darkness, but the trip had been made so many times before that she didn't need the light to oh wait nevermind. As always she forgot how big she was ever since that sudden growth spurt and clipped her little toe on the dresser. A stack of letters slid sideways off the cupboard and something that was not her squeaked and buried itself in sawdust. Hibiki muttered an apology through her pain for disturbing her pet and dropped to the ground, felt around for the letters that fell, stacked them back up and carefully (or, as carefully as she could do anything) put them in the top draw of the dresser. She mentally flipped a switch as she hobbled through the corridor on her way to the kitchen and suddenly the apartment was lit up in harsh fluorescent lighting. Vision didn't make her any less of a lumbering zombie and now she could see how gross she looked by squinting at her disgruntled reflection in the kitchen window. A cup of cold water to the face and swirling around in her empty belly made her feel queasy but woke her to some extent and her first fully comprehensible thought of the day formed, Time?

4: 17

She moved quickly now. In the main room, she pulled out her exercise mat. Her long toes clasped the edge of it like a balancing act as she tied her hair up in the usual high ponytail with the lackey around her wrist. When done she couldn't help but deliver a swift and powerful roundhouse kick to the pink punching bag hanging beside her to just remind it of who was the boss. It left an indent and the bag swung back and forth and creaked in surrender. Satisfied, she curled down and touched the ground (just managing to, her knees could never seem to straighten) to begin her morning stretches.

4:38

Hibiki's purple hood hid her matted, mango-scented hair and headphones beneath it. Her shoulders and spirit sagged when she caught a glimpse at her sickly, boyish features in the mirror, which she zipped up her red turtleneck to hide. The next ten minutes were spent bustling around collecting yen like it was a scavenger hunt mini game. Before leaving the apartment she went to swipe an easy access packet of bubblegum from the top of a kitchen cabinet when she stopped. Her hand was caught in an invisible trap between the gum and a half empty packet of cigarettes. It was only for a second, a moment that she barely picked up on herself, that her hand swayed between the two options before snatching one up and stuffing it in her pocket with such vigor it was as though she never faltered. At the door she breathed. On the other side of the door she took out her keys and locked each padlock methodically. Outside the apartment complex, she pressed play on an upbeat track (I know I know I'm lame) of a band she favoured, yanked her hood down further and began to jog.

Her neck started cramping as she jogged through the inner city and it wasn't because she spent all that time craning over a computer screen, but good guess. The skyscrapers were too flashy in the way they reflected everything below and around them that it would be a crime to not look up at them as you ran by, a crime that Hibiki drew the line at. They would probably look better with the sun shining off of them but this was the only time that Hibiki could move through this area so leisurely. Any later and this place would be full of people and moving among them would not suit her... requirements. She jogged on the spot when she caught a glimpse of Mihashira Tower, the skyscraper that served as Timeless Palace HQ, staring at its top floor distractedly through her bangs until her own urgency spurred her forward. Even with the streets devoid of activity โ€“ well, apart from the lazy cars, pigeons, occasional person who looked like they didn't want to be seen just as she much as her and food businesses preparing for opening hours โ€“ the place still felt dangerous when lingered in for too long, almost as though someone was watching her. As she left Timeless Palace behind her, her long lost cat Suzu slunk away to say good morning to her true master.

Right around the corner from the HQ of Scepter 4, Hibiki inserted yen into a vending machine and crouched down to retrieve the breakfast it dropped for her. She poked the straw into the box and began slurping the weird liquid cereal stuff as she trotted backwards all the way to the tall black gates of the formal looking mansion. Finding humor in the thought that the Blue Clan were so desperately looking for her yet had no idea that she practically paid them a visit every day (buying from vending machines was so much less stressful than shops and shops weren't open when she was hungry this early, anyway), a smug, almost villainous smile formed around the straw between her lips. She turned her back on the building, wiggled her hips, stretched out her back and yawned then glanced over her shoulder with a look that said, โ€œAnd what are you going to do about it?โ€, an expression hidden from security cameras by her hood. She swiftly finished her drink and disposed of her rubbish in the bin provided then did some proper stretching to warm up again before jogging away.

Her own territory felt the most comfortable for her yet was the most miserable. It was so pitiful and small and it was obvious why her members were yearning after HOMRA's territory, with it being so alive and spacious and not too uptown like Scepter 4 and Timeless Palace. The territory looked more appealing than her own because of how the Red King took care of it and cared for it... unlike her... but while she had no attachment to her territory as such (her true territory was the internet, after all), she felt a strong duty to her people... despite being happy to go her entire life without exchanging a single word with them... her personal issues had nothing to do with her loyalty, I'm sure.

<JUNGLE> had the highest number of members out of the clans. Their members weren't restricted to their shabby territory, they were scattered throughout Tokyo Metropolis with other jobs and lives apart from the clan. Members could choose to remain anonymous, with their true identities and residences documented by the king. They would be known to others in the clan by their online names only so they could support the group without having the pressure of Scepter 4 shaking disapproving fists at their backs. While that was once the norm, these people were now not so lovingly referred to by higher ranked members as โ€œShrubsโ€. You see, once upon a time, the entire group were completely anonymous and wore helmets to cover their identities when representing themselves publicly. It was during the fifty years of peace that the security focused on identity was lessened and the higher ranked, more involved members of the clan felt comfortable letting their faces and names be known. Ryuu claimed this more relaxed attitude was a good thing, as proper trust began forming amongst their ranks and with the other clans. Maybe it was good. But now Hibiki was king, and she was everything Ryuu was not, and while she had proven herself worthy of the title she had no means to prove a shrub like herself was worthy of their respect. The more she thought about the problems she had before all of these murders started made a hidden piece of her stress what the heck Ryuu was thinking, appointing someone with as much social awareness as her king. Ugh, Ryuu was so good at hyping them up to believe their bonds were more important than their brains (something that Hibiki definitely did not believe in but knew was a thing she had to fake). She wished he would hurry up and get back from the Bahamas or whatever place she'd rather be that was pictured on the last postcard he sent her.

And oh God, she still had to tell him about Naomi.

She took a quick break to check out the nightclub she "managed" while she was passing by. The Jungle looked so unimpressive in the grey light with its flashing neon signs turned off and she could tell that new graffiti had been added to its ink collection. It definitely didn't look like the ideal place to set up HQ, that was for sure, but Ryuu felt that they needed a physical hang out to regain that social interaction that kids these days were missing out on and hey, sex and alcohol are what they're into, right? The girl could even smell urine coming from the alley that led to the back entrance. Her face darkened upon remembering that's where she had to go in the evening to meet up with her new Right Hand, Hirai Nakazo. This would mark her second meeting with the man and she couldn't say that she didn't dread it.

Not passing through HOMRA's territory to the grocery store that opened at seven thirty sharp would be a disruption to routine.

At the end of her sprint she halted so suddenly that she buckled and had to clutch her knees for support. She was unused to pushing herself so hard in that last stretch. Her clothes trapped her body heat and made her more uncomfortable than she should have been after her run but she would never remove an item of clothing in public. Her heart was beating fast and there was an awful pressure against her temples, not from the exercise but from something else. Passing by the unassuming bed and breakfast that served as HOMRA HQ had become harder for her as of late. She looked up in time to see the sign switch from closed to open.


*


*


*


She wasn't planning to be here. She didn't owe the Grey King anything. Why did she come here instead of home? She approached the funeral home so hesitantly that anyone watching might have thought she was attending hers.

But she didn't attend. She ducked around the back and when she reached a bench she lurched. The wind took the long hair that protruded from her hood hostage and whipped her face with it like a spiteful poltergeist. It was quiet here, or, much quieter now that her music was no longer assaulting her poor eardrums. She could still hear the sounds of the city, which was now very much awake. This was the time that Hibiki would be sleeping, but at least there was nobody here - not near her, just... surrounding her... and through that wall. Walls weren't as solid to her as they were to others. How she was going to wade home through that ocean of noise and humanity was beyond her, but sitting here in the shadows made the problem seem almost OK.

Almost.

She took a lighter from one of the two plastic bags she held then dropped them on her bench to leave both hands free to light a cigarette. It took a dozen tries for her slightly too large hands to flip the fiddly switch but they did, eventually. Finally, she took a long draw of her cigarette only to double over and hack up her lungs. This continued until it became a worry. When she managed to stop she grit her teeth and straightened, bringing the poison back up to her lips. She coughed again, but quieter this time. She shut her eyes and breathed.

Name: Yamauchi Naomi. Age of death: 42 Time of death: Unknown. Information has been withheld from Scepter 4's systems, most likely because they know I'll be following the case. All that's determined is it happened two weeks ago, just three days after the death of the Grey King. Cause of death: Found floating in the river with damage to the skull. The โ€œofficialโ€ story the news covered was that she hit her head and drowned. That isn't true. Her power was summoning electrical projectiles. She was not immune to her own projectiles. Taking the fight underwater was an advantage against her abilities and her killer knew that.

That's all the information I have of her death. Now, I have to decide my next move.


Hibiki reopened her eyes and gazed at her sneakers gravely, the smoke of her cigarette spiraling away in the breeze.

They expect to go to war, she surmised with her chin in her palm, Worst of all, they expect me to lead them there.

She inhaled the smoke again, held in her protesting lungs, and leaned forward.

Naomi was floating downriver. Upriver is HOMRA territory. She could have floated down, but a body bobbing down Sumida river would not have made it far without being spotted. The way I see it, we have reasons to be suspicious but not enough of them. HOMRA deny our accusations and are not inviting conflict nor have anything to gain by initiating it, though, their hostile attitude towards us suggests they're not against it. So how much can we call solid proof and how much are we grasping at prejudiced straws? I know for a fact that some in particular would say anything to start a fight with our more powerful neighbors. It's moronic, that way of thinking.

Smoke left her mouth in a little puff and she paused.

But it isn't unjustified. This isn't the first murder in these past three weeks but this is only the second that they're aware of. Four Shrubs have been targeted. If they knew, there would be hysteria. My clan is already scared and with Yoshida-kun announced missing yesterday... I should be drawing connections between all of the murders by now. She grunted and ruffled her fringe in frustration. And yet the only connection is that they were killed in regular, unoriginal ways near or in their residences, none of them showing any sign that they had been murdered by a clansman apart from the fact that nobody BUT enemy clansmen would want us dead. Or... actually... That was a lie. <JUNGLE> were a notorious hacker group, of course they had made enemies with powerful people and anyway, the identities and residences of those who chose to remain anonymous were known by only her and her Right Hand. The other clans would not know who or where they were โ€“ nobody would. Hirai was not yet trusted enough to receive the list and Naomi... she was gone. Naomi was the victim of the second murder and the first was a Shrub. The assailant could not have taken the information from her, they already knew it. Besides, there was no mention of torture wounds. None that were disclosed to the public. With her dead, the only suspects would be me and Akiyama Ryuu. Obviously I'm not a murderer, and Ryuu... โ€ฆ โ€ฆ

โ€œ... Pfft.โ€

Don't laugh. Any lead is worth something at this point, no matter how unlikely. Who had gotten that information and how? Had their faces been sold out to the highest bidder? Having so many enemies didn't help her narrow down suspects at all. I have some information on the deaths of the Shrubs, which is virtually nothing apart from the fact that the police obviously must have made the shocking discovery that the corpses were <JUNGLE> members, because each investigation dropped from their records days after they were in their system. If Scepter 4 documented information useful to all of these cases on their hard drives instead of writing it down on paper I'd have already solved this crisis, unless... they've refused to take it as a case. A dozen hackers in the underground aren't worth anything to such honest citizens.

That prospect hurt more than the original thought that Scepter 4 wanted to keep the infamous J and the Green Clan out of the loop. After all of the leads and information she had leaked them that had assisted them in so many cases, how they still hunted for her stung, but it didn't insult her like considering her clan not worth their time did. She was so troubled by this she felt ill, or perhaps that was just the cigarette.

โ€ฆ That won't do. They have to take it. Homicide is homicide. They already know <JUNGLE>'s crimes and they've overlooked them... mostly. Will an investigation of the murders of online gang members turn into an investigation into the identity of J? They're persistent enough that I've had to change my name and move three times already, having them working with us will leave me hazardously vulnerable.

She hunched up and sucked in her breath, hardening her resolve once more.

So the decision stands as this โ€“ either go to war with HOMRA; the Red Clan that has always beaten us, and punch the truth out of the Red King at the cost of what little territory we have, or ask for the help of Scepter 4; the Blue Clan that have always hunted us and can see us behind bars, make me forfeit my place as king or perhaps execu... The thought was so horrible she couldn't finish it. She took a quick draw of her cigarette and glanced around in paranoia. The funeral home felt like it was craning over her back. Even the sky was coming too close. It has been practiced before.

Then a third option โ€“ remain stumbling in the dark as we are stripped away one by one and <JUNGLE> no longer remains. And I have to make the decision before facing my Right Hand tonight.


Yeah, like that was going to happen. She tapped the ash from the end of her cigarette when the tremors in her hand became too much to keep it steady and it dropped. Hibiki swore and took out the box and lighter but her already fumbling hands were so shaky it was even harder than lighting the first.

โ€œWhat are the two most important factors of making a decision?โ€

โ€œFacts and rationality,โ€ Hibiki answered just as Naomi chuckled over the top of her, โ€œA good view and a fag.โ€ Hibiki stared at her blankly from her bed until Naomi felt nervous. "You know, like, a cigarette. I'm talking 'bout cigarettes." Hibiki just grunted and raised an eyebrow to signify she knew what the woman meant. Naomi nodded and lit one up, breathed it in and sighed blissfully. "It's the same way I've made every decision. Even the one to keep your sorry ass around."

There was comfortable silence, when

"Obviously, killing your lungs speeds up the thought process." Hibiki was concerned for her, but she had meant to insult her to hide it, but not loud enough for her to notice. She did take notice and her face brightened with pride.

"Did my lil' Mako-chan make a funny in the absence of a joke book? I'm actually so happy. We'll be having these things called conversations in no time." Makoto, the name Hibiki wore as her own at that time. Her cheeks burned as scarlet as Naomi's hair at her nearly sarcastic jesting and Hibiki hid behind her knees, waiting for the torment to be over. The carefree woman blew smoke from her nostrils and reassured her, "Don't worry 'bout it. When I die it'll be on my own terms. I won't end up a bloated body washed up on the shore three days after I was attacked and murdered on my way home from a date with that joke you think isn't worth the effort."


She hadn't really said that, but in that moment Hibiki was convinced that she did. The back of her throat hurt. She remembered that Naomi once attended the funeral for her aunt at this place and wondered if she was sitting at the same bench the woman sat while she smoked and reflected on her memories with her late loved one, the same Hibiki was now. The thought that her right hand could have been in the exact same place that Naomi's hand once clutched around made her palm feel strangely warm. It was a pleasant warmth, like the lingering ghost of someone's hand in hers, but she wouldn't know that. She never held anyone's hand. Giving up on lighting the cigarette, she brought her forearm over her face to shield it from the skies that were threatening to crush her. She shut her eyes and tried to breathe.

"Yo."

Hibiki had never stood up so fast in her entire life. She stood up so fast, a wave of nausea came over her and she sat back down. Her head twitched to her right to take in a small glance at he person sitting beside her to only get a glimpse of someone's torso dressed in funeral black. She returned her gaze to her unlit cigarette that was threatening to crumble in her fist she was clutching it so hard and slowly, painfully so, tilted up her head to look at the face of the man that towered over her.

That's Maeda Katsuo of Timeless Palace. She thought to herself as she stared in the opposite direction to him. That's Maeda Katsuo of Timeless Palace and I assumed his height was a typo. She thought as she licked her finger and tested the direction of the breeze. That's Maeda Katsuo of Timeless Palace and he is very tall and I'm on the grounds a funeral was held for a King and nobody knows who I am. There's only one person that might attend that people know that nobody knows. That is J. I'm the only person here on the premises nobody knows.

An endless stream of swears looped in her mind as she reached out and took the bags that separated herself from the enemy and placed them on her lap. The crinkling of plastic was the only sound to fill the awkward silence between them as Hibiki's mind ticked. She tried to light her cigarette again and again and again as she did the only thing she could do to save her identity in this situation.

"You -" her voice was so husky from not being used. She cleared her throat, keeping her chin tucked in tightly against her chest to hide her face. Damn, was there a childproof lock on this lighter or something? She could never get those things. "You were attending the funeral held here?" she asked, her voice kept down low. She then uttered a phrase she had memorised from these sorts of sad situations in films, "Sorry for your loss."

She had to make him believe that she was an outsider. In situations like these, it was lucky that lying came as naturally as breathing for her... but lately, she was having trouble with even that.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi

0.00 INK


Imageโ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ
โ–ฎ




Cyneric Ozu

Dialogue โ‹„ #666666
Thought โ‹„ #CC3300



It was a rather dull atmosphere and almost fitting day for a funeral. According to Cyneric that was, but what did he know? The boy had never attended a funeral in his whole life and frankly that was a habit he did not wish to break too soon. He could have only mused over what heartbreak Miu was going through; it was her dear father after all. The former Grey King too. But Cyneric knew that her brother would be there to catch the fragile girl should she fall, and he could have sworn some of Scepter 4 were present too. It was a humble gathering perhaps that was to say, but nobody could dare shine a smile.

Cyneric had attended the ceremony only briefly, feeling that it was nice to show his face in moral support but not outstay his welcome. He never knew the man after all, even if his predecessor did that was something that never quite passed on to him. So, here he was outside standing. Everyone was making their way out of the building and presumably making paths to the graveyard for the burial. But the boy was taking his time, debating his course of action. Heck, being back at school was seeming more tempting if only just to squirrel away in his dorm.

Was that allowed? Could he do that? Would Miu mind, would anyone mind? Hopefully nothing terrible would happen today. A strange thought admittedly, but you could never tell. Murders were happening left and right all over the place it felt; the culprit could even be here mingling around them unnoticed. Now, there was a realization. Cyneric almost unsettled himself completely with that thought aloneโ€ฆ maybe he should stop thinking altogether and move himself. Put one foot in-front of the other and walk. Make himself less idle and awkward and motionless.

Without really thinking he looked to the sky and eyed any cloud that lazily pulled itself along overhead. Quickly as well, he inhaled and filled his lungs till the point of bursting; taking in an almost painful breath. He needed it, everyone did. โ€Maybe I should head back, get a start on my homework?โ€ Was that a silly thing to say, let alone want? Thankfully his voice was sheepish and almost whisper-like, his thoughts getting away with him. โ€Thereโ€™s not much I can do here anyway.โ€


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Kita Tooru Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Gensai Riku

0.00 INK

Image
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ

ใ€ŒAlastair Payneใ€
Dialogue; b49b04
Thought; 6f1313
- - -
Papers lay all around him in a mess, his head was in his hands and he had a cigarette butt in his mouth. Thick smoke filled the room like a fog as many other scattered cigarette butts lay on his desk. He had stayed the night in his office, the top floor of Mihashira Tower, he had some work he had to complete however it had taken longer than usual and he had sent everyone else home leaving him alone with mountains of paperwork and books to balance before he could go home. Though he was argueably one of the wealthiest men in the city, he lived in a run down apartment building on the south side of town, however no one knew it was him living there, he used a different name for it and even rents a more expensive penthouse in his true name so it throws off even the hackers of <JUNGLE>. He did this on purpose for his own privacy, he really doesn't like the idea of anyone being able to find his house.

Sadly his modest home had remained empty the previous evening. As his work was more pressing, if he didn't get it done plenty of big-deal businesses would be on his back, ready to strike him down. His eyes snapped open, rimmed with red around his golden iris, dark bags clung underneath them as he groaned.
"Fuck me. . ." He grumbled rubbing his neck and slowly straightening up with several complaints from his back. He slowly stood, some papers sliding off his desk as he cursed and bent down to pick them up. I'll have Mira clean it up later. . . He thought as he dropped the papers back down. His eyes then snapped to the clock and he frowned. He was going to be late to the damned funeral! He let out a stream of angered profanity as he slid his shoes and vest on, buttoning his shirt as he sprinted down the stairwell.

He tripped over the last step and gasped slightly before scowling at it and swearing vengeance before running out. His chauffeur offered a ride but he was already far down the street lighting up a cigarette as he went. His chauffeur shook his head in awe of his hard-headed boss, but was relieved he didn't have to drive him when he was in this mood.

โ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌ

He arrived at the funeral as most people were filtering out. He folded his arms and leaned against a wall smoking, trying to conceal his labored breaths for running all the way over here. A few patrons waved to him or bowed their heads as they left and he returned the favor. He had meant to make it on time to this, he really had but the day had gotten away from him and so he had missed the proceedings. Him and the prior Gray King had been rather close, he closed his eyes under his shades and silently asked for forgiveness for missing the funeral.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Kita Tooru Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Gensai Riku

0.00 INK

Image
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ
โ–ˆ

ใ€ŒNaoko Itaใ€
Dialogue; 374D82
Thought; 5C92BF
- - -
Morning filtered into her small house, however Naoko was already up and at it, she was in the small kitchen making breakfast for her father before she was going head out to the funeral. She hummed softly to herself, a happy tune that helped her start her day. The warm tones of her house seemed a bit grayer to her today, funerals were always such a sad time, even though she didn't know the woman who died all that well, it was still a big loss. She sighed softly and then smiled again, being positive is key, she told herself as she carried the scrambled eggs, bacon and hashbrowns to her father who was sitting in the chair he always occupied. A shell of the lively man he once was, his head lolled to the side a bit, it broke Naoko's heart but she still loved him no matter how bad it got she'd never abandon her father.

"Here you go daddy," she chimed as she handed him the tray, he wasn't completed inept, he just wasn't himself. He took the tray with a far off stare and she kissed his cheek softly. He grunted softly and began eating, his eyes not blinking. She sighed a bit and turned away to go change out of her pajamas into more suitable clothing for the event she was to attend. She got dressed in simple clothes and headed back out toward the door, she went over to her father and hugged him tight. "I'm heading out, please try to rest up while I'm gone. I have my phone and I will check in okay?" nothing in response. Her smile turned into a soft look of concern as she headed out, getting into her car and heading down to the funeral. The King of her organization was there so she figured she was obligated to be there as well. She hoped everyone there was doing okay, she'd have to be there for those who were hurting.

โ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌ

She arrived and sat through the funeral in the back, even tearing up a bit at some of the testimonies. She watched reverently and then as people began filtering out, she sniffled a bit and dabbed at her eyes. She rose slightly and went out, she spotted miss Ikeda and two people smoking together. She glanced around and spotted Mr. Payne off on his own, strange he hadn't been in the service? She supposed it wasn't any of her business. She wanted to find Miss Emi. She scanned the crowd and sighed softly not seeing her right away. So, she went over to a woman who was taking it rather hard and began to console her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Kita Tooru Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Gensai Riku

0.00 INK

#, as written by cl.love


DAISUKE O'CONNOR



โœ˜ โœ˜ โœ˜ I wonder if "existing" is something you can laugh about... Image


Image

XXXXXi Theme: Crawl by Veltpunch
X Dialogue : #EE1D24 | Thought : #959595
XXX FC: Aizawa Kouichi | Nabari no O
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X

Daisuke hadn't planned on attending the funeral. He knew he would be out of place - after all, he'd only met the Grey King once, and he'd been only ten at the time, having tagged along with his grandfather. It was true that his place as a member of the Monochrome Alliance would obligate him to attend, but he had only been a member for a week, and he still hardly new Ikeda at all. XX
In the end, his parents had convinced him that attending the funeral was the professional thing to do, as the Colorless King it was acceptable to attend the funeral of a fellow King, despite the state of their relationship. Daisuke agreed to attend if his parents would also attend - after all, funerals weren't the most enjoyable place to be, and he wanted an excuse to leave if he needed one. XX
As soon as he got there, Daisuke immediately felt bad for having considered staying home. While it was true that he hadn't known Ikeda for long - not in person, at least - he couldn't help but understand her grief. His own King and grandfather had died four years prior, and he'd found himself in a situation akin to Ikeda's. Suddenly becoming a clan's King was nothing if not stressful. XXX
Daisuke left his parents to find a seat and approached Ikeda, bowing politely and carefully avoiding eye contact with her brother, who looked as if he would kill him if he said anything unfavorable. "Ikeda-san, I'm very sorry for your loss. You may not believe me, but I can promise you that the pain of loss does lessen, given time." Quietly excusing himself, Daisuke returned to his seat. XXXXX
The ceremony itself was respectable, but Daisuke found himself focusing on other thoughts, most concerning the recent murders. How dire is the situation? We've already had more than five murders. I doubt this would be as large of a concern if a King hadn't been one of the victims. And who even has the confidence to murder a King, especially without leaving a trace of evidence? XX
After becoming a King, Daisuke had instantaneously pulled his clan out of everything to do with the other clans. His parents were the only other members of the Colorless Clan, and at the time the O'Connor family couldn't really have cared less about the rivalry between clans. They became invisible, really, and Daisuke had even found internet theories stating that the his clan didn't exist. XX
But with the death of the Grey King, everything was suddenly so much more complicated. Daisuke's parents had convinced him to join the Monochrome Alliance in order to help keep the other clans from slaughtering each other with blame over the murders. And thus, here he was, at the Grey King's funeral. XX
Once the ceremony was over, Daisuke's parents went to talk to Ikeda, most likely to give her their best wishes and say comforting words that wouldn't do any good. Of course, Daisuke was guilty of the same thing, with what he'd said to her earlier. I suppose I really am their son. Sighing lightly, Daisuke pushed his glasses higher up on his nose and weaved through the crowds of attendees. XX
He was none too pleased to find Alastair standing outside the venue, smoking a cigarette and looking like he'd only just woken up. Daisuke's face scrunched up in distaste at the smell of tobacco, and he frowned at the Gold King, his hand gesturing toward the 'No Smoking' sign posted half a meter away. "This venue is a 'No Smoking' area. You'd think a King would have more respect." XXX

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Gensai Riku

0.00 INK

Image
WARNING: LONG POST, TURNS OUT MY INTRODUCTORY POSTS ARE ALWAYS LONG AF


Riku turned the bronze handle and carefully began to guide the door open, only to cringe at the creaking it made and stop instantly. He paced outside of the room in a small circle with his finger pushing up his glasses, mentally debating how to solve the issue at hand, then decided to approach this situation as though it was a band aid. With that solution in mind, he promptly kicked down the door and darted inside of the room, his hands frisking through the clutter that was already piling up on every surface of the bedroom without him being home to attend to it when a light turned on behind him and the image of an unimpressed man with apricot bed hair apparated in front of him.

"You'll have to stop breathing to sneak past me, Riku." the older man grumbled, reclining from the lamp and settling back to face him. His pillow rested against the head of the bed and propped up his back, his arms were folded across his chest and his stare was aimed dead on the droplet of sweat beading on the quietly terrified young man's paralysed neck. Riku swallowed then turned from the mirror with a flair, but instead of looking directly at his partner his focus was torn between the man's unamused face and the waterproof jacket slumped over the end of their bed.

"Good morning, Ken. I apologise, I didn't mean to wake you," he excused himself with a deep, respectful bow before snatching up the jacket and pulling it on, his nose wrinkling a little at the realisation that it hadn't been washed. "I tried to be as quiet as possible. ("Of course you did.") May I borrow this? Have you seen my keys?"

Ken nodded once, delayed. "You're leaving?" His bloodshot eyes panned up to the clock and his eyebrows raised at what he saw. "At this hour?"

"Of course," Riku affirmed (not really knowing what the hour was and unable to see past the glare of the light on the clock) and returned to his search, "An investigation doesn't start and stop, it's worked at until it is solved."

"So... you're going to work, then." Ooh, that was bitter. Riku confirmed Ken's speculation briskly without any show that he picked up on his tone and moved to tear up the other side of the room. "... Isn't that funeral thing on today for you? I thought you'd have time off for that."

"Of course, that's why I'm leaving early. I can get some work done before that time. You have my word I'll make it in time."

"I'm not worried about that," Ken brushed aside with a roll of his eyes, "That guy's already dead, you're going to die if you don't sleep."

"Watch that tone, there's no morality to be found in disrespecting the deceased. I've had sufficient rest," Riku grunted through from the floor, his arm jammed beneath a cupboard and battling with dust and spiders. "And if I don't sleep, neither does JUSTice... pardon me." Riku corrected his sound levels, knowing that Ken wasn't a fan of his random outbursts of full volume in the mornings. Ken rubbed his ringing ears and glowered down at Riku's back.

He may think that he's mature by being dutiful like this, but when spurred by such childish motivations it's impossible to ever take him seriously...

He watched his little trooper yelp and pull his hand out sharply and felt reluctant admiration for both the young man's bravery and how stubborn he could be in his idiocy. He sighed as he shook Riku's keys from his pillow then held them up and jingled them to capture his attention. "You came home at two."

Riku's head perked and his eyes sparkled with fervor at the sight of the keys. He jumped up from the floor and bounded over to Ken's side, combed his bangs back with his gloved hand and bent over to peck him on the forehead. "I came home," he concluded like it mattered and reached out to take the keys eagerly, but they were held out of reach by a still grumpy (albeit a little pleased) Ken.

"How have you been investigating, Riku?" he pressed, "Didn't the Monochrome Alliance confiscate you evi-" He was interrupted by a finger being jammed into his lips, forcing his top lip up to show off his canines in what looked like a snarl. He stared at Riku, who shushed him and leaned in close... then plucked the keys out of his hand and ran out the door while he had the chance. "Hey -!"

*


*


*

"Just come back to bed, Ri." Ken insisted groggily as he waddled after Riku in his fluffy blue striped bathrobe, his eyes still heavy with sleep and squinting through the lights. If there was anything that he learnt after dating the overly enthusiastic bundle of diligence and more diligence for more than two years now, it was that if you wanted to keep up with him you had to be persistent and persistent Ken could be given that he didn't have to walk far.

"I thought I was on the couch," Riku tried to slip in casually but a sliver of indignance poked through. Boy had he panicked when he woke up on the sagging cushions of that old couch Ken had been offered for free from their neighbours the day they moved out. There was a reason that couch was free but it wasn't the lack of quality that had Riku frozen in fear for fifteen minutes on it before he decided that he needed to work, it was what sleeping on the couch entailed. Those fifteen minutes were spent picking apart his brain and analysing every detail of the night before he could remember, but the strangest thing was he didn't think he saw Ken or so much as texted him at all yesterday or the day before that, so what could he possibly have done to piss off his boyfriend during that time?

"Better that than the doorstep."

... He's mad with me. Riku opened the fridge door and hid his face behind it in silence, his usually proud shoulders sagging.

"I'm not mad, I'm just lazy." Ken said from the kitchen through a chuckle, noticing the beginnings of Riku's sulking behaviours take hold. "Come to bed, Riku. You don't have to sleep if you don't want to, just lie down for a moment."

"I can't," he answered apologetically and swung the fridge door shut then walked into the kitchen when Ken stood from his seat at the table and lodged himself between Riku and the corridor. Riku looked up at the imposing barricade (their height and age difference of almost seven years always made him feel like such a baby in situations like this) and just frowned at him, hoping that enough willpower would make him move. Ken just tugged the liquid breakfast from his hand and placed it on the kitchen table disapprovingly. (The fridge was packed full of these things from the vending machine close to his work - ever since the Grey King's death that's all Riku had been living off of and Ken refused to drink the stuff, despite the fact that without Riku around to cook for him his own cooking was a worse alternative.)

"Then I'm fixing you breakfast," Ken bravely informed Riku and began to walk over to the cabinet.

Ken's cooking barely crossed his mind when Riku plucked the liquid breakfast back up from the table and gave his response, "Thank you for the notion but that's unnecessary. I'll enjoy my meal fully while I'm at my desk."

"Coffee?" Ken held up the strainer. He couldn't make a cup to save his life, but Riku didn't have to know that.

"Thank you, I'll be fine."

"I'll put your uniform in the drier."

"There's no need."

"You are going to wear the same uniform you slept in?!"

"I have a spare in my office. I'll change once I'm there."

"Did you take all of -"

"I took them."

"And y-"

"That's done."

"I can -"

"Finished."

"You didn't know what I was about to -"

"I've taken care of it."

"I'll brush your teeth," Ken at last managed to get in through Riku's constant and discriminatory dismisses with an annoyed, heavily sarcastic remark. Riku being Riku of course took it for face value and shook his head seriously, his eyes shut and nose in the air.

"That has been done."

Ken glared then gave the air a little sniff before bringing his hand up to his mouth and looking away with a judging expression. "Really?" Riku covered his mouth with a gasp but the trick was broken when Ken stifled laughter... or was it. He regained his poker face immediately and Riku stared at it with a conflicted expression, trying to determine whether he could trust him or not when his own paranoia got the better of him and he pushed past to the bathroom in a hurry, leaving Ken behind to do his victory dance (which was just a self-satisfied nod. Ken? Dancing? Are you for real?). As Riku gargled after brushing his teeth for the third time that day he heard a jingle coming from behind him and turned after spitting to see Ken leaning against the doorway indifferently, the keys back in his possession and twirling around his finger.

"What is the meaning of this?" he demanded.

"It means, I'm driving."

"Ken -"

Ken yawned and began to mumble, "I can't change your mind once it's made... honestly, I don't have the energy for it. So I'm driving you. It's dangerous for you to be on the road, you'll fall asleep and hurt somebody."

Riku blinked, then brought his hand to his chin and nodded thoughtfully. "Of course... how foolish of me. I'm sorry to put in this position so early in the morning." He walked out of the bathroom, stopping to pat Ken's cheek as he went by as a congratulatory gesture. "You're finally starting to see the world as an agent of justice. I'm proud of you, Ken." For some reason that sort of compliment didn't make Ken feel any better or worse. "Come, let's go." He started striding down the corridor but was hindered from progress yet again by Ken shuffling after him and grabbing the back of his collar.

"Wait. There's one more thing you're forgetting."

Riku turned, ready to raise his voice at this point, to see Ken holding up a small comb. His hand involuntarily went up to his front pocket to feel the familiar shape not there and when he reached out to take it from Ken, he avoided his grabbing hands and began to run its teeth through Riku's unruly blue hair himself. Riku clenched his fists and stared at Ken's feet, hating this, but also feeling fuzzy at the touch of his fingers running over his scalp and the care taken in tugging out every knot. Soon Riku's hair was flattened and styled and Ken slipped the comb into Riku's front pocket and left his hand curled up on his chest for a little longer than necessary. "That was close, wasn't it? Now, slow down, hero, and wait for me to get ready."

Riku watched him walk smugly down the hall and wink at him before entering the bathroom. When he heard the shower running, he fell back on the door and touched his front pocket. I suppose that this is what making up looks like, then? Were the fine teeth of such a seemingly insignificant comb all it took to rekindle the flames of desire tended by our hearts? By unknotting my hair, did he knot the strands of our fragmented love... he must expect something more than letting him touch my hair in a patronizing way, of course. The nerve of that animal. Despite that thought, Riku was glad that the tension between them had cooled.

*

*

*

The tension had most definitely not cooled, in Ken's opinion. He stifled a yawn as he puttered down the lazy streets, trying hard himself to stay awake and being thankful that the traffic wasn't so hectic at this forbidden hour. Riku had not been the only one getting no sleep and if he was around he would notice it, Ken hoped. Watching a loved one deteriorating in health and sanity is not a pleasant experience for anyone and would keep anyone up with worry. Riku hadn't come home much in the past two weeks and when he did the least Ken could do was drag him over to something cushy before he collapsed onto the floor. Last night, he found the poor sap with just one hand on the welcome mat like he had passed out upon making home run. Despite Scepter 4 being victim to a murder (Hinata Touko, a young woman who hadn't even been properly initiated into their ranks and wasn't yet aware of the true identity of their king), they were still under suspicion and it wasn't taken lightly by the clan's resident knight. Ken remembered the day well when Riku came home ranting about how The Monochrome Alliance had taken the investigation from Scepter 4 and any evidence they had with it because " - everyone's a suspect to them, even the clan that exists to uphold JUSTICE!" With such estranged relationships with the other clans of course Scepter 4 would fall under suspect, in fact, every clan must be suspect - Ken had tried to reason, but Riku had taken it personally and though he was home that evening he might as well not have been. The Monochrome Alliance had told Scepter 4 to focus on preventing fights between the clans while they handled the investigation, something that Riku ignored as he stubbornly continued the investigation by himself.

He parked the car across the street from Scepter 4 HQ (just as a purple hooded, lanky figure he paid no mind jogged away from the premises) and sighed in relief at a distraction to free him from these thoughts which just made him more tired than he already was and could be brooded on later when he had some paper to scrunch up and the freedom to grumble without Riku overhearing him. "Riku, we're here." he said and swiveled in his seat to kiss him goodbye only to find him slumped against the door, his innocently resting face propped against the window. "Psst, Ri. If you sleep now, you won't get your work done. You might miss the funeral you wanted to attend." Riku stirred, his head shaking slightly as he curled into a tighter ball. Ken smiled fondly and touched the exhausted young man's cheek. "You're more honest when you're asleep, you know that?" He reached over and fetched his book from the glove box and readjusted his seat to lay back a little, making himself comfortable for what would be the next couple hours.

Riku slept without dreams and without knowledge of the funeral that had occurred without him, or how the person he promised he'd be there reacted when he never arrived.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki

0.00 INK

#, as written by Elision
Image

Image
ImageX
Image
ใ€ŒMaeda.Katsuoใ€
Dialogue โœฎ #A60A00
Thoughts โœฎ #D65E0D





It seemed that the ancient Gods of smoking had not picked today to smile upon Katsuo. His smoking partner, seemingly a weird one to say the least, had taken a slightly more complex route than the standard "Hello" that would have sufficed to end the conversations.

Turning his head to take in the young man next to him, his suspicions were pretty well confirmed. The man had made some sort of fast movement to attract his attention. What that exact movement that was was mystery to him, seeing only a blur of green hair and clothes.


"Thank you." The statement was flat, yet sincere. He had heard the words echoed hundreds of times in the weeks prior. Not for himself, but for his not so little sister. The stranger seemed to be more nervous than caring, but honestly most people were anyways. Some were just better at concealing it.

"You know, if you can't even light your cigarette, you probably shouldn't be having one anyways." His father had told him the same exact words before. Well, within some stupid joke of course, but the advice wasn't any less sound. In his opinion, at least. Still, against his better judgement he had snatched out another one of his own cigarettes and lit it. Extending his arm to present it to his conversation partner. After all, who was he to judge.

"Look, Kid. Are you alright?" Cursing himself for not simply ignoring the stranger, it was nobody's fault but his own as his concern for them began to build. Nobody acts that weird under normal circumstances, or at least nobody he's ever met.

Initially, he was concerned they might be in trouble with the law or worse. Having people on your tail was probably the best reason out there to be nervous. Then it dawned on him. This was a funeral home. It was more than likely that they were there for a similar reason as he was. Adopting a smoother, sweeter tone reminiscent of the one he had been using as long as he could remember to coax Miu into telling him what was the matter as a child.
"Have you lost someone too?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki

0.00 INK

Hibiki stared at the hand of a stranger that was offering her something. She didn't know whether the man was fed up with her or being friendly or anything though she didn't think that mattered, all she needed to be able to tell was if he was suspicious but she couldn't even pick up on that - but that didn't mean she trusted that he wasn't. She had such a hard time determining how people were thinking, it was easier to assume a worst case scenario and act accordingly. She reached out and gripped the cigarette delicately, finding it difficult but possible to take it without touching his fingers. She murmured a sound that sounded vaguely like a thank you that didn't quite make it and brought the smoke to her dry lips.

Same brand as mine, she observed. She had mimicked Naomi by purchasing the exact same brand she had seen her using, too. Obviously must be popular with people with this habit. Unless he's just a cheapskate, like her.

She breathed out smoke and for the first time she saw how people could relax from these evil things. All she had to do now was excuse herself, then she would be free.

"Look, Kid. Are you alright?"

The suddenness of the questions when she thought she was in the clear caused her to choke and fall into a coughing fit. The man sounded softer now, much like the way Ryuu talked down to her when she was too tired to sleep, but that sweetness couldn't have come from this intimidating giant. It had to be a trick of her mind, she missed hi - no, she didn't miss him. She missed his knowledge but nothing more. She glanced at Katsuo slightly as she began searching her brain for any response that she might have planned out previously in her notebook, but she couldn't remember, obviously meaning that she didn't have one. Come on Hibiki, this had never been so hard before, had it? She had lost someone, all she had to do was tell the truth - no, no, it hurt her throat, she couldn't. She just had to respond (just talk, it didn't have to be true), which could lead to another intruding question, then excuse herself from this minefield once the conversation ended which was hopefully before anyone else arrived to the secluded smoking area. Either that or she take the chance now and get rid of him, somehow. But there was too little time to analyse the pros and cons of each escape route; she could still hear the sobs and chatter of people pouring out the front of the funeral home that filtered into hearing when Katsuo first apparated beside her. Oh. Oh no. She shouldn't have thought about that. Now she couldn't stop listening to them. It was overwhelming, how they were continuing to constantly flow out and stain the streets. She could see their warm, fat bodies mingling through the walls and clasp at each other for solace, unborn children in a throbbing, artificial womb. It was only a matter of time before their numbers spread and trickled towards her like blood from an open wound.

Hibiki had to leave now before she was sick.

She curled over and simply hid her face behind her hands. The threat beside her didn't need to know she was trying not to throw up. All he needed to know was it was a funeral and funerals were supposed to be sad, and when people were made sad people cried, and when people cried they wanted to be left alone.

She nodded.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki

0.00 INK

#, as written by Elision
Image

Image
ImageX
Image
ใ€ŒMaeda.Katsuoใ€
Dialogue โœฎ #A60A00
Thoughts โœฎ #D65E0D





It would seem the Gold clansmen had struck a cord with the boy. A string of coughs exited their mouth. Maybe she was sick? Or maybe he had been wrong to give them the cigarette? No, it was more likely that he had hit on a sore topic.

The character glanced up at him for a moment, still not responding to his question. Honestly, he was beginning to wonder whether or not this person had engaged in conversation with another person before. It seemed like that they had no clue how to act, or maybe it was just Katsuo's mastery in the category that made that seem like the case.

Having finally settled in a position with his hands covering his face, Katsuo was confident that they were trying to hide their tears. They probably didn't want him to them crying, not even lowering his mask to give a silent nod in return. He couldn't help but take pity on them, something was obviously weighing on them, and it seemed like that thing involved the loss of someone close to them.

Against his better judgement that was suggesting that the subject of his sympathy was likely just a con artist of some sorts, Katsuo gently placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. Moments later he sucked them into a full blown hug. As he lingered in it for a moment, he hoped it didn't seem weird or like he was trying to molest them or anything. This could very easily end in a call to the police, if the stranger was the type to do that kind of thing, and he would have no defense.

Eventually, he released the boy. Remembering what he was there for and the sister he had left back at the funeral home door.
"I'm sorry. I really can't stay around much longer, my sister is waiting for me. If you don't have anywhere to go you can come with us, I wouldn't want to leave you alone while you're upset."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki

0.00 INK

No.

No.

What is this supposed to be?

This is the exact opposite of what I thought would happen!

Is this some joke? Do I really not understand people this much?

He's supposed to be a gruff, something or other, person that doesn't do things like this!

SO WHY IS HE TOUCHING ME?


Hibiki was stuck. Her eyes, hidden by her hands, needed moisture yet her blinking was to no effect and her lungs, while inflating and deflating all the same, seemed to be failing at the only job they were tasked with. The vomit that had threatened escape just before seemed to be trapped in her throat, hot and eating its way into her with acids. There was something on her shoulder that was inhibiting every bodily function that could assist in this situation. The only thing that this inhibitor had increased the effects of was her heartbeat, which had sped up to such high levels that she felt that if she stood she'd die from dizziness.

All she needed to do was say, "Don't." ... but things never were that simple for her, were they?

Her hands left her burning face and one slowly dipped down and twitched above the pocket that held her spare change. This isn't an act of prostitution, she stopped herself with a sudden logical thought, If I pay him to leave me, that would be suspicious - or in a situation like this, would the money be an invitation for prostitution? Paying for acts of intimacy - but I want to pay him to leave me - but he'll obviously get the wrong idea - would he be disgusted or would he try to - what has prostitution have to do with a hand on my shoulder? Obviously, I'm taking this to the extreme and should -

WHHHSOHFIOHFOIFOISNFLSNVIOSVNLKHVSIODHGFNSVVNLK


Two arms were encasing her like a spider spinning its next meal into a neat package. And it wasn't just arms - no, it was more than that. He had to lean to follow through with this action, his lengthy body curling over, a structure about to flatten her. She became all too aware that the side of her head was touching his chest and there was a crackling static in the air that surrounded her and caused her hairs to raise. He was zapped by this energy a dozen times but was apparently not bothered by the static and Hibiki was too timid for her powers to respond to this with something greater, and besides, anything bigger than static couldn't be written off as normal. She couldn't let him know of her allegiance - wait, would that make him leave her? This was lasting too long, now. Long enough for Hibiki's thoughts to slow down and become comprehensible.

Can he hear my heart beating? she stressed, Or can he feel how hot my skin is? It had become very, very uncomfortable within her cocoon of many layers. His heart is beating at a normal pace. So this was a normal thing? Was she reacting too out of the ordinary? Could he tell? And his hands are cool. So this was completely normal? But - not for this man, not Maeda Katsuo of Timeless Palace! The only person she knew who experienced this action from him was his sister! Please do not hear me. I can hear everything in you. His heartbeat, his breathing, the slight sounds of his insides all working together to digest, convert, filter, live...

I'm not scared, she squeezed her eyes shut and lied, I'm not scared, I'm not scared, I'm not...

"Mm-hg!" a muffled sound escaped her tightened lips and she jolted suddenly, her bags sliding from her lap and spilling onto the ground. Panic at exposing her panic seized her and

And it was over.

She lifted her head up suddenly, a desperate joy filling her chest. She could hear him saying something but she was too elated by freedom and beyond listening. She immediately dropped to the ground, getting some much needed distance between her and the man and starting to pick up everything that had fallen - some groceries, deodorant, a cat-head lolly dispenser for someone who was not her, tampons (thank goodness she had collected those before this man had seen them, how embarrassing) and - Rose Gold volume 4? Where was it?

She looked up to see the cover, two shirtless princes entangled in roses and bedsheets, in the man's hands. She stared. Then everything went red. She was sweating profusely from the events before and now it was evaporating from the sheer heat of her body temperature.

"...don't have anywhere to go you can come with us, I wouldn't want to leave you alone while you're upset."

THAT'S THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT I WANT! She internally lamented as she face planted onto the ground. She really didn't read him correctly at all, did she?

Wait. She thought, still on the ground in this manner, This is a way out of here. Would leaving with a Gold clansman draw too much attention? If we go quietly, it's a fast way out. No, his appearance attracts attention. No, he's acting too suspiciously. No, I'm the one acting suspiciously. I just want to leave. Are there any people where he's going? She couldn't ask him that, that was too paranoid thus too suspicious. So, he doesn't want to leave me. A simple choice, decline or leave with the member of an enemy clan. How much to I want to go? Stop. Enough to make me sick. Of course she was going to decline, she could make it through the city and the people herself... she could force her way through that thriving hoard of humanity... Does he have a car?

Change of plans. She picked herself off the ground.

"You... *grunt* ... You have a car?" She scratched the back of her neck and tried to avoid his scary red gaze. "Th-Then, I'm, I'm, going. Yeah, I'm coming." The manga! "Ahhh..." Does she take it from him? He'd been holding it! "K-K-Keep it! Yeah, do that. I don't, uh, it's for, someone. My, uh, Yoko. Yeah, Yoko. Er... yours, now, she can't... read, she's a ham..." Don't tell him that she's a hamster. "... so, um. Plot is really sweet, so... if you want to, ergh, have a summary, um..." her babbling trailed off, her eyes glazing over and growing more dead the longer she continued. She caught herself and clenched her fists with determination, bowing her head and declaring in a disjointed, robotic tone, "Yes. I am sad and I want to... go with you."

Why did it feel so much more embarrassing to say that compared to everything else?