Author Topic: Nothing Personal  (Read 678 times)

Minoko Funaki

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Nothing Personal
« on: September 26, 2014, 02:03:59 AM »
August 5th, 2014

It was silent except for the click of the lock behind her and the light pattering of rain against cobblestone. Lightning flashed, but the sound of thunder was absent for now. Minoko glanced south, in the direction of home, and then north, in the direction of the marketplace. She missed Emlen's apartment in WestEnd. It had been a nice middle point between Motoko's and the Black Scorpion. The twin's words sat in her mind, making an already awful situation cause her further unease. Things were worse if she couldn't change them at all. Minoko despised the idea of being a wife left in waiting. She twisted at the pair of rings that sat on her left hand and, after another moment of consideration, headed north. A stop at the Red Dragon would cheer her up, maybe.

From back aways, the dead eyes of the vehicle watched her. Once she got on what could be considered roadside, the lights blared, but he was hidden round a corner, so the sudden flash would be out of sight to her. He slowed out of the corner, the sharpened silver ride--no doubt paid for by one of his cougars--inched slowly across the stone. Soon, he'd be pulling up next to her like the creeper that he was. The window rolled down, and he peered out. "Minoko, right?"

The crash of thunder followed its long ago visual the very instant that Minoko became aware of the metal hunk that was creeping towards her. Minoko, yes. Her wide, nervous eyes darted over to the driver. His name wasn't coming to her, but she remembered that face. He was the boy from Sama, Emlen's fan. A slow nod was given before she started to examine his vehicle. She hated it, like she did every automobile except for Emlen's precious pickup. Still, hate or not, it was worth her attention. That much metal was always worth her attention. She dreamt of the ways she could tear it apart.

Those easy dusted eyes found their way to her, and then he smiled that unforgivable smile. Anyone who knew him, which was no one at all, would know it spoke tales of murder, and betrayal. To someone like Minoko, and everyone else, it seemed beautiful, every tooth perfectly shaped, perfectly sewn together to display flawlessness between his lips. "Why are you walking in the rain?"

"...I forgot my umbrella." She was always forgetting that damn thing. Minoko's gaze wandered skyward then, as if she was noticing the rain for the first time. It seemed that she was numb to whatever power, charming or threatening, his gaze held. "Why are you driving in the rain?"

A hand disappeared down to retrieve something by the door, and when he brought it back into view, a cigarette was fastened to his lips. He chuckled past it, as he lit it and inhaled, drawing the small scorching tip into a full blown cherry. He spoke through it, looking up at her with a boyish grin and offering a small shrug. "I have nowhere to be, so why not?"

Minoko stared curiously at the cigarette. Between Emlen, Motoko and Patrick it felt like she was always surrounded by swirls of smoke. "I guess I don't have anywhere to be either." Teeth sank into the inside of her cheek as she wondered whether or not that was true. She'd find out sooner or later. With the inn staffed and her sister busy with children that refused to sleep, it all came down to her husband.

"Well, how about I take you home? Or to the bar? Wherever you want to be, really. Like I said, I don't have anywhere to be..." the well-spoken tramp said in a puff of smoke. "Or, I could walk with you... Or give you an umbrella, I'm sure a pretty thing like you has better things to do than sit outside a car in the rain, talking to some nobody."

Though the woman was usually dumb enough to do such a thing, tonight Minoko didn't respond well to flattery. The right corner of her mouth twitched in an expression of unease. Sure, she wasn't the ugliest thing around, but wet clothes and a morose attitude usually didn't add up to pretty. "Did you ever run into Emlen?" Minoko had listened to the boy and kept his presence in Rhy'Din a secret. Maybe she shouldn't have.

"Not yet..." Aloysius said, and let a sad, sensitive little expression overcome his face for a moment. "I'm kind of nervous, to be honest. Emlen was kind of a mentor to me. Which was an odd match, given I was a handler, and he, a weapon. I failed my village, Minoko." The boy opened up, finally. Though it was all a facade, it was still true. "I let him die. It's hard for me to face him, anyone from Sama."

Sensitivity was apparently far more effective than flattery. Minoko's gaze shifted to the boy's eyes, and Aloysius would feel that she was really looking at him for the first time that night. "But isn't that how it's supposed to be? The weapon dying for his handler, I mean. I don't see how you failed..." Emlen was the supposed failure. She thought of Novia, dead in her original form but alive in Myles's body. Minoko's stare grew distant.

"It is... But when everyone seems to think that you murdered your best friend, and they accuse you of it daily... Well, I'm sure you can imagine that being a different story. Even still, the Sama rules... They're outdated... There's no honor in losing your partner, Minoko... It doesn't matter what side they're on, handler, weapon... It shouldn't happen. Not to anyone." A final drag was taken from the cigarette, and he flicked it out of the car, but away from her.

Well that was quite a twist on the classic Sama tale of loss. Minoko took Aloysius's flick of a cigarette butt as an excuse to look away from him. Her gaze followed the filter into a nearby puddle. "I'm sorry... I can't even imagine why they would think something like that..." The image of Sama's graveyard flashed in her mind. She wondered if she had passed the grave of his fallen weapon in her attempt to locate Novia's tombstone.

Aloysius threw his hand and shrugged. "My fault," he said heartlessly, pretending he didn't care. "I was a troubled kid... Didn't take kindly to anyone, but Emlen...and my weapon of course... I gave nobody any reason to believe I didn't do it." Except his word. He hated them. He hated everyone in that village.

Hate was a strong word, but Minoko would be lying if she said that she wasn't on a similar path when it came to the people of Sama. Clara's actions hadn't helped, of course. As far as Minoko was concerned, all the good citizens of that damned village had already left. "I'm sorry," was said for a second time. "They don't like me at all either. I'd like to visit, to meet Emlen's mother and all that, but..." She grimaced down at wet feet, cradled by sandals. "I'm pretty sure it's not going to happen."

"Yeah, they're outdated in their ways, like I said..." Aloysius mumbled softly, "They hate outsiders, difference... Think they can make people marry who they think they should marry..." A soft sigh escaped his lips and he jerked his eyes away. "Anyways, new subject... I hate thinking about that damned place."

Minoko pushed some damp strands of hair out of her face when she looked back to the boy. At the mention of marriage she thought to how Emlen had reacted when they first spoke of his 'engagement' to Orchid. Were the elders' arrangements a source of unease for everyone? She had thought it was only Emlen. "So you had a village fianc? too then?" Finally, finally the woman smiled. It appeared that Aloysius's sigh and request for a new subject had managed to cheer Minoko up just a bit. "Oh! We can talk about...food." What else was there to talk about?

"Food," Aloysius said softly, and tossed the car into park. He fished around in his pocket to make sure something was still there, and then shut the car off, leaving the window down and the keys in the ignition. He stepped out, and leaned against the car. "I may as well get wet, too. What's your favorite food?"

How could she pick just one food?! Sushi was what came to mind, but that didn't really answer the question. There were so many different kinds of sushi rolls that claiming sushi as a favorite food just felt like a cop out. She tried to narrow it down by arranging a perfect plate in her head. "Umm... I think if I have to pick one I'll say grilled shrimp. How about you?"

"Oh man... I guess I'd pick tacos? There's nothing better than a taco." Was there an innuendo in his words? More than likely, judging by that smirk that settled across his features. Still, the boy loved tacos. It was a shame, though... He really liked this girl. It sucked that he had to knock her out and drag her back to his place like a primal caveman.

Whoosh! That was the sound of the taco joke going right over Minoko's head. The Asian smiled brightly because she, too, enjoyed tacos. Just not the kind that Aloysius was talking about. "We should get some shrimp tacos then! Doesn't that sound good? With sake, maybe..." Any booze would do, really. She wasn't picky.

Aloysius smiled, "Shrimp tacos sound amazing. Go ahead and hop in, I'll drive until we find a place." They did sound amazing, and he'd like nothing more. Business, however, came before pleasure.  So if she turned to circle around to the passenger's side, he'd go ahead and fish that rag right out of his deep pocket, and attempt to grab her from behind, and knock her out as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Minoko's smile wavered, but it didn't have to do with any suspicions regarding Aloysius. His name had made its way back to the surface of her mind in the last few minutes. She could remember the way he had politely sounded it out for her. So, even though Minoko wasn't very excited about getting into the boy's car, she cooperated. The Asian started to circle around the vehicle and soon found a rag being pressed to the lower half of her face. She wasn't too familiar with this abduction tactic, but the chemical fumes were enough to alert her that something wasn't quite right. Minoko wriggled in Aloysius's grasp and immediately started to bring a dagger to life in the grip of her right hand. It was as she fell unconscious that the boy would feel it sinking into his stomach, and yet the entirely metal thing wasn't finished. It was dull, more handle than blade, more fitting for a poke than a stab. There hadn't been enough time to panic or properly create. There had only been a window to try. Her tries never seemed to be good enough. A pitiful sounding breath was exhaled into the rag as she slumped back into her opponent's arms.

Aloysius caught the woman and smiled softly though it was of a sad nature, sprawled out across his expression. "I'm sorry, beautiful..." the man whispered and lifted her bridal style, popping open the rear door and laying her across the seat. A few hairs were brushed out of her face as he admired it, and then he drew his eyes away, stole away the fondness from his own mind. "Let's get you out of the rain..."

The not-quite-a-dagger clattered to the cobblestone as her body went entirely limp. It would be the only evidence that she had ever been here, though her fingerprints would probably wash off the misshapen metal object with the rain that continued to fall. If there was any life left in the woman then she might have pondered why Aloysius would call her beautiful. At the same time she probably would have been trying to injure herself in an attempt to let Emlen know something was wrong. Unfortunately, none of that occurred. Minoko was completely still on the car seat. Chloroform might just be her new drug of choice, because the damp beauty looked surprisingly serene.
[img:ac4ccb478f]https://66.media.tumblr.com/132c5066959875bc460d8f587e94ad6c/tumblr_moilapx6dc1sw5m5io1_400.gif[/img:ac4ccb478f]
[i:ac4ccb478f]And you're a cherry blossom
You're about to bloom
You look so pretty, but you're gone so soon[/i:ac4ccb478f]

Minoko Funaki

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Re: Nothing Personal
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2014, 06:20:39 PM »
On the couch of the basement, Minoko was placed. She might feel a bit of soreness in her neck, where he had injected the specially designed serum to strip her of those bothersome powers, but other than that, she'd feel no injuries or pain. He'd been as careful as ever with her, and had even picked up shrimp tacos for when she woke. The windows were too small for any adult to leave, and the door was bolted from the other side, needing a key. The basement in question was furnished, painted, and not a stereotypical basement. It even had a bar, though glasses and bottles were locked carefully away.

There was no soreness. There might have been if Minoko's remaining superpower, the one borrowed from her husband, hadn't lingered in her blood. It was immediately when the woman woke that she knew something wasn't right. That something wasn't her location, though. She sat up on the couch, opened her eyes and examined her surroundings. Her gaze lingered on the doorway. There had to be a metal lock. She concentrated on the door's inner workings, but there was no pink glow leaking from the keyhole. It had to just not be metal. Minoko had no idea how many metal-like substances existed in the universes linked to Rhy'Din. She looked down to her ring finger, the sure thing. Both her wedding ring and engagement ring were pulled off and tossed into the air. They fell sadly to the floor a moment later, uncaught. So it had finally happened. Minoko stared wildly down at the discarded jewelry. This was what Mayu had threatened so long ago. It had finally happened. She stood, retrieved her rings and headed for the door. The bond was still there. It pulsed through her, unlike her elemental abilities. What was that bastard's name? She couldn't remember it again. But it would come to her. It would come when she saw his ****ing face. With a balled up right fist, Minoko swung hard at the door. A soft whimper came from the woman in response to the pain that was quick to leave her. Then another punch came. This would continue either until she got some sort of response from Emlen or until her kidnapper revealed himself.

Aloysius had been behind the bar, laying there with his back against the wall, quiet as a church mouse. "Nobody's going to answer that door," he finally called out, and pushed himself into a standing position as he leaned against the bartop and drummed his fingers on it. "So why don't we have a chat? Sit down, have a taco. Can I get you a drink? I know you like them..." There was a terrible grin on his face as he watched and waited for her response.

Minoko visibly trembled when Aloysius decided to speak up. She hated him even more for frightening her like that. "...You knocked me out and stripped me of my powers just so we could talk?" Her dark eyes wandered his way for just a second. She saw that terrible smile and then looked to the floor with clenched fists. "We were talking before."

"Yeah, we were." Aloysius nodded and then chuckled as he shook his head in the other direction. "It's so much more fun this way, though... Don't you think? Sorry about the powers. I promise, though... It's only temporary. Couldn't have you chaining me up, you know?"

"Fun for you, maybe..." Relief coursed through her when Aloysius claimed that the state of her powers was only temporary. Who knew if he was being honest, though? She told herself that she was silly, that there was no point in believing anything he said, and reclaimed her spot on the couch. Fingernails were stuck digging into her palms. She hadn't given up on her attempt to alert Emlen just yet. "I am good at chaining people up." There was none of the flirtatious humor that would have normally been attached to that sentence. It was said in a dead, matter-of-fact way.

There was some rustling, clanking and such behind the bar, before he popped his head up to look at her, and then he smiled. "I'm sure you were, but I made sure not to leave any chains lying around, and I made sure that your little...gift was out of the picture," the boy said as he moved to sit next to her. A plastic cup of whiskey was handed over, and then he jingled the bag of tacos. "Shrimp tacos, I know you're hungry... I also know you're hurting yourself to bring your boy-toy here to rescue you. You should know that I was counting on it, I want him here. I'm going to cut off his head until it stops growing back. So we may as well eat."

Minoko eyed the cup of whiskey for a few moments before deciding to take it from the Samalian. What would slapping it out of his hand do, other than waste what she assumed was good alcohol? Lips parted as she thought to make a comment about the tacos. Then Aloysius revealed his plans concerning Minoko's 'boy-toy', and she froze. The crescent moons dug into her left palm gained some relief when her fingers seemed to automatically give up on their task. "He's my husband... A little more than a boy-toy. And want do you want him dead for? Was he not a good enough mentor to you?" She grimaced and tossed the cup back. The whiskey was rolled around in her mouth to determine that it tasted average enough before she dared to swallow it down.

Aloysius chuckled softly and set the bag next to her. "I guess you can know, not sure what difference it'll make at this point." A taco was fished from the bag, unwrapped, and bitten into. "I wasn't bulls***ting you, Minoko... My weapon died, and everybody, everybody thought that I did it. All of my so-called friends whispered, even my fianc?. I really did love her, you know... Wasn't my choice to be engaged to her, but I would have been happy. Emlen, he was the only one, I think, that believed me. The only one I had. Then his handler died, and everyone turned on him, too. So he ran, from everyone... He left me there to deal with everything. Maybe it's petty... But it's going to feel so good to kill him."

The kidnapee chuckled as well, though it was a harsh noise clearly devoid of humor. "Maybe it's petty? You're going to repeatedly try to kill my husband, an immortal, because he left the village and didn't take you with him?" There was a pause as Minoko examined the boy's face. Then came a question that sounded almost like an accusation. "How old are you, anyway?"

"I'm going to kill him because he ran like a coward. I stuck around, through the accusations, through the pain, and the first thing he did was run." Aloysius began laughing lightly, "He didn't even think that I was going through the same thing he was. At least he was a failure in their eyes, I was a ****ing murderer in their eyes. Now? Now I'm going to be one for real. Sama is going to burn, not by my hand, but it's going to be satisfying all the same... And I'm nineteen years old." A late response was thrown out after his long rant.

It wasn't an easy thing to hear someone say all sorts of terrible things about her husband. Minoko's eyes wandered to a window as her mind wandered to the Emlen she had met over a year ago. "He probably didn't take you with because you were a child of what...? Sixteen, seventeen? I'm sure it wasn't personal."

Aloysius slammed his hand down on the coffee table, and glared in her direction, raising his voice for the first time in a while. "It was personal to me!" Then he stood, and turned his back to her. "It doesn't matter... He'll come for you, and when he does..." Shadows that were once tattoos slithered down his arm and focused on his closed fist. "He'll die."

The delicate thing, who tried so hard to be stone-faced and strong, flinched when Aloysius's hand met the coffee table. Was he going to hit her now? Really hit her? A fear pulsed through her, not of the damage that her blood blessed body would take, but of Emlen coming to her rescue. That slither of shadows was all it took for Minoko to get a real grasp on the situation. "No... No, that's... You're the...?" Her head cocked slightly to the side, disbelieving. She didn't want to string those two words together. Shadow was always going to be a name to her. It wasn't right.

"As if that thing could pull all of this off. No, I'm not him. I made a deal with him, so I have a portion of his powers, his abilities...." With a little wiggle of fingertips, he allowed the tattoos to retake their place. "My goal is to kill Emlen, pick off Sama after Solaris' attack and let the whole place burn... Also, make everyone Emlen loves suffer. I already started with that sister of his." There was that smirk again, as he plopped down on the couch. That ***.

"You made a deal with that...?" Why the hell did she sound so shocked? She didn't even know this boy. "He's the person that killed Em's handler. You know that, right? He's the reason why everything's...?" Minoko made a frenzied gesture, then huffed and crossed her arms. She would hate a world where the man of shadows didn't exist, because in that world Emlen would surely be happily married to Novia. Still, it was wrong. All wrong. A question lingered on her lips, but the mention of a sister made her forget any idea of her own suffering. "What did you do to Phoenix?" It could have been Martyr, sure. Phoenix seemed like the obvious answer to an attack, though.

"Phoenix? No... The shy one? The vulnerable one..." Aloysius opened his mouth to yell about what he did to her, but it didn't really seem that upsetting. Either way, he chuckled. "You know, I didn't really do anything bad. I just... Brought out that really dirty side of her. You know, as shy as she plays, as virtuous as she seems. That girl begs for it..." There was a soft smile as he looked down at his tattooed hand.

"You ****ed Martyr?" For the time being Minoko was going to choose to not believe the boy. Seeing Aloysius and Martyr tangled together in a bedroom just seemed like too much of an impossibility. She scoffed and downed the remainder of her whiskey. "Yeah, and I ****ed Solaris. Prove it."

Aloysius rolled his eyes. He fished out his phone and began to go through the gallery of photos. His thumb swiped across his collection of photos, most downloaded, some taken for leverage. Then he pulled up a picture of Martyr, lying in the bed. She was sleeping, with the blankets covering her important bits--but it was clear that she was in her underwear. It was clear that he was welcome in her bedroom. "Proof enough?"

Minoko swallowed and placed her empty cup to the side before taking the phone. This sure felt familiar... She half expected to see her own face staring back in the photo, eyes wide and a mouth, filled with Emlen's ancient excitement, wider. But that wasn't it. Though the picture wasn?t nearly as bad as she had imagined, it got the point across. A tight-lipped frown appeared as she handed the device back over to Aloysius. "Fine... I get it. But that still doesn't look like suffering to me."

"Nah, I kept her happy. It's when she wanted to cuddle, and do all the coupley **** that I walked out and put a sad look on her face. I'll do better next time, that one was more for me." Aloysius said as he leaned back and looked over at her with a chuckle. "Anyways, it doesn't matter... My main goal, well... We both know I'll achieve that."

"You won't achieve ****... You don't know how Emlen fights now. He's stronger than ever, and he knows how to deal with...shadows." Her dark eyes judgmentally ran over the boy's tattoos during the pause in her speech. "So how do I get to suffer? Are you going to **** me, or just make me watch as you try to kill my husband?"

"Aw, honey..." A hand, if allowed would run down her cheek. "We both know that me ****ing you wouldn't make you suffer." The boy said and chuckled softly. "I'm sure you'll be suffering plenty when I kill him. And I'm sorry for that. Really. You have no reason to listen to a word I say, but I really do like you. It sucks that you're getting dragged into this."

The hand was allowed, but only for a second. Minoko's wrist snapped up in an attempt to knock Aloysius's touch away. "****ing you would be torture. And why the hell do you like me anyway? Is it my deep love for my husband that won you over?" Onyx oculars rolled as she looked back to the window. Minoko was fighting an incoming blush, fighting and losing.

"Honey, reverse psychology doesn't work on me. I'm not going to **** you." There was a small smirk as he leaned back against the couch. "I like you... Hmm... Why do I like you? You're an alcoholic human with the power to control metal... The fact that it was so easy to strip tells me that you weren't born with it. So, you sit, and you drink, and you walk through a world full of dragons, monsters and fools... You should have died years ago." Aloysius wasn't sugar-coating ****. "It's a miracle that you're alive right now, maybe it's dumb luck, or maybe you're just one strong ****ing human... I think it's both. Luck can only take someone so far, one has to have will to survive, will to keep trying. You're like me, Minoko. You're a survivor, you're smart, despite the fact that you can't read. You're pretty, despite the fact that you won't let anyone tell you so. You're funny, despite the fact that you usually don't mean to be. Should I go on?"

Minoko might not have had the most extensive vocabulary in the world, but she knew what reverse psychology was. What part of newly married didn't this guy understand? Lips parted in a dumb gape that didn't have any words hidden behind it. That was when he started. She hadn't meant it in the same way she had when she asked it to Emlen's double. Why, why was she loved? Why was it that this man who was little more than a stranger seemed to have her all figured out? She listened carefully as he wove a tapestry of her life, of her entire state of being. It was all correct. She could deny certain parts, like being smart and pretty, but what good would that do her? He knew things about her that he shouldn't have. Minoko wondered if these were the same reasons that Emlen cared for her and ignored the heart that thudded away so recklessly in her chest. "...I'm very lucky. That's all." Yes, that was all she could think to say. The woman ignored the urge to move over to the bar and instead started to nervously crack her knuckles. Intrusive pops rang out in the basement room.

"Keep telling yourself that, killer." The boy said and grinned lightly. She might have ignored the urge, but he hadn't. He needed a drink as if it was nobody's business. "Want another?" The boy asked as he held his hand out to retrieve the cup.

Black eyes lingered on the empty cup for several seconds before Minoko gave in and reluctantly handed it over to the boy. "How do you know all those things about me? I feel like... I feel like I didn't tell you all of that. But I might be wrong, I guess." There were times where she was so drunk that everything didn't piece itself together properly in her memory. She had been drunk the first time she had met Aloysius, very much so. Had she held herself together, or had she spilled? All she could remember were the syllables of his name, the patterns of his tattoos and the way he had abruptly disappeared into the night. Don't tell Emlen... She should have ****ing told Emlen.

"There are some things that don't need to be told, Minoko. How about we just leave it at that?" Aloy said with a smile as he refilled her glass, nice and high and then made one up of his own. Her cup was passed back over to her the second he crossed the room, and then he sat down with a nod.

Minoko sipped at the whiskey after she had taken the cup carefully into both hands. She really didn't want to be drunk when Emlen showed up, but it felt like the whiskey was the only thing keeping her reasonable. "If you say so..." The woman examined her cup for a minute or two before glancing around the area. "Bathroom?"

Aloysius pointed toward a door that tucked away a laundry room, a toilet, and a sink. "Just through that door." As funny as it would be to watch her piss herself, he didn't feel like cleaning up that mess.

She hadn't quite fallen to Akane's level just yet. Minoko lifted herself off the couch and walked to the bathroom with her cup in hand. Though Aloysius had poured the drink originally, it still seemed unwise to leave it behind. She leaned back to shut the door behind her and examined the space. Of course there was no way to get out... Had she really expected there to be a big open window? No, of course not. But still... Emlen was really taking his time, wasn't he? She placed her cup on the sink and took a quick break to use the bathroom for what it was made for. The toilet was flushed, and in that moment she attempted to rattle the faucet using the metal controlling powers that she was supposed to have. No luck. Minoko then let out a low grumble, washed her hands, grabbed her cup and exited her only hope. She didn't want to sit back on that couch. Not knowing where else to be, the woman wandered over to the area behind the bar and stood there, just like it was any other day and any other bar.

Aloysius smiled softly and leaned back. "Sorry, about this. I really am. Maybe one day you'll forgive me." Maybe not. Minoko would be able to feel that Emlen was nearing. The blood bond was something else. She'd know he was coming, and he'd know that he was getting closer. Closer. Not yet there, but not long now.

"You know, I could forgive you right now if you would just let me leave." Minoko smiled sweetly and started to swirl the whiskey around in its cup. It appeared that the alcohol was starting to settle into her system or at least that she was trying a different approach with her kidnapper. A single hand fell under the bar as soon as she felt Emlen growing closer. In half a warning and half a hello, she slipped her hand inside her yukata and dragged her nails hard along her stomach.

Aloysius shook his head. "Sorry, beautiful. That one I can't do. As soon as Emlen gets here, you're free to go. Nice try, though."

They really needed to work on signals... All that Emlen got from that was to hurry his *** up. He was pulling into the driveway now. "This is crazy... I hope she's okay... What if I'm just barging into some random person's house?" Then he scoffed, continuing the conversation with himself. "Tch, wouldn't be the first time."

"Do I seem like the kind of person who would leave as soon as her husband arrived?" Fingernails that weren't lingering at her stomach tapped along the bartop. She stared intently at the boy. Though she refused to acknowledge his compliments, Aloysius might notice a smoldering resentment deep in her gaze. Em was so close, but the longer that Aloysius didn't know that the better.

Emlen stepped into the house, and Aloysius was immediately tipped off. The floorboards creaked lightly above them, and he gave a quick wink to Minoko. "I guess it's showtime," he said with a grin as he listened for the boy, exploring the house, to find the basement.

Showtime. Her heartbeat quickened once again. She sank a bit lower behind the bar and shifted her hand to the emptiness above her heart. "What are you going to do to him exactly?" Minoko wanted details, wanted the villain's explanation while the protagonist came to save her. If she could distract Aloysius in any little way without putting Emlen in an even worse position then she would do so.

Aloysius smiled softly, because he knew that explaining himself would be his downfall. "Again... Nice try, beautiful...but you'll see..." The basement door cracked open and he took a step back, opening his hand as his tattoos seemed to vibrate on his arm.

Wide eyes narrowed on Aloysius's tattoos, and Minoko would have grabbed for the nearest liquor bottle in response had the boy not thought far ahead. All the glass was locked away, and he had given her a goddamn plastic cup. There was no metal, no glass, nothing for her to work with in this stripped down version of a bar. All she had to try and aid Emlen in this fight was her body and her voice. "Em, it's Aloysius! He has shadows!" She had even managed to pronounce the boy's name properly in her hasty warning. He should be proud. Minoko backed against the wall and bit down hard on her bottom lip, hoping that the pain would keep her alert and give her back the bloodstained ability that she hadn't needed for a long time now.
[img:ac4ccb478f]https://66.media.tumblr.com/132c5066959875bc460d8f587e94ad6c/tumblr_moilapx6dc1sw5m5io1_400.gif[/img:ac4ccb478f]
[i:ac4ccb478f]And you're a cherry blossom
You're about to bloom
You look so pretty, but you're gone so soon[/i:ac4ccb478f]

Minoko Funaki

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Re: Nothing Personal
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2014, 05:27:44 PM »
Aloysius looked over at her and scoffed lightly. Even he knew that that wasn't enough information... What the hell was Emlen supposed to do with that? Fingers drummed lightly on the tabletop, and he waited for a moment as Emlen worked the outside locks and pulled the door open. "Aloysius?" he called down. "How do you know Aloysius? And everybody has a shadow, Minoko," he said as he started down the stairs. "Are you alright?"

If there was any bit of metal manipulation left in the woman then she would have immediately cut both those dumb bastards apart. "Shadows like the ones that choke you and change you back." If he couldn't figure it out from those words, said so quickly that they were barely understandable, then she had no hope left in the boy. Black holes remained on Aloysius, the scoffing, unacting villain. She wouldn't look away, not even when Em would step into her field of vision. "You should leave, Emlen."

The immortal narrowed his eyes at Aloysius and squinted lightly. All he got out of that was Minoko telling him to leave. It didn't seem as if she was harmed, distraught or in danger at all.  There were no shadows... The only different thing about the boy was that he had been littered with tattoos. How did she know him? None of it added up..."What exactly is going on here, Minoko?" the boy asked as Aloysius drew closer to him. Emlen stood, unafraid, and much like Minoko's fixated gaze upon Aloysius, his had not left her for a second as he waited for an explanation.

"He took me after I left Motoko's and stripped me of my powers so he could lure you here and kill you." That summed it up rather nicely. She wanted so badly to look to Emlen, to properly melt beneath his gaze that burned an agonizing hole right through her body, but she felt like the second she looked away from Aloysius his tattoos would come to life. "I'm sorry. I should have..." What? Borrowed Aloy's cell phone? Drowned herself in the toilet to break the bond?  She bit down on her lip and tried to keep her face stony instead of shameful.

"Lure me here and kill me? What the heck are you talking about, Minoko? He's like my broth--" Apparently not, because while he was talking, the shadows came from Aloysius' arm and quickly made themselves into a black scythe. Shadows lashed out from it like ink spreading within clear water. He swung at Emlen's neck and the boy ran his chainsaw hand right into the blade. The grinding was quick to stop, and the top of his hand went flying off. There had been no pain, the cut had been clean and swift, and was already beginning to mend itself. "****! Really?!"

If Emlen thought Aloysius was like his brother then it was probably a good thing that Emlen didn't have any real ones. There had been no pain, of course, but that didn't stop Minoko from whimpering as she felt the sensation of a live limb disappear from her digits. She resisted the urge to scramble forward and retrieve the detached piece of Emlen. It meant nothing to him. It would grow back like a strand of hair, like a lizard's tail, like a damned weed. For seemingly no reason at all, Minoko slammed her right hand down on the bar top. It sent some genuine feeling back into her hand, and she was able to clench both fists after her momentary tantrum. She couldn't remember the last time she had been stuck in a situation like this, powerless and unarmed, but she could still throw a decent right hook from time to time. The Asian dashed out from behind the bar, picked up as much speed as she could in the finite area and then aimed a running punch for the back of Aloysius's head.

Aloysius stumbled forwards and let out a grunt. Turning towards her, he pulled back the scythe and swung to cut into her chest, his eyes burning with rage. Emlen was quick to spring into action and lift the girl up bridal-style, carrying her out of harm's way, moving across the room and jumping right over the loveseat. "Dammit, woman..." he whispered. If Minoko had paid any attention at all, though, she might have noted that Aloysius didn't follow through with the attack.

Minoko had been paying attention alright. It would have been far too irresponsible not to. Her fighting instincts apparently hadn't gotten the message about her powers being stripped, because the woman just stood there like an idiot, willing armor to cover her chest. No metal appeared, and Emlen would have been the only thing stopping her from being gutted if Aloysius had actually gone through with the attack. "He's bluffing," came out in a hiss as she watched the enemy over her husband's shoulder. "Maybe not with you, but... Let me fight."

Emlen's feet hit the floor, and he shook his head. "No, for a thousand reasons..." the boy whispered softly. "I don't know what the hell he did to himself, but this isn't the guy I know, Minoko. I'm not going to fight him, and neither are you. Besides, if he's not bluffing, we'll both ****ing die..." The boy mumbled softly and set her down near the steps.

"Then who is he? He seems to know you..." Minoko's nervous whispering died down as she stared curiously over at Aloysius. Her right hand, starting to throb with a delayed ache, shamelessly clung to Emlen's arm. She wished that she had the chainsaw bracelet on her arm. It would have answered a silly question in her mind. "He knows me, too." A fear pounded in the Asian, but it wasn't of Aloysius. That boy seemed more wounded than anything to her.

The immortal attempted to pry his wife away from his arm. "Yeah... We'll talk about that later," Emlen mumbled softly, because he had some questions of his own. Emlen's pupils dissolved as he looked over at Aloysius, that was his soul alright, but there was something off about it, something he'd recognized. "Idiot..."

Minoko's gaze snapped to Emlen in a brief moment of resentment. She wasn't even allowed to touch him after she had been ****ing kidnapped? Shackles flashed on his wrists, but only in her past trapped imagination. "What? Who?" It was probably her... It was almost always her.

Emlen was all happy and fine with touching, when there wasn't someone trying to cut his head off... The boy nodded over to Aloysius and put himself in front of Minoko, "...He sold his ****ing soul. Those shadows... They give him power, but they're going to consume him, and he ****ing knows it..."

"Not before I make everyone in Sama pay, starting with you..." Aloysius said with a nod. "I have a couple good years left ahead of me. The same can't be said for you, Emlen."

That phrase stuck in her mind. So the boy 'sold his soul'. Minoko swiftly sidestepped so she could stare past her husband at Aloysius. There was a moment where she attempted to read his aura, but then she remembered that her power of detection had disappeared with its sister, metal manipulation. "Do you mean that, um...literally?" She sounded almost concerned. The glare she directed at Aloysius next didn't match her soft tone in the slightest. Minoko had clung to Emlen's age old lie with all of her being. Emlen would never die.

Emlen stood his ground in front of his wife, as he held out his arms to block her. Not her view, just any chance of getting past her. "Yeah... He sold his soul, and cut off a huge portion of his life for whatever power he got... I hope it was worth it, Aloysius."

"It will be." The scythe dissipated and his own shadow stretched out, grabbing Emlen by his ankles and throwing him across the room. The boy hit the bar hard and rolled behind it. The loud thud rang out into the heavy air.

Minoko's body shook with her involuntary reaction to Aloysius's attack. Bluffing or not, that secondhand hit had clearly hurt the woman. "Was it really worth it...?" Her crumpled form straightened up, and she glared at the boy with a fresh fervor. "You'll get your couple good years in exchange for revenge. Is that just as good? You could be..." She shook her head. If he had made this deal then the boy had clearly given up on happiness a long time ago. Her words were wasted on him. Minoko's stance quickly shifted to a runner's pre-dash posture, and then she was off. She was useless like this, and she knew it, but if she could just call his bluff... The woman attempted to throw her weight, shoulder first, into Aloysius. Knocking him down would be ideal, and yet she wasn't so naive to expect as much.

Shadows encased the boy and soon, Minoko was tackling thin air. Aloysius reappeared behind the bar near Emlen. He didn't want to hurt Minoko, but if she fell on her face, it didn't seem like his problem. Shadows encased Emlen's throat, and he was pinned against the wall. "Fight back!" the boy hissed, and Emlen let his eyes fall to the side.

A face plant was narrowly avoided, and Minoko tottered for a second or two but didn't quite fall thanks to an exaggerated extension of arms that made it seem like she was about to take flight. So that was how he had gotten away from her almost instantly back at the inn. Shadows were powerful enough to carry him. The trade made a little more sense in her mind now that she knew about that extraordinary ability. "Was that what made it worth it? ****ing teleporting?" Minoko's hand came up to her neck when the shadows hit. She took a half step back and stared hard at Emlen before looking back to Aloysius. "It would make it so much easier if he hit you, huh? Would it feel like you were doing the right thing then?"

"No..." Aloysius mumbled softly and continued to hold him in place, shadows constricting around his throat a bit tighter. "But it'll make his death a lot less ****ing pathetic... Now stop talking... I won't hesitate to kill you, too, Minoko." Bluff or not, Emlen didn't seem to like hearing that. Blue eyes went black as the shadows confined him, and focused energy sent Aloysius through the bar.

Under normal circumstances Minoko would have shrieked at her husband for damaging such a sacred thing. To her every bar was precious, and no bar deserved to meet such an untimely fate. These were anything but normal circumstances, though. She resisted the urge to kick at debris and instead stood still, gazing blankly at the gap in the wood. Always wood. Never metal. "Emlen..." Use words. Names aren't words.

Emlen moved over to her and stood in front of her for only a second before grabbing her up in his arms and holding her close. He wouldn't give her much time to struggle, as he would be damn near suffocating her with those massive arms. "I love you..." he whispered.

It took far too much effort to lift her arms and wrap them around her husband accordingly. There was supposed to be a flood of emotion right now, wasn't there? Oceans of relief, maybe a wave or two of lust. But all she could feel was a trickle of sadness and a drop of affection. The woman shifted just a bit as she tried to confirm Aloysius's status on the ground.  A pang of guilt followed, so apparently she wasn't entirely numb. Her husband was clutching her close like he hadn't since... Since they had gotten married, probably. Her gaze moved up, and Minoko looked so hopelessly lost as she sought out her most familiar pair of blues. "I love you too, Em... You didn't have to..." More words were supposed to follow, but nothing came. Bangs bumped against his chest, and she inhaled deeply, searching for one or two of her favorite primal scents.

Emlen shook his head and kissed the top of her head. "If I know Aloysius, he'll be up and running in the next fifteen minutes... Let's get out of here." In about that time, the enemy had managed to slither up behind him from the shadows. Emlen's entire body tensed around her as the nose of the scythe slithered into his heart from his back. A soft grunt escaped his lips, as well as a bit of blood that would probably find its way to the top of Minoko's head if she didn't move.

Minoko didn't move. She couldn't. The scythe hadn't actually pierced her, but it might as well have. Her thin fingers grabbed fistfuls of Emlen's bloodied button-up as she released an anguished moan into his chest. The immortal's pulse was raining down on her so carelessly, just like the rain that had greeted her eons ago when she left her sister's. She sucked in another breath, though this time it sounded more like she was choking than taking in the atmosphere. He would have to fall soon. Playing the role of the dutiful wife, she'd fall with him.

The boy ripped the scythe away and stood there a moment, his cold eyes softening a bit as he watched the two fall together. Emlen's heart quit beating, and just like that, the bond would be severed. Aloysius would wait patiently for him to get up and fight again, taking a lean against a wall.

The severing of the bond was more painful than any traditional injury. Without Emlen's ghost of a heart beating around hers she felt empty. Sure, the Slane blood still thrived in her veins, but its presence without Emlen's made her feel like a damned thief. She clung to his body, waiting for the first signs of reconstruction to begin. When they did she would give a curt nod and rise to her feet. "...I'll kill you for that, you know." Slow steps were taken in the direction of the Samalian. Charging would do her no good if the bastard would just teleport to dodge every hit. Black holes refused to blink.

"I promise, beautiful... When I'm ready to die, I'll let you deliver that blow," he told her with a smile. "When these things consume me, well... It's probably going to be a lot more painful that anything you can do, so I have no problem letting you do me in." Emlen's heart began to sew itself back together, and he let out a soft grunt as he curled up on the floor, his wound working itself completely shut.
[img:ac4ccb478f]https://66.media.tumblr.com/132c5066959875bc460d8f587e94ad6c/tumblr_moilapx6dc1sw5m5io1_400.gif[/img:ac4ccb478f]
[i:ac4ccb478f]And you're a cherry blossom
You're about to bloom
You look so pretty, but you're gone so soon[/i:ac4ccb478f]

Minoko Funaki

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Re: Nothing Personal
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2014, 04:13:51 PM »
It was only when Emlen finally let out a noise that Minoko paused in her approach and glanced back at her husband. Finally the feelings came, better late than never. Relief joined hands with its dear friends, pain and endearment. Aloysius was still standing there with that undecipherable smile, though. This was a pause, not an end. "I'll just leave you alone then. It sounds like that would be the...the smarter thing to do." Minoko wasn't very good at being smart, despite what Aloy said, but she could always try. Her gaze darted in the direction of the bathroom before settling back on Emlen. It would be somewhat obvious that the woman had gotten an idea.

"We all know how you love doing the smarter things..." Aloysius said with a small chuckle, and peered down at Emlen. His wound closed up through the gaping hole in his shirt, and he began to get back up, eyes staring a hole through the ground.

"Bastard..." he mumbled slowly, and worked himself to his full height.

Anger burned in the woman's mind as Aloysius's words maintained a loop for only her. He was making fun of her. She hated herself for caring that he could go from destructively sweet to condescending. All of this was too much, and that was before Emlen had even stirred. Minoko winced when he spoke, cringed when the man stood. She wanted him to lie there until she could somehow fix everything. A few steps were taken back, and she blocked the path directly between the two Samalians. "So we're all going to die then? There's no way around this?" She quirked an eyebrow and glanced between the two in an absurdly nonchalant way.

Aloysius sighed softly, and reached out. A single strand of shadows would latch around her neck, and shepherd her toward the wall. "You're going to live," he whispered softly, doing everything in his power not to hurt her. Aloysius kicked his foot towards Emlen's head and sent him back to the ground.

There would be no living without Emlen. Aloysius should have been able to figure that one out by now. The woman thrashed wildly against the wall, clawing against the shadow latched to her neck like it was a simple piece of tape that could be ripped off and disposed of. "Will you ****ing let me go? It's not like I can...****ing...do anything!" The gaps in her speech were filled with the sound of her right foot slamming back into the wall. She'd smash through the thing, even if she was bloody and bruised by the time she was finished. Bones would snap back anyway.

Emlen started to get back up, and received another swift kick to the skull. He was silent as a shadow blade found its way into Aloysius' hand. "By the time you make it through the drywall and cement, he'll be dead, Minoko... And no, I won't let you go, not until it's over." The boy mumbled softly. A shadow latched around Emlen's throat, and he glared down. "Any last words?"
   
"Promise you won't ****ing hurt her..."
   
"You got it, brother." Aloysius said with a scoff, "But those are some pretty ****ty last words..." The boy buried the blade back into his heart.

That second kick to Emlen's head paired with Aloysius's discouraging words only served to make Minoko flail even harder. Last words? She waited for a soul blast to counter the ridiculous question. Instead, Emlen spoke and was impaled soon after. Minoko stilled then. In her heart she knew the bond had been severed, but her horror stricken mind had still expected to feel the blade's deadly caress. When the excruciating sensation didn't follow, Minoko resumed her careless thrashing against the wall. "You coward! That was my pain, and you took that from me! Emlen! Emlen!" Knuckles bruised as she smashed at her immediate surroundings. Bones splintered and fresh blood started to stain her skin when she went back to clawing at her neck. It was a good thing that Aloysius had chosen to restrain her in that fashion, because if he had picked her wrists to hold back then Minoko would likely be trying to chew her hands off. There was a point of insanity she had reached where she held no concern for her life. The only thing that mattered was ending Aloysius's.

Aloysius continued to restrict the immortal's throat, pulling out the blade and watching carefully as it healed. He grimaced lightly, but no breath was able to come to his lungs. The blade was pressed against the back of the boy's neck, as he pondered over the man's last words, and took a look at Minoko. His gaze softened, his hand trembled, and he stilled. It wouldn't take much to take off the boy's head, to kill him for good, and he knew that. Still, looking at her seemed to stall him in his methods, until he finally let the weapon melt back onto his arm, as well as the shadows. He backed up against his own corner of the wall, and took the shadows away from Minoko. "Get him the **** out of here. Now."

The unexpected release left Minoko hitting the ground hard and awkwardly. Pain shot up the ankles that were folded beneath her body at odd angles. She let out a noise that was part whimper and snarl before forcing herself to stand. "I'm really supposed to think that you just changed your ****ing mind?" Blood crept back into the deep scratches lining her neck while the woman spoke. Her right hand lingered at her collarbone while her left pressed back against the nearby wall for balance. Black holes darted frantically between Emlen and Aloysius as Minoko did her best to strategize.

"If I hadn't changed my mind, why would I have let you go? I could have easily killed him then and there... Now get him the **** out of here before I change my mind again! You're outmatched, girl. Go. Now." Aloysius said with heavy eyes sticking to her, his chest heaved with every heavy breath as he waited.

Of course she was outmatched; Aloysius had ****ing stripped her powers. With her burning glare now stuck on the man, Minoko stepped over to her husband, knelt down and lifted him into her arms. "Em, we've got to go. I'd carry you, but..." But she was incapable of making an Emlen sized metal carrier. Minoko wasn't sure if her husband could hear her or not. The words were more to spite Aloysius anyway.

Aloysius scoffed lightly. "For crying out ****ing loud! I give you a god damn golden ticket out of here, and he can't even move his god damn ***!" The boy yelled and stomped over towards them. He knew in his heart that it was his own damned fault, but with the emotions swimming around in his head, it was easier to pin the blame elsewhere.

"He can't move because you killed him...twice." When Aloysius approached Minoko hugged Emlen's head to her chest and stared at the boy with a pure loathing. "I guess this is your house then? Good to know..." The proper supplies to commit arson started to take shape in Minoko's mind. Gasoline as far as the eye could see.

Aloysius sighed softly, and kneeled down by her. "You should really learn to say thank you. You know that?" The boy asked, and rolled his eyes. Shadows melted through the floor, and unless Minoko gained some inhuman strength and pulled them out of the way, they'd be falling through.

Her mouth opened wide. She had intended on screaming at Aloysius, but instead Minoko just ended up screaming. The floor itself sucked her in, and for a moment there was only a lack of warmth coupled with terrifying darkness. She clung tightly to her bloodied rag doll of a husband. Minoko's eyes squeezed shut. She didn't open them back up until she could feel summer's warmth creeping back into her system. "Aloysius...?" Wrong name. She was in her bedroom, though, and Emlen's name probably wouldn't have done much for her.

Aloysius glared at her as he moved around her bedroom. Finally, he broke his gaze so that he could look around. "Yeah, you're welcome..." Bitch. The boy pulled open her dresser drawer. "Emlen. He uh, he grows his **** back and everything but he still has his limits. Don't let him do any heavy lifting for a while. He's an idiot, and I know he'll try."

"What did you do to him? Why the hell wouldn't he be able to lift things?" A better question might have been 'Why the **** are you going through my dresser drawer?' or perhaps a 'What in the world makes you think I should be thanking you?' Minoko stared at the man's back and then glanced in the direction of her closet. She thought of the katana that sat inside before dismissing the idea entirely. To try and stab Aloysius she'd have to move away from Emlen. Minoko wouldn't let go of her husband until she was one-hundred percent certain that he'd be alright.

"Because he got stabbed in the heart twice? Are you stupid? Damn... He might heal, but that blood doesn't come back right away." Aloysius shrugged and sighed. "This is why I don't stick with one woman... You are all ****ing crazy." He continued to go through her drawers, before finding what he was looking for. A pair of panties was taken out, twirled around, and then shoved into his pocket. He looked one hundred percent shameless about it, too.

"I've seen his heart get ripped out before, and that didn't stop him." Minoko scoffed. Clearly Emlen passing out after walking all that way didn't count in her mind. Teeth sank into her lip as she wondered how to respond to that offensive comment. Everyone in this damn city was crazy, not just the women. Aloysius twirling her panties around like a prize only proved that. "What...? What do you want those for?!" Color and heat flooded into her cheeks. She hated herself for feeling any embarrassment when all that should have been was anger.

Aloysius pointed at her. "That is none of your business. Stop being rude, Minoko...!" the boy said, and then sank away into the shadows, leaving her alone with her exhausted husband. Emlen wouldn't make her worry about him taking it easy, because he'd be sleeping it off for a good while.

A long, slow exhale was let out when Aloysius left her in the basically empty room. She was the rude one. She who had been kidnapped, who had been drugged, who had been forced to watch her husband die twice. That reminded her... Minoko gently rested Emlen's head on the floor and moved over to her dresser. It wasn't long before she noticed one of her sakura petals sticking out from under a folded stack of clothes. "I know you already lost a lot of blood," was said softly as she reclaimed her spot on the floor. "I'm sorry. I won't take much." Emlen's head was positioned back in her lap, and she lifted his dead arm. Lips were pressed to the curve of his wrist. She then dragged the jagged edge along her tongue and put a cut on the very spot she had kissed. It would have made more sense to press a mutilated palm to the wound, but today didn't seem like a good day to break their ritual. Minoko took a deep breath in and then applied her tongue to its beloved immortality source. The immortality was the last thing on her mind, though. She already had the healing abilities and the energy. What she really needed was the selfish bond. It was only when she felt the beat of Emlen's heart radiating over her own that she let his wrist fall back to the floor. Showering probably would have been a good idea, considering the parts of her hair that were painted a slightly lighter shade with the lingering clots of blood. Minoko dismissed that idea entirely, though, and slung Emlen's arm around her body as she curled up next to him. "I'm sorry... Never again."
[img:ac4ccb478f]https://66.media.tumblr.com/132c5066959875bc460d8f587e94ad6c/tumblr_moilapx6dc1sw5m5io1_400.gif[/img:ac4ccb478f]
[i:ac4ccb478f]And you're a cherry blossom
You're about to bloom
You look so pretty, but you're gone so soon[/i:ac4ccb478f]