Joining the Scoobies
/=========================( - Junes - Food Court - )=========================\
| Situated upon the roof of Junes, the Food Court is billed as a place to |
| relax and have an affordable (read: absolutely disgusting) snack or two. A |
| popular hangout place all the same, it's easy to find crowds sitting around |
| tables or children playing in the small playground in the center at nearly |
| all times of the day. |
| Innumerable food stalls are set around the perimeter, with ample space |
| given in consideration to line sizes that are more wishful thinking than |
| matching the actual demand for refreshments. Bad weather is only kept at |
| bay by strategically placed umbrellas and awnings around the court. From |
| large wooden benches you'd see in parks to smaller, classier round tables |
| outside cafes, the seating is wildly varied as the food offered (the |
| quality of said food, sadly, not varying any from being disgusting). |
| Due to speakers blaring the commercial jingle nonstop, it can be hard to |
| eavesdrop on conversations without coming very cloe to a group. This makes |
| it a great place for a secret headquarters between collaborators. In turn, |
| it is a terrible place to study for upcoming exams or what have you. |
|===============================( - Players - )================================|
|===============================( - Objects - )================================|
|================================( - Exits - )=================================|
| Elevator <E>: Inaba - Junes Dept. Store |
It is Monday evening, and another school week has started anew. For Fumiya Watanabe, he has completed his make-up exams for awhile now, and has learned his final score (spoiler: Not Good), but given his circumstances he's not losing any sleep over it. What he IS losing sleep over is everything else he's had to go through. It's time to make some ground there.
Luckily he met Souji earlier in the day and managed to arrange a meeting. It's time he got a few things off his chest, even if it's not with as large a group as he wanted. The longer he talks to do this, the harder it will be to remember what happened that night.
So he waits at the designated table at the Junes Food Court, leaning back in the chair with both legs resting on the table as if he were some important CEO at his desk. Even without his odd sitting posture he's easily identified by his clothing. He still wears a considerable bit of neon, despite relenting a bit and sticking to the Yasogami dress code.
Something here does not belong.
Rather, that is:
Some/one/ here does not belong.
That person is not Fumiya Watanabe. Twice now shes' wandered into Inaba with her Gekkoukan High School Uniform on, and twice shes' ran into the group. Coincidence? ... probably not, all things considered, especially as Yuuka seems to actually know where shes' going for not being an Inaba native.
Pushing her red lenses back up on her nose, small backpack over one shoulder, Yuuka has her nose stuck in a book, and based on all things good and small, it looks like an algebra book.
Souji casually makes his way down to the Food Court, in no particuliar hurry. While he certainly wanted to hear what Fumiya had to say, he wasn't in any real hurry. After all, he was sort of used to this sort of affair at this point.
As he arrives at the food court proper, his gray eyes scan the tables, looking for the person he was awaiting. Given how Fumiya stands out like a sore, pulsing, neon rainbow-covered thumb, this barely takes a second. Souji nonchalantly approaches the table where the most recent victim sat.
"Good evening, how've you been?" he asks, giving one of his polite nods in greeting.
It's easy to lose sleep over all the things that happen here in Inaba, and beyond. It's also easy to notice this group, since we have /neon/, an out-of-town uniform, and...okay, those are the easiest things to spot out here. Shion has only met one of the people here to her recollection.
Speaking of the detective, she's also approaching the food court, though she's the last to arrive. It's not hard to see why; she's on crutches, being very careful not to put too much weight on her right foot. Her eyes scan the assembled group; Fumiya, looking like he owns the place (she recognizes him by reputation, she thinks), Yuuka...studying? How nice! And, of course, Souji, alreading offering a greeting. "Evening." She smiles, and takes herself a seat. "You might not know me; I'm Shion Katsuragi." Lowering her voice, she says, pleasantly, "I'm not here in an official capacity, so you don't have to worry."
There's two faces Fumiya didn't expect to see. Yuuka, for being an out of towner, and Shion, for being a stranger (to him anyway). Souji gets another nod in return, though he remains oddly silent to the other two at first. He doesn't need to worry about talking about psychic demons or anything with Yuuka, but he doesn't know if Shion is informed on these things yet.
So Fumiya, being a rather direct youth, cuts right to the heart of the matter and turns to Souji. "Yo, she up on things?" He asks, taking his feet off the table and sitting upright. "Thora's after giving me a few browbeatings over talking about stuff carelessly."
Fumiya figures Shion is involved, given how casually she is acting. He doesn't recognize her as an officer, though, so her 'not here in an official capacity' statement doesn't mean a whole lot to him.
Voices gradually creep in, and Yuuka looks up over her book, blinking a few times as she walked her way over to Shion and the two guys. Oh! Hey, It's a Fumiya and Souji. "Hey, Seta-san, Watanabe-san." She says cheerfully to them both, giving Shion a bow since she, like Fumiya, has no clue who the woman is, or what that statement is/means.
"How have you been...?" She asks of Fumiya quietly, algebra book getting bookmark'd and slid into her backpack.
Indeed, Souji didn't seem to expect Yuuka, and he certainly didn't expect Shion. Nevertheless, he nodded politely to both of them before looking back to Fumiya and making an introduction, "Fumiya, this is Yuuka Chiba," he gestures to the Unicorn girl, "she's a member of SEES who will be helping us out from time to time." Next, he moves his hand to the only adult here, "This is Shion Katsuragi. She's a detective with the police that's been pulled into this mess." He wasn't sure if any of them knew each other already, but he figured it couldn't hurt.
"Anyway," Souji proceeds to explain as he seats himself, "I told as many people as I could get to come hear you out, and well, here we are."
Not every joke is going to work out--Shion has been a little distractable, so at first she doesn't notice that everyone seems pretty blank about what she said. It's when Fumiya brings up whether or not she 'knows' that it all falls into place, though it might've been nice if he'd just asked her directly. The detective nods amiably enough back to Yuuka, though, and settles her eyes on the loudly-dressed boy (she's polite enough not to comment) when he mentions Thora and the browbeatings. "Good instincts, not wanting to induct more people than you have to. That's a good sign." A compliment? Maybe so! She has a bit of an ulterior motive for wanting to be here, of course; she's aware of how Fumiya was in that world.
At Souji's explanation, the detective in question smiles. "I don't have the same power you kids do, but I'm just as interested in getting to the bottom of all this as you are." She takes a small notepad out of her jacket pocket and sets a pen at the ready, glancing up. "Feel free to talk at your own pace; if we have questions, I think Seta-kun should lead us up, considering."
Fumiya just chuckles as Souji tries to introduce him to Yuuka. "Yeah, we've met a few times before. She was with the others when they pulled my ass out of ...'there'." He pauses a bit, to make sure Souji confirms that Shion is in on things before continuing. "Another Detective helping out, huh? Well that can't hurt." He rubs his chin, idly, remembering Adachi. If he ever sees him again in the near future he probably owes him an apology, Fumiya DID put him in an awkward spot back before he was thrown in.
Fumiya leans forward once everyone is at the table, tapping his fingers for a moment. "Well, I wanted a few more folks, but we should get this out of the way. I don't wanna wind up forgetting little details by waiting. You can pass it on to anyone else, I'm sure." He sighs, thinking back on the night, and frowns. "But, truth is, my memories are still kind of a mess, and I don't know where to start." He glances at Souji. "Why don't you begin by filling me in with what you guys already know, might give me a good starting point."
There's a soft giggle from Yuuka as she takes a seat at the table, shaking her head. "Saved your neon, enjoyed a beach party, generally confused each other..." She says to Fumiya, mouth quirking in amusement. "What other detective is helping out? Um..." Yuuka thinks about it. "It's not that - Detective Tohru, I think?" Someone doesn't know Fumbles that much, even as she shakes her head again.
"I'm going with Katsuragi-senpai, um, Seta-san, this is all you." She can offer suggestions and ideas, but this place is all Souji... although she does wince, rubbing her eyes at some memory of bright light.
"What we know?" Souji sighs with frustration and shakes his head, "Honestly, very little about how the abudctions themselves happen. We figure someone's luring or pushing people in." He then glances to Shion and Yuuka with an affirmative nod as they tell him to head things off. "Well," he puts a hand to his chin in consideration, "the last thing you remember before...well...this happened is as good a start as any at this point, I think"
So, Yuuka was part of the rescue team? Shion notes that little piece of information down for herself, giving the studious girl another look to cement that piece of information. "Exactly. I also plan to try to school those involved in a few investigative techniques; the more information we can gather, the closer we are to closing this case." And it's not like she's worried about being out of a job or something. Yuuka asks for her about the 'other detective', and Shion can cover that herself. "Detective Adachi," she corrects, though she was to this point unware exactly how far his influence ran. He 'knows', but is he helping, too? They have to talk.
Good starting point, in any case. "Agreed. I'd request a particular emphasis on the circumstances of your abduction, if you're able. If it's difficult, that's fine; we aren't putting pressure on you." She's a senpai, hm? That'll do. "I'd like to see if we can get what you remember before we tell you too much, to get as fresh a perspective as is possible."
Fumiya nods and sighs again, this time more deeply to help jog his memory. "A lot of it's a haze... but I DO remember something that stands out."
He bites his lower lip, as he brings the memory of that night to the surface of his mind. "You see, I /knew/ it was coming. I, uh, was trying to get the killer after me. I know it was a stupid thing to do now, but I thought I could handle myself. I thought I could fight him off alone. Of course, I didn't, but I was ready for a struggle." He closes his eyes, trying to visualize it. "There was a doorbell at my grandparent's place here in Inaba. I was home alone at the time. I opened the door cautiously, I may not have expected the killer to walk up and ring my doorbell but I wanted to be careful all the same. But the guy on the other side of the door tried to force it open. I never got a look at his face because he shoved a rag over mine. It was soaked in something, and I was able to guess what."
He smirks, and shrugs. "Chloroform. Makes sense I guess. But lucky for me..." He raises an index finger, and his smirk deepens. "I had already taken a deep breath before it was shoved in my face. Before I went to open the door, I was getting myself pumped for a struggle. So I wasn't knocked out, not immediately. I let myself go limp because I thought if I didn't keep up a fight he'd remove the rag. Unfortunately he didn't, so I never did get a look at his face."
Folding his arms, Fumiya leans back in his chair again. "I know I was thrown inside the TV shortly after that. In fact... it was pretty quick." He frowns, as if a thought strikes him. "Come to think of it, I don't think he took me inside my grandparent's house... I remember feeling the cool night air before being tossed in... and there's something else. Something else that stands out..." He tilts his head, trying to think. What /was/ nagging him?
Souji nods, taking all of this in, "This is pretty helpful, thank you. Chloroform, huh? That would explain a lot."
He then looks to Yuuka curiously as he responds, "Well, that's not an unreasonable guess. It's a lot less risky to grab someone at the door than actually enter their house, as well." Souji pondered, trying to think like this supposed killer would. "Well, at least we know something more about his modus operandi than we did before," he tries to sound encouraging as he looks to the others.
Writing quietly, Shion is paying very close attention to what Fumiya has to say. She offers an encouraging nod when he mentions the haze, but does her best not to stand in his way. She schools her expression, too, to hide her reaction to how he 'knew'. She already knew that, after all, but now isn't the time to say as much.
Hearing this kind of thing is just another day at work for Shion, but it doesn't mean that she's very happy about Fumiya having to go through it. "..Smart of you, to make the attempt to stay awake. I don't condone people putting themselves in harm's way, but you already said you've realized what was wrong with your plan. Still, I think that keeping your head in that situation was very brave."
Okay, she's trying to be supportive. Besides, what he's said should actually be very helpful--it's details that she just didn't have before, and the note about the location is...interesting. A thoughtful look crosses her face. "Stronger than you, and obviously intent. I think it says something, that the killer is using nonlethal methods to subdue his targets before..." What's the verb for that? "Placing them." It'll do, anyway. The night air, though. "That's very unusual. You'd think that someone would notice that, even in a small town like Inaba. You said it was the front door, right?" Yuuka's suggestion that he just 'carries one around' seems a little fishy, in any case. That would definitely be noticeable. "For the size, I expect that we could experiment."
To Souji, she nods. "Definitely. I think this puts us another step closer. There's just one more thing." She turns to Fumiya again, patient. "Do you think you can remember that last part? Just relax; you can answer my questions after, I have them written down, along with what you've said. Just let it come to you."
When Yuuka mentions that he must 'carry a TV around', Fumiya's eyes widen, partially hidden behind his sunglasses. "Ah! That's it!" He exclaims. "That's what was nagging me. That /sound/. I heard an engine get closer and closer before it cut out entirely when I was thrown in. Right before that happened, it was like the sound of the engine surrounded me. Ummmm...." He rubs both sides of his head, trying to squeeze more info out of his memory, and getting frustrated when he comes up empty.
"Gaaah... I can't remember what the engine sounded like, though. Whether it was loud or quiet, I can't say what kinda vehicle it would've been." As if exhausted from trying to recall it all, Fumiya slumps back into his seat with another sigh. "Sorry Souji-bro, I think that's all I got."
His mood does a full reversal when Shoin compliments him on his bravery, though. "Yeah?" He grins. "Well, I may have already gotten myself into that pickle, but I figured I should do what I could to apprehend that creep. If I were just a bit quicker at the door I could've taken him." The confidence in his voice suggests he really believes that, and that he believed it back THEN too.
A bigger smile crosses Yuukas' face. "It sounds weird, out of place, and totally undoable, but that, personally, is why I would think about it in the first place." She rubs the back of the neck, frowning. "So you heard an engine rumble. If he was carrying a TV around, I'd uh, geeze, I'd probably say maybe instead of a regular car maybe a van?" She offers up into the air. "That's large enough to hold a full-sized TV and it wouldn't look that suspicious in residental areas, right?"
Theres' a nod towards Shion at her suggestion of experimenting. "That would work as well. Start with the little TVs and work up towards the big ones." She taps her pencil on the pad of paper in her lap, biting her bottom lip as she thinks about it. "Too many variables." She mutters.
Shirou mutters, exiting the elevator. He'd /totally/ spaced on the 'info' meeting with Fumiya and the others today. So he's a touch out of breath when he gets over to them, giving them a bit of a wave, putting his hands on his knees. "Was working out when I relized I was late..."
He nods to Yuuka, not recognizing her... but smiling and nodding to Fumiya and Shion and Souji. She must be cool. "S-sorry... what did I miss?"
Looking appreciatively to Fumiya, he says assuringly, "You've been more help than most of the victims so far, I won't lie. Thanks. And as Katsuragi-san says, if anything comes to you later, feel free to tell us."
He looks to Yuuka, nodding in respons eto her idea, "A van would be able to hold a sizeable enough TV, yes, and rather inconspicuously at that."
Then, turning back to the neon-gabed boy, he propositions, "If you want to help us further, my offer to join up with us stands. I've seen you use your Persona, and you seem to have the hang of it already. Again, do not feel at all obligated.
He then turns slowly as Shriou adresses him, "Ah, good of you to come. Watanabe-san just gave us some rather useful information to work with."
Not to worry, Shirou, Shion has been taking relatively detailed notes, though she'd hae to decode them thanks to the shorthand she uses. She nods back at him with a pleasant look when he arrives, shifting her crutches over so that he can take a seat. Hopefully, she can get rid of those soon, but...doctor's orders.
"That's it, then. An engine. That's true, a van would be most likely." She doesn't comment much further yet, however, as that just opens a whole host of new questions, most importantly for her the one she had before: if he's coming to the front door, how the hell has nobody noticed? Is Inaba that dead lately? ...It's true that crimes happen in broad daylight, but this many times? It wouldn't be that suspicious, necessarily, but...
Oh hey, a mood reversal! Her new approach is working! The red-haired woman turns Fumiya's way. He really does seem to believe it! Youth. "Good thought. Still, though, try not to get yourself in over your head--you don't have to do it alone." Souji's offer, after all, seems to be a good one to her, though she isn't going to press him any further than that. Her approval, though, remains consistent. Her eyes slide to Souji, though, as she mentions 'not doing things alone', and her expression says that she wants to talk to him when there's time.
Fumiya is as easily led as most teenagers are, especially when it comes to stroking his ego. Shion seems skilled enough at that, and Fumiya either doesn't know any better than to recognize it, or doesn't care.
Shirou gets a nod when he arrives, and a smirk. Fumiya COULD mention something. He COULD... but he won't.
Turning back to the topic at hand, Fumiya ponder's Yuuka's suggestion, but finds himself agreeing with Shion. "I guess that's right. There's no way the cops wouldn't see a pattern if a suspicious white van was at the scene of every kidnapping. But then how..." Argh! Too confusing! And he doesn't have the patience that Yuuka does. "Maybe he has powers? Well, I guess he would have to if he can throw people inside. What if he can, like, disguise his vehicle or something weird like that? That'd be bad..." Really bad, in fact. Fumiya finds himself wishing he didn't think of it. They might never catch the guy if that's the case.
When Souji makes his offer, though, Fumiya regards the grey haired student for a moment. Months ago he would've said no. He would've wanted to strike out on his own, be a free agent and badass, screwing the rules left and right and doing things his way. Now, though, he realizes that's pretty stupid and childish, even if it's still a little appealing. So finally he says, "Yeah. Sure. I'll hook up with you guys. There's still plenty of stuff I need to know." He grins. "Plus, if you guys are ever gonna make a move on that Kandori guy then I wanna be there for it."
"What if it was a truck or van that wasn't out of place in a residental area? I see grocery vans, delivery vans, things like that all the time in Port Island. Even though Inaba is smaller, those wouldn't be out of place, no?" Patience is one of Yuukas' greatest traits, and possibly one of the only ones she lives up too the most. "As far as him having 'powers' ... with the way things are, I uh, wouldn't doubt it."
Ohgod Kandori. Pen clatters to the gorund, and Yuuka mumbles softly. "Yeah, about making a move on him..." She ducks under the table to grab the pen, and when she stands, her cheeks are red. "If you want to go after him and find him easily, I uh... I sort of uh... may have... took him on ... solo and got... a map of his Lunarvale building... should get you a copy, Watanabe-san."
Shirou bows a little more, head drooping. "S-sorry again." He takes the seat that Shion offers, and settles in to listen, looking over her notes a little bit. He smiles when Fumiya decides to join up with them, leaning towards him a bit. "Seems like you're coming 'round man. Good to have you on the team."
And when Kandori's mention, his face turns cold... and when Yuuka mentions she has a /map/? He damn near climbs over the table to grab her. Okay, not really, but he shoots her a look. "Really... a copy would be... incredible."
Souji smiles appreciatively as Fumiya accepts. The more the merrier, especially since they were a bit short of help these days, "I'll get Teddie to make you a special pair of glasses that will help you see through the fog of the TV World. Unless you have a pair in particular you'd like adjusted to do the same," the silver-haired kid offers before turning his attention to the small girl.
"Yeah, uh, about Kandori..." he flustered up some. Shion probably wasn't too pleased with their latest activity regarding him. Nodding to Yuuka once, he then looks towards Shion and asks, "Ehm, well, what she says is true. She does have such a map. I'm not sure if it's -one hundred percent- accurate given his penchant for traps, but it is better than going in blind. We were hoping to investgate sometime soon. Have you any advice for us, perhaps?"
Looking to Shirou, he smirks wryly, "Don't you worry. I already have a hand sketch and a copy."
So, it's settled. Shion doesn't glance between Fumiya and Shirou, despite a few things she knows, because she's trying to be civil, and not drive these kids off to go off on their own. "Powers...it's possible, and we can't rule it out, but let's look for the simplest solution, first." Yuuka, too, seems to have a bit of a point as regards inconspicuous vehicles, but it's going to bear some more thought later. She doesn't much like the idea that it's something they can't proactively go after, but now that they know the pattern...Maybe next time, they can stop him. Pity they can't do it under a controlled circumstance, though. Fumiya was their chance at that. Anyway, he's here now, and--glasses? What? "Welcome, then." She can't say it's nice to have another kid out risking his life, but this is clearly meant to be a nice occasion. So, she doesn't lie.
It's the next few moments that cause her cheerful expression to dim, however. At the talk of Kandori, Shion goes very quiet, very calm, and she is no longer smiling. Her eyes settle rather directly on the Gekkoukan student. "You did what, precisely?" She's even ready to continue, before the silver-haired Souji chimes in, asking her advice. She's not exactly immune to a little ego-stroking herself, so she relents. "That was incredibly irresponsible of you, and you are extremely lucky to still be alive. I expect that you will never be doing it again, yes?" She pauses, and turns her attention back to the leader with a nod. "A map could be useful. My advice would be to move carefully, and as legally as is possible. He's going to know you're there, so stealth is only going to give him another excuse to go after you. My /real/ advice would be 'don't....but we have to do something. So I'll help you."
"However, I'd like a copy, too."
"Glasses huh..." Fumiya ponders Souji's question, and finally just shakes his head. "These glasses are my only pair like em, so I ain't gonna risk handing them over. If this Teddie guy can make something similar, then that's cool. If not, don't sweat it." He rememebers feeling totally drained while in the TV World, while everyone else was super. Did that have something to do with it.
Abruptly, he turns to Yuuka and clears his throat. "Listen, uh... do you know if Aigis is alright? You guys are in SEES, right?" It was an odd question, given the direction of their conversation till now, but Souji's raising of Fumiya's first fight reminded him. "The other day a bunch of us fought this... uh, thing. Here in Inaba. Aigis got hurt pretty bad. But someone else from SEES was there, and said they'd take care of her. I haven't heard much since, so I've been assuming she was fine."
Finally Fumiya turns to Shion and grins. "Kandori seems like the kind of slimeball that would use every legal trick he can, so we'd best not give him any ammo to use on us by breaking the law to get at him, yeah."
Green eyes flinch when Shion stares at her like that. If it was an anime, Yuuka would have one of those classic sweatdrops on her face, or be hiding behind Shirou/Fumiya. She grins at Shirou, however, at his eagerness for the map, and nods slightly. "Seta-san, can you copy yours? If not, I can copy mine and hand them around..." She mutters, not really saying anything to Shion because she's already gotten scoling and her Inner Yuuka is all ._. and stuff.
"Aigis-senpai is fine." Yuuka says with a nod. "She'll be back up and running around. You know her energy from your uh, TV adventure." Yuuka says, with a lopsided smile. "Any of you going to that masquerade ball this week for Halloween?" She asks curiously. KandoriTalk makes her grumpy.
Shirou's still here! He's just... kinda zoned out all of a sudden, glancing to Fumiya suddenly. OH crap he talked to him Saturday before going with Thora. And... yeah.
"Fumiya, you gotta minute after this?"
"You'll all be get as many of the copies of the map as you feel you need," Souji assures the group. Next, he looks to Shion, "and yes, we'll try to be as legal as possible. So legal you can even come along if you're so inclined."
Aigis? That nice girl? Shion had been able to gather that she was involved with SEES, thanks to the board, as well as Yuuka, but it sort of clicks into place now that it's been referenced in person, almost as if Shion wasn't /exactly/ sure how much she knew before this point but suddenly finds herself able to act on it.
"Exactly." She smiles again, at Fumiya's good insights, and even at Souji's note about how everything is going to be nice and legal. But people seem to want to talk, and she doesn't see a reason to follow up with Yuuka just yet. "I may. I hope to be in full condition soon enough, and I have a few bones to pick with Kandori, myself. In the meantime, I need to get moving. I missed a lot of work this week. Take care, eveyone." With a pause, she glances to Yuuka. "We should talk later." She gets to her feet, picks up her crutches, and prepares to head on out. At least it was a productive time, and...kind of nice.
Fumiya grins at Shirou. "Maybe later, Shibrou. You can fill me in next time." Just... just don't fill him in with TOO much detail.
Standing up, he dusts himself off. "Well it's been real, guys. Hope I was able to provide some help with this whole kidnapper killer thing. We'll all meet up again later on I'm sure. Keep in touch, yeah?"