L'il Babe

 /===============================( - Inaba - )================================\ 
|                                                                              |
|  Historically, Inaba was formerly Yasoinaba, a coal mining town. Over time,  |
| it grew from the initial settlement of coal miners into what it is today.    |
| Nobody here mines for coal any longer.                                       |
|  A rural town out in the country, tourists praise the air as being clean     |
| and the sky cleaner than any of the big cities surrounding it, and the       |
| sunsets as absolutely breathtaking. The town goes at its own pace            |
| throughout the day. To the average person, there is not much to see out      |
| here, with a lack of interesting historical landmarks or, really, even much  |
| of anything. Inaba is about as close to being the middle of nowhere as one   |
| can get in this part of Japan. A new department store may be the herald of   |
| encroaching urbanization.                                                    |
|  Recently, the town has fallen on hard times. A major department store's     |
| recent opening is seeing smaller businesses fold left and right. A serial    |
| murder case grips the attention of the local media. Rumors circulate about   |
| how if one watches a turned off TV in one's room at midnight on a raining    |
| evening, one will see their soulmate. Bizarre meteorlogical patterns see     |
| great amounts of rain followed by thick, choking fog. Some say a local beef  |
| skewer stand isn't even using real beef.                                     |
|  Some seem a little too welcoming of the excitement and confusion. Is it     |
| just from a change of pace, or is there a sinister truth to all these        |
| events?                                                                      |
|===============================( - Players - )================================|
| Anise Thompson [NWO] <Alecto>         Masumi Hayashi [DS] <Ceridwen>         |
| Nanako Dojima [U] <None>              Souji Seta [KDA] <Izanagi>             |
| Aigis [SEES] <Alice>                  Thora Kobayashi [KDA] <Garm>           |
|===============================( - Objects - )================================|
| Knows Complex                                                                |
|================================( - Exits - )=================================|
| School <S>:              Inaba - Yasogami HS                                 |
| Junes <J>:               Inaba - Junes Dept. Store                           |
| Commercial District <CD>:Inaba - Central Commercial Dist.                    |
| River <R>:               Inaba - Samegawa Flood Plain                        |
| East <E>:                Inaba - Eastern Residential                         |
| Inn <I>:                 Inaba - Amagi Inn                                   |
| Police Department <PD>:  Inaba - Police Department                           |
| Yasoinaba Station <Okina>Okina City                                          |

Yeah, it's mid-afternoon in Inaba.

Not much different in this quiet, sleepy city.

Except for a big smile on Nanako's face - the first one in a couple of weeks...

On her way to Junes, Nanako Dojima looks up at Souji Seta, expressive brown eyes sparkling. He's been lucky to get out of her sight since he came home last night, much less leave the house without her. As such, when she needed to go to Junes, she asked...

... and maybe guilt-tripped him a bit.

That monday, Thora was finally back at school. She seemed different all around-quieter, leaner, and because of that, people /definitely/ avoided her. Everyone she made eye contact with received a fierce and steady look that didn't leave until the other person turned away.

All that really remained as a sign of her experience were the blue ribbons woven into the braids of her hair. Even if she no longer had her demons with her, she still choose to wear the colors. Yukiko said it looked pretty anyway and Thora's actually okay with that now. It goes well with her blue coat, which she's too happy to have wrapped around her.

Silently, she makes her way to Junes, actually stalking Souji from afar. She's made her reports, read others, and had a thing or two she wanted to share with him. Then again, as she nears, she notices that Nanako is with her 'big bro' so approaching him about business right now might not be such a good idea.

Did we say stalking Souji to Junes? No we didn't. Thora's just heading for Junes because it's /Junes/, damnit, and she hasn't seen a real one for half a month now. Even the evil Not-Walmart ruining the economy of the tiny town is a welcome sight for Thora these days.

After returning to civilization, imagine considering Inaba civilization, the first thing Fumiya did was scrub off and take a long, relaxing bath. He never visited the school on the West Side while he was in Mikage-cho, so its utilities were unknown to him. He kept as clean as he could while fighting every day, but it could only do so much. The long hot soak really hit the spot, and made him realize just how sore he was. Some of his cuts were pretty bad too, but luckily he managed to avoid a trip to the hospital. His grandparents, absent minded as they are, didn't give Fumiya too much trouble with questions when he returned.

But he's kind of dreading his next trip to Port Island. His parents won't be so lax.

But, until then, he'll try and focus on getting his head straight again. Re-adjusting to the sleepy town after two weeks in hell hasn't been as difficult as he feared, but he's still just a little jumpy.

Heading to Junes, like everyone else, Fumiya is just in the mood for some cheap disgusting Food Court cuisine. He wants to feel like a teenager again, dammit! On the way he spots Thora. Shrugging, Fumiya heads towards the her, though neglects to wave and keeps his hands in his pockets.

"Yoooooooo, Thora-babe. How ya holdin' up?"

Aigis, on the other hand, is stalking.

Thora, that is. Even Aigis seems tired and she was only at the place like a quarter of the time that Thora was. Tired isn't exactly a good word. Drained is a better one. She does need periodic maintenance in order to remain in proper condition.

She spots Fumiya and Thora--before she can get too close to super hug Thora--and slows down, taking her time. Is that a Nanako heading to the Junes?!

She waves in the loli's general direction, oblivious--to DANGER.

Masumi did not go to school today, instead choosing to take a couple of days to simply rest and recuperate after the trying experience of the last two weeks. His parents were given the most basic story of 'was caught in Lunarvale, don't want to take about it please,' and after a rather heartwarming reunion that reminded him of everything his family did not have going for it normally, the status quo rather returned. On the upside, his older sister is supposed to be coming in from Sumaru tomorrow -- someone he can actually share all the incredible stories with.

After waking at about noon, Masumi immediately set about giving some attention to his sore and aching musles. And then more importantly to cleaning up in general, starting out with a very long bath and then moving onto to doing something about his appearance. He had gotten terribly shabby -- which is really to say 'a little' so far as any external observer could discern -- over the two weeks without any regular access to his normal suite of hygiene products and cosmetics. A good few hours were spent catching up on the missed time.

And then he was reminded that he had run out of facial cream, and was going to pick some up on the way home from Lunarvale that evening everything went insane. Terrible! Simply unacceptable.

So now the silver-haired youth is approaching Junes to rectify this lack, nearing the large department store at about the same time as the others by happenstance.

So maybe Nanako was talking to herself.


Nanako waves at Aigis gleefully. "Hi Aigis-san!" She says cheerfully enough. She doesn't see Aigis enough to register if she had gone to Mikage-Cho or not, so the Robot-chan is /saved/ for once.

Wait. /Fumiya/.

... Thora.

Nanako turns on one pink shoe, and barrels towards the Oni of Osaka.

"You're /home!/"

She may be crying.

And causing a scene.

She doesn't give Fumiya any indication that she knows he's there before he speaks up. When he does, though, she lifts her head and cracks a smile with the unscarred side of her mouth. "Hey Fumiya-san." Gone, apparently, were the days she would react violently to that little nickname of his. It'd long since been assessed as 'harmless'. "I think I'm adapting pretty well..."

Jokingly, she adds, "Though every time I see a cat, dog, or bird, my stomach starts to growl."

More familiar resonances pop up on her radar. Masumi, whom she is surprised to find. She actually had no idea he lived in Inaba! Then there is Aigis. Stopping, Thora holds up a 'one second' sign to Fumiya, then whirls, advancing on Aigis and /viciously hugging her again/. She might have done it last night after appearing in Lunarvale. Just as her arms wrap around Aigis, tinier ones wrap around her hip. Thora startles but, being a big wall made out of meet, doesn't wobble or get knocked over.

She does look mildly horrified though. There is a little girl clinging to her and crying. Frantically, she looks to Fumiya with a 'OH GOD WHAT DO I DO' look of panic on her face.

Fumiya is not yet introduced to Nanako! Now the question on everyone's minds: Will he call /her/ babe too?

He spots Aigis stalking/following/coincidentally walking up to Thora and lets himself grin a bit. So far no one he knows of has been left behind. The only thing worse than the thought of more time in Mikage-cho is the thought of someone he knows being left alone there. Yikes.

Masumi is a bro, a pretty one maybe but still a bro, and thus he doesn't get a second glance. For now.

When Thora tries to make a small joke, Fumiya mockingly scrunches his nose up "I think there's better food out there, maybe even in the Food Court! But that'd be a close call..."

He's cut off as Thora is suddenly tackled from all directions. He's at a loss for words for a moment, and just shrugs. "You guys wanna hold still while I get a camera?"

Aigis blinks, startled herself--she's a terrible automaton and so does not fall flat on her robutt when Thora hugs her so hard she sustains 1 percent structural integrity damage (or so it feels like, anyway). She doesn't mind, of course, and she returns the hug, "I missed you, Thora-Chan." She says politely, her own arms tightening for a moment--her greatest failing, in her opinion, during the event was that she had 'missed' Thora during the excursion. Of course they all ended up by the tree, but at that point everybody was too pooped to have huge itohpiles. the Itohs barely even managed it, and that's remarkable.

"Hello Nanako-Chan." She says, not entirely sure how to deal with a crying loli either. She looks to Fumiya, clearly expecting him to have the answers. Do you expect the Oni or the Robot to be able to handle this shit? Nope. It's all on you, Fumiya. Or maybe Masumi, whom Aigis sees coming by, but she doesn't really know him.

"Fumiya-San." She says, realizing she can't talk about business after a fashion, but also unsure of how to explain a two week absence. Her processors are plugging away at this problem. "...Did you enjoy the slurpees?"


It's not long before Masumi's path intersects with that of the growing group a short distance outside of Junes. He does not actually know any of them on a personal level, though he recognizes Thora from the time spent in Mikage-Cho and gives her a brief, polite nod in passing. His gaze lingers on Aigis for just a half-second longer than would seem typical, and he makes a point of trying to keep his eyes off Fumiya.

So garish and tasteless!

It is in fact Nanako's crying combined with Thora's total and complete look of 'What Do I Do Know!?' that causes him to stop briefly. "Hello, Kobayashi-san," he says politely, and then his gaze goes down to the little girl clinging to her. A soft smile hovers across his delicate features as he looks at Nanako. "She's adorable. Your little sister, or a friend's?" he asks conversationally. A brief pause, and then a slight frown of what appears to be genuine concern. "Oh, but what seems to be the matter?"

Nanako does not realize Thora's horrified look yet. Nanako does not quite let go yet either, face buried into Thora's side and crying a little bit. So, Thora, you will have to deal with this on your own, as Fumiya doesn't seem to be much help. She hiccups slightly, before speaking, voice choked, face streaked as she looks up at the Oni.

"Y-you came home... big bro said you guys would... but ... I didn't believe him ... I thought you had all gone away like my mommy did and weren't going to come back... y..you, and Adachi-san and... and..."


OH GOD SOMEONE HELP HER THERE IS A CHILD CRYING ON HER AND DOJIMA WILL KILL HER. "No pictures, Fumiya." Thora says hurridly, staring down at the child crying into her skirt. "S...seriously..."

Masumi gets a directed dose of that helpless look. It's funny, she survived two weeks in hell and now this little kid has her scared out of her wits?! At him she mouths a 'HELP ME' "This is Seta's cousin, Nanako Dojima." Thora explains for Masumi's benefit. Yes, this is /Dojima's/ daughter which partially explains why she's so unsettled around her. She doesn't have the best of history with the Inaba police, Dojima especially.

OH NO SHE'S LOOKING UP AT HER WITH THOSE SAD EYES OF HERS. Thora goes still. She actually knows about Nanako's mom being dead thanks to a super assholish comment that Adachi made the night he and Dojima came out to investigate the death of /her/ mother. "Yeah well...they won't get rid of me that easily." Thora rumbles awkwardly. "I'm here to stay."

"We were helping Captain Rebellion defeat his evil nemesis Dark-O." Aigis says simply, glancing to Masumi and nodding to him. "We would have been back earlier, but it turned out that fighting wasn't the answer. We had to help them become friends. So it took longer than we thought."

Aigis doesn't like lying, so she's telling Nanoka the truth.

Fumiya chuckles, but doesn't say anything more. No point in adding fuel to the fire, he'd hate to see Thora snap in front of a kid.

"Seta's cousin, huh? Aha... I see." Fumiya puts two and two together easily enough, figuring Nanako must've missed everyone who was gone, though he doesn't realize just /how/ bad she had it. "Yeah, don't worry. Thora's too tough to be put down by anyone."

Glancing at Aigis, Fumiya almost chuckles. "That's right. Captain Rebellion-dude needed some help. We defeated the hell out of that Dark-O!" He comments, forgetting for a moment there's a seven year old present. When he realizes he coughs sheepishly.

"So, uh, who's this bro?" He asks, looking at Masumi. He hasn't seen him around, but he seems familiar enough with Thora and Seta. "Is he.. part of the club too?"

Thora is given a very faintly bemused look in return when she mouths 'help me' to Masumi, a ghost of a smile hovering around the edges of his soft lips while one eyebrow quirks just a hair above the other. For something like half a second he appears like he's going to simply turn and continue on his way as if to say 'not my problem' -- the moment hangs in the air /just/ long enough to make Thora sweat more.

The charade vanishes immediately to be replaced by a look of empathetic concern as Nanako continues sobbing, her words causing him to realize the weight of the situation. Masumi squats down so that he's at eye level with the little girl, and he appears to be entirely undeterred by the fact that they have never even seen one another before as he lays one hand comfortingly on the little girl's shoulder. He smiles softly at her.

"I'm friends with your big brother," he begins, mimicking her choice of words even if it's not technically correct. There's an air about him that's easy to trust, and a sense that he's genuinely concerned for Nanako despite not knowing her. "And I can promise you that he would never, ever lie to you. Everyone came back just fine, and I'm sure Adachi-san and the others can't wait to see you again."

Masumi nearly gets himself glared at. Nearly. But: his voice is calming, and the silver hair doesn't help the overall sense of affection and calmness and concern from him, just like Souji himself. So, instead, Nanako slides from her attachment on Thora to Masumi instead, sniffling, big brown eyes getting even wider, with a mix of hurt and pain in it.

"Who is Captain Rebellion?" She asks, curiously, looking at Fumiya and Aigis.

Thora gets a bright smile for her statement of 'not going to go away'.

Thora doubletakes at Aigis when she tells Nanako the (partial) truth about their disappearance. Holy cow that-well, if Nanako tells anyone else, they're not going to believe her are they? Good job, Aigis. "This is Hayashi, Fumiya-san." Thora explains for her neon friend's benefit. "He helped us out on the other side of things while you were fighting Dark-O. I guess you could consider him part of the club." She sounds unsure. The persona-users club? Yes. The Investigation Team? No, Thora doesn't know this guy and Thora knew /everyone/ on the Investigation Team.

Masumi is a lifesaver and Nanako detatches herself from Thora without a fuss. The giant teenager relaxes a little now, hunching and stuffing her hands in the pockets of her coat. "Oh yeah, Adachi's back too, I saw him last night. I bet he's been real busy today getting all caught up at work."

Who's Captain Rebellion? Oh right, a seven year old girl in Inaba probably wouldn't be familiar with an obscure manga hero in Shounen Super or whatever the magazine was called. "Just a pal." Fumiya states. "And when a pal needs help, you gotta do what it takes to help him." Granted Fumiya is talking more about Shiki here, but he's not even sure what the difference was in that whole event. He still needs to chat with him to clear that up.

"Hayashi, eh? Well, good to know ya." Fumiya says a little cautiously, almost sensing Thora's own hesitation regarding him, though he can't piece together what it's about.

Fumiya kind of cringes when Thora mentions the work Adachi probably has to catch up on. "Geez, don't remind me of work. My folks are going to be on my back about school between this and my last exam scores. What a bummer..."

"A superhero." Aigis says, not really getting the higher complexities of Captain Rebellion. Even if his real name is actually Captain R but whatever. She looks towards Fumiya. "Right?"

Poor Nanako, she thinks, but well--it was either leave her alone for two weeks or nuclear war and sometimes you have to make the hard sacrifices. Of course, Aigis was only gone like 4 days of those, so neener.

Something seems unusual about that wo--man. Nevermind. He seems to know a lot of people already, she thinks.

Aigis says, "Nevermind." after Fumiya, "A pal. I am not very good at it."

It is amazing how many people one meets when one is trapped inside a dimensional barrier and by most accounts only about thirty people were drawn over total. Masumi is still not quite sure of what to make of the fact that most of those people already knew each other or at least had previous dealings -- what was the pattern that decided who did and who did not get caught in the disturbance? While they did all appear to be Persona-users or at least pretty decently exposed to the power second-hand, what narrowed down the selection further?

But right now Masumi's attention isn't really on the myriad list of questions which the experience left him with, but rather on the little girl that has just attached herself to him. He places his arms softly around Nanako and lets her cling until such a time as she is satisfied -- he knows how important having a physical anchor can be at times. For the moment he himself as the others satiate the girl's curiosity.

"A-adachi-san is back...?"

Nanako doesn't believe it, even as she keeps clinging to Masumi. Who ... will find himself adopted if he doesn't watch out, even as she looks between the four 'adults'(not that Thora and Fumiya are old enough, Aigis is even human, and ... she's not sure about Masumi.) She sighs, giving a little tch of her tongue.

"Big bro met a superhero? That's /cool!/"

Thora would be glad to explain the difference a little later when she's not standing right in front of Masumi. While she was certain he was a persona user, she's not really sure who he throws in with. It wasn't KNOWS, it wasn't SEES, and it definitely wasn't the KDA despite the fact that he apparently lives here. Maybe THAT deserved some more investigation.

"...I've missed two weeks of school too." Won't that be a huge setback. More time doing time in KNOWS, ugh. "I hope your folks understand, Fumiya-san."

"He is. Maybe you'll get to see him soon." Another note to self, Thora thinks, direct Adachi in Nanako's direction.

Fumiya laughs. "Well you could say that. Maybe you could meet him someday too." He doesn't guarantee it will happen, but it might be fun to put Shiki on the spot someday and shove Nanako in front of him with her expecting a Superhero. Maybe, someday... but not any time soon.

"Hopefully." Fumiya nods at Thora, then suddenly remembering her talking about her own problems with her guardian and winces. "Are you expecting much trouble?"

As the discussion turns to Adachi, Fumiya's mind starts to wander. Because, let's face it, Adachi is SUCH a boring subject. Some of his deeper worries start to bubble back to the surface, and he frowns, trying to banish them away for another while. He'll soon need to drag them back out to the light, but not just yet. Not until there has been enough time to recuperate from this ordeal.

Aigis nods, though she doesn't extrapolate because she's not entirely sure Captain R /was/ a superhero. Or, like, a sentai hero? She doesn't really get this manga stuff. She thinks it's close enough, though, so she doesn't ask for any more clarification from Fumiya whom, she suspects, is a bit more comfortable with deceit than she is. Maybe, she thinks, she (thora) should study with Yukiko. She tends to get very good grades, doesn't she? Oh well, it's not easy to raise your gpa. Aigis knows this as well as anyone. Her grades are still, distressingly, average. And she doesn't get it much better than Thora, you know. The closest thing to family she has are the Kirijos. They expect p. high grades out of her.

So she turns her attention to Masumi. "I am sorry. Have we met before?"

Masumi would probably be okay with being adopted by the adorable little girl still clinging to him. Heaven knows he'd had little success relating to and interacting with most of his actual family over the years -- being different was /bad/ in his family, and he didn't have whatever it was that his older sister did that allowed her to be different but still be a full member of their bland little family.

He glances back to Aigis when she addresses him even as he continues to keep his arms around Nanako -- she really is adorable -- and he frowns slightly as if trying to place the memory. Was she one of the girls at the Halloween Ball? He wants to say that she was, but the days leading up to the last couple of weeks are a touch hazy. But of course he wasn't actually there for that Ball. "No. I don't believe so," he says slowly.

The frown is replaced by a small but friendly smile as he introduces himself, "Masumi Hayashi." He continues to make a point of avoiding eye contact with Fumiya. If you don't see the terrible, horrible, eye-searing abomination against all good taste everywhere, it can't sear your mind. Don't see the abomination.

Pfft. Knowing Nanako she'd take it literally, and then Fumiya would be put out. Or Nanako will just not want to meet a real life superhero, either way keeping Shiki and Captain R safe. She finally steps back from Masumi, giving him a bit of a bow.

"I'm sorry." She apologizes to Masumi. "I was just ... everyone went away and..." Masumi is given a smile. "Hayashi-san, thank you."

She rubs the back of her neck, tugging lightly on one of her pigtails. She looks between the group, and finally wanders over to Fumiya thoughtfully. "Pinks." She declares, looking at his shirt. She likes that... compared to Masumi.

"From Morita?" Thora's gaze suddenly darkens, a murderous glint lurking in those light amber eyes of hers. "No. I bet he didn't even notice I was gone. I don't live at my house anymore." It wasn't even her house anymore, it was his house now, and just thinking about it made anger boil up inside of her all over again. Silently, she lifts a hand to her face, middle and pointer fingers squeezing her temple.

It was funny, with the exception of Aigis, basically all the people she cared about were trapped in there with her. Were it not for the fact that she had to live under that brat Aki the whole time, she might have actually grown to /enjoy/ it there. At least in Mikage-Cho, she didn't have to worry about exams.

Some of the anger subsides, however, as Nanako makes a very astute observation about Fumiya's shirt. She even manages to snicker a little.

"Well, that much is good. I think the last thing any of us need is some idiot getting on our case." He hasn't met Morita, but he got enough of an impression of the guy from what Thora told him before.

Fumiya would absolutely not have liked to stay in Mikage-cho any longer. Nooooooo way. As much of a pain as it is, he'll gladly take schoolwork over going back there. Hands down.

Doesn't mean he won't still gripe about school though.

Fumiya just grins as Nanako points out his shirt. "Of course. Only real men wear pink." He states, matter of factly. Despite his 'getting over' a lot of the nonsense he used to surround himself with, he just can't bear to lose the pink attire. Part of him still really enjoys standing out in some way, after all.

"But anyway, I gotta run." He says, figeting a bit. By has to run he really means, 'gotta go'. "I'll see you guys around. Later Thora-babe, Aigis-babe, L'il-babe." He says before running off.

Yup. He just called Nanako that.

Disguises tend to work pretty solidly on Aigis. It's just hiding that seems to not work so well. Humans really look a lot alike as it is. It's a little frustrating. She probably would not have enjoyed staying in the other world forever. She believes in something most people don't seem to: Responsibility. She has a responsibility to this world, and so can't just eschew it just because it is more convenient for her. Then again, she's a robot. This isn't unexpected.

"Hello Masumi-San. Pleased to meet your acquaintance." She dips her head faintly, and looks towards Thora--worriedly again.

"See you later, Fumiya-Chan." Aigis says, waivng after him. She realizes she used chan. How inappropriate, she thinks.