Description: Alma invites Mika to his favorite cafe for proper introductions after their scandalous battle and before her CWA match against Zangief. A series of glorious misunderstandings follow, with the promise of many more to come.
Life has taken a turn for the exciting recently.
It is thus that Alma appreciates the moments he has to relax in his favorite hometown cafe, Le Petit Chien, where the staff and owners treat him with the same discreet courtesy as always in spite of his increasing fame. Here he can sit and savor his tea in sweet solitude or the company of friends, and reflect on the changes in his life, an activity that becomes necessary with more frequency as upheaval grows common.
His training with his psychic teacher Rose has become an urgent search for allies in his effort to understand the meaning of his fragmented memories before Ayame's mysterious friends and their strange plan come to fruition. The gallery opening in Metro City is only the beginning, it seems, of increasing attention being focused on his art, reducing the time he has to himself. And even his search for a roommate appears to have revealing a new piece in the puzzle of his heart.
But amidst the missions and the madness, Alma takes time to appreciate the bright lights that shine in his life, the rare individuals he encounters. It's important to him to bring them closer, if he can. And so he has invited Mika Nanakawa here in the hopes that she will be able to find the time, however brief. Her passion was memorable and their fight intense -- though the ending of it is a bit foggy.
The pot of fine tea steaming next to a plate of buttery cookies upon his favorite table, positioned nicely in the corner of the well-lit room, Alma takes a sip from his cup, smiles, and waits.
Following up on her loss at the Metro City event last week (despite the fact that her trip has sent hundreds of thousands of new views to rather simple fan website), Rainbow Mika made the return trip back to Southtown to speak with her trainer, Yoko Harmaggedon to pick up some new tips.
Even ignoring the sudden surge of internet attention, Rainbow Mika met one of her greatest ambitions, wrestling in the SlamMasters Arena, and apparently did so with such success that before leaving, one of the promoters requested that she return in time for the next weekend's SLAMFEST... to participate in the main event against Zangief himself!
In all of this recent blitz of success, it feels like her bout with Alma on the beach was ages ago, so when she gets a call requesting that she meet up with him the day before she's scheduled to return to Metro City, it's quite a surprise. Even more so considering for the last few years, Mika's attention has been incredibly focused on training to get to this point.
Is this a date? Is this something other fighters just do? Mika Nanakawa isn't entirely certain, which leads to quite a lot of going through her closet for something that isn't training clothes, and some makeup, but not too much makeup.
This all results in it being ten minutes past their arranged meeting time when Mika shows up at the cafe, her hair pulled into a more managable single ponytail and dressed in a navy blue cardigan over a slightly lacey white blouse and a navy knee length skirt with small flowers dotting its pleated surface. Putting the outfit in a bit of disarray, all she managed to find in the way of footware is a pair of relatively new and clean trainers.
"Sorry I'm late, I, well... trouble getting ready. So sorry."
The ambiguity of the invitation clearly hasn't fazed Alma. He may be blind to some common social conventions -- like dates and what could be reasonably mistaken for one -- but style comes effortlessly. His tailored dress shirt is fetchingly but not immodestly unbuttoned, sleek slacks leading to polished dress shoes, all of which he wears with a charming informality, like this is just how he wakes up in the morning. It might well be. No one knows for sure.
The beautiful psychic looks up from his meditations with a gentle smile, both sincere and seemingly designed to set Mika at ease. "No, I just arrived," he says as he rises, having not much noticed the passage of time. "You look lovely," he remarks, reaching out to take her hand and warmly shake it. "I could paint you just like this." Flattery is easy when you mean everything you say, and there's no way he could spend years training under Rose and not learn how to deliver lines like this. (Though he's still not sure why she put such an emphasis on it.) "Please, allow me," he adds, pulling out the chair opposite him for Mika so that she can sit.
When at last both are seated, Alma regards her with a broadening smile. "Congratulations on your billing against Zangief," he continues, having obviously heard the recent news. "I wish you the best in your fight. I enjoyed ours tremendously." He pauses, his smile turning somewhat apologetic. "Though I must confess I have a hazy memory of how it ended. I was informed afterward that you were victorious, but the organizers wouldn't go into detail as to the finale, for some reason. Regardless, I was glad to be a part of your world tour."
He pours a cup of tea for his companion as he talks on lightly.
"Your spirit in battle, moreover, was unforgettable. I still am not sure I am worthy of the moniker Alma Adonis--" Presumably he means unworthy of being a pro-wrestler, not unworthy of being an Adonis. "--but I find myself fostering a hope that we might join forces in the ring someday. I feel you and I share a common bond in the way we fight."
What, that it should be done in bikinis?
Still uncertain about the exact status of this rendesvous, Mika is nonetheless given to blushing at the reception she receives. Certainly she's dealth with people complimenting her body (and given the sort of audience she plays to, it all leans somewhat toward vulgar), but this casual appreciation is something completely new to her.
Another thing that becomes blazingly obvious after a few moments with Mika Nanakawa, especially in a slightly unusual social circumstance, is the sheer level of politeness that never seems to stop. By the time she's had some tea poured for her, she's somehow managed to input a dozen "Thank you"s. Better to err on the side of being too kind, afterall.
The topic's change away from small talk toward fighting does seem to free her slightly from the uncomfortable loop of automatic thankfulness. A spark lights up inside of her at the mention of her upcoming fight. "I can't believe just how quickly all of this has been happening after my debut. Two weeks ago I thought it was incredible that I was going to be interviewed to join up with a small wrestling league in America, but then I suddenly get an invitation to take part in a match at SlamMasters Arena for an event being held by Mayor Haggar of all people. Sure, I was knocked out of the fight before everyone else, but there's nothing wrong with losing a good fight, and all of those cheers..." Her smile is beaming. "A satisfied crowd is a victory in itself!"
The excitement in the young woman doesn't really stop there, building as she keeps going. "And then... I still can't believe it, they want a new face like me to step into the main event of the most important wrestling event of the year to face Zangief himself!" Something about her excitement screams girlish giggling, even if she herself actually doesn't let out the squealing tones. "These are all things I was expecting to have happen a few years down the line after I'd paid my dues... to think that my training and effort has paid off so quickly... I guess I just really connected with the audience or something."
Alma folds his hands on the table and smiles, listening.
Her good manners outside of the ring, particularly in contrast with her butt-slapping performance, are quite delightful. He delicately takes one of the small cookies before nudging the plate her way invitingly, raising it to his lips as she steamrolls on with evident enthusiasm. He was not aware of how she idolized Zangief, but upon reflection, it should have been obvious given her interests and commitment to her style. Her irrepressible spirit in the wake of her defeat is also reassuring to see. No doubt the crowd would love her regardless of her success.
"Though I cannot attend," he says, "I will surely be watching from afar. I look forward to seeing how you perform in more traditional wrestling garb." He purses his lips slightly as he takes up his cup of tea again. "I recall that I had some trouble with my outfit near the end of our match." Uh, Alma, your outfit was trouble from the very beginning.
He sips his tea and then smiles warmly. "But I was impressed that yours remained intact," he adds, as though that's some sort of compliment. "At least, so far as I can remember."
Mostly, he desired to be in the company of this woman's radiant aura again, and to strengthen their nascent connection, potential for Alma Adonis events aside. But he does also hope that Mika Nanakawa might satisfy his curiosity.
"Do /you/ remember how our fight ended? I accept defeat, of course," he quickly continues, "though I would not be averse to a rematch. It's just that I fear I will not grow from the experience if I do not learn the circumstances."
He purses his lips again.
"And no one wanted to tell or show me."
Alma, learn to use Youtube or something.
It can be both a difficult and a wonderful thing to be around somebody so absolutely passionate about something as Mika Nanakawa is for the sport of professional wrestling. It has been the core focus of her life for the last few years to the point where its quite easy to see how she'd be more than a little awkward in other environments. If not for her innate belief in the value of respect and politeness, she'd likely come across quite boorish.
"Oh, well it's SLAMFEST," there's something about how she says the title of the event that makes it stand out. Like she's mostly heard the phrase spoken from the enthusiastic mouths of wrestlers promoting the event, and saying it any other way would be unspeakable. Advertisers would love her. "If you've got a TV, you just order it... they also put it on at pretty much every sports bar, because it's pretty much the biggest event in fighting."
She's content to follow the interesting threads left behind by Alma's musings, especially as they relate to her core set of knowledge. "Oh, they make special double-sided tape that you need to buy if you're going to be running around in spandex, especially if you're... well... curvy." For as much as she shows off in the ring, having to talk about her body in a social situation still managed to draw color to her cheeks.
Then the topic turns toward something even more embarrassing to both Rainbow Mika and Mika Nanakawa, the results of the fight. "Maybe they didn't want to show you because you'd have every right to contest the results... although, honestly then usually someone just calls for a rematch, and they'd get to sell more tickets and build it up as a grudge match."
It takes Mika a few moments to realize she hasn't actually mentioned the results, at which point she blurts out, "I only won on a technicality. We were both knocked out, but I was sort of sitting on your face... and since both your shoulders were on the mat with me on top, it technically counted as a pin."
"Hmm, I see," Alma remarks contemplatively, his eyes casting downward toward Mika's body with a speculative air as though it were the most natural thing in the world. "Yes, that does make sense," he agrees with her mention of the taping process. "Perhaps I should have asked for some myself." No, Alma, you're not curvy.
But he looks up again and raises an eyebrow with the mention of a possible contestation. "Why would I do that?" As far as he is concerned, their match was a performance; indeed, all fighting is a kind of performance art with the potential for great bonding between adversaries. Having never fought a true life-or-death battle for all his intense training and efforts at self-improvement, he cannot see victory or defeat as anything but incidental. And perhaps with his ideals, even had he fought on real battlefields, he would still feel the same way. Just like Mika's feelings toward her recent loss, the true triumph for Alma is a satisfied crowd and a good show, with some sort of meaning, however profound.
Then she says why.
It's difficult to read Alma's expression.
"That's right," he murmurs. "That is professional wrestling rules."
That's not the important part!!
"Now that I look back," he continues thoughtfully, "I took for a dream what may have been a vague memory. It was as though a vast warm pillow was pressing down upon me, smothering yet sweet, somehow, a strong pressure I found I did not dislike."
"That must have been it!"
Mystery solved. Good work, Alma.
There are really things that you can't say without seeming somewhat creepy, even if you are an alluringly beautiful man that seems to have stepped out of some romantic work of fiction. Amazingly, Alma has actually found one of those and delivered it in such a way as to make the moment all the more uncomfortable for Mika.
She doesn't really enjoy the idea of winning on a technicality in the first place. While she does hold a very strong opinion that entertaining the crowd is vital, there's the matter of respect for your opponent. A win that could be contested isn't a real win. The crowd enjoyed it, so the match wasn't a failure, but she'd be the first to agree with Alma if he wanted to demand a rematch.
As for Alma's particular phrasing of his point of view of the match's ending... perhaps if they were not sitting out in public and knew each other more romanticly it would have come across as sweet, instead it simply turns Mika bright red, forcing her to pick up her cup of tea and take a few distracting sips, preventing anyone from expecting her to say anything on the subject.
Ignorance is bliss.
Alma, utterly unaware of the effects of his poetic description -- surely his psychic powers would tell him if something were amiss -- continues smiling with satisfaction, glad this is going so well. "Nevertheless," he blithely continues, tone mild and even as ever, "I would be glad for a rematch when your busy schedule allows for it." Far be it from him to get in the way of Mika's path to glory. "It is your resolve which I remember more than anything. I had intended to restrain myself from wielding Soul Power, but not only was I unable to resist your challenge, you rose to meet me with extraordinary determination. It's a rare fighter who can resist an attack upon their will through sheer focus, without any specific training in the art."
His complimenting of her ability may facilitate a change in topic from the previous uncomfortable one. It should be pretty clear by now, though, why Alma does not have, and has never had, a girlfriend.
He blinks at Mika over the rim of his teacup.
"You're flushed, Ms. Nanakawa," he remarks with concern. "Are you well?"
"You..." Mika starts, somewhat hesitantly. "You seem to be very casual about using very flowery words..."
Quite honestly, that's all she can manage to answer Alma's question about her condition. She certainly isn't going to invoke the cause of her current emotional state.
A plus is that she has an exit avenue from this as he has brought things back to fighting, a nice safe ground. "I wouldn't turn away a rematch. I may have been declared the winner, but it really wasn't all that clean. It was happenstance rather than skill, and the demanded rematch in situations like this has a long history in professional wrestling."
Feeling quite comfortable in her area of expertise, she starts to drift a bit off topic. "In fact, if it weren't for the demanded rematches, we wouldn't have most of the great rivalries in wrestling. Haggar and Zangief actually had very few matches despite being so iconic, but Gunloc and Biff Slamovich had an incredible rivalry of back and forth matches when they weren't teamed up as the Hyper Cannons."
It might become apparenty why Mika hasn't really ever had a real boyfriend as she goes off so easily on these tangents.
Then she pops back a bit in the conversation, like a sudden rewind. "...Is Soul Power your fancy name for energy attacks? I don't know much about those, they're not really core to wrestling..."
Fortunately, Alma seems as blissfully unaware of Mika's issues with social restraint as he is of his own -- if one can call that fortunate.
Thus he nods earnestly as his companion talks on, taking a moment to refill first her cup and then his own from the pot, listening all the while. He has little personal interest in personal wrestling, and would not take the time to research it on his own, but Mika's enthusiasm is infectious, particularly to one given to attune to the emotions of others. At a certain point the sylvan psychic begins to smile as he watches her talk on, gaze fixed on the light dancing in her eyes.
"How fascinating," he says, referring more to her personality than her words, not that this is clear. "Then perhaps before I would dare to ally with you, I should strive to become your rival," he says lightly. This time, at least, he's clearly joking at least in part. A dabbler in the art like him is no match for a pro like her, unless he employs his psychic abilities with more regularity. "I cannot compare to the Red Cyclone, but perhaps at least a red costume could be made, as you suggested then." She did say something about spandex at the time. "With a little tape." Just wear an outfit that doesn't need to be taped!
He chuckles a little at her last question.
"You may have felt that they are a little different from the norm," he says, smile softening. "My teacher Rose, the famed fortune-teller, has trained me in the art of psychic power capable of striking directly at my adversary's will to fight without resorting to the elements. This is what allows us to move suddenly across short distances--" As when he teleported to her side during their match. "--and to sense the feelings and intentions of others."
Though not all of them, apparently.
"Thus," he adds quietly, gaze intent, "I could not help but be drawn to you."
Alma: avoiding misunderstandings since never, ever.
It just goes to show how little Mika actually knows about fighting that goes beyond the mere physical that none of this makes thing clear to her.
Well, it might also be that Alma's manner of speaking doesn't exactly lend itself particularly well to being easy to understand. There is a reason people tend to be less flowery when they want to explain something important.
"There are a lot of different ways to go about coming up with a wrestling persona," Mika starts, focusing in, as usual, on the topic that she feels comfortable in. "You'd definitely go for some variation of a cassanova type... but you don't flaunt it quite right to be the pretty boy heel... you might be more of a babyface, but honestly pretty boys are usually heels. They taunt the crowd about how much more attractive they are to get them to boo."
Professional wrestling, where any strong reaction is important to a fighter. Sometimes you want the crowd to hate you.
When she finally drops out of yet another detour in the conversation, Mika finally notices the look that Alma has been giving her and starts to put things together with his words. Even for a ring nut like her, it's not hard to piece together his intention.
Okay, it's very hard, but from Mika's perspective it's easy because she happens to be missing a few pieces of information.
"...Well, I guess we could go to a movie or something the next time we're in town together. I think that's what you're supposed to do. I mean, after dinner, or something."
"Hmm, I see," Alma muses. His capacity to absorb Mika's wrestling trivia appears to know no bounds. He is a generally patient person, but when he becomes truly interested in someone, it's nearly impossible to push his limits. "Given your own heroic status, perhaps I could perform the role of a villain." He has a decent sense for what would make for a nice twist. His fans could go nuts for his heel turn. "We could say that my defeat turned me vengeful, and now I live only to pin you!"
No, that's not right either, Alma.
He nevertheless seems amused at the thought, and remains somewhat distracted by the mental image of his own on-stage shenanigans until Mika makes a startling suggestion. He blinks at the blonde before him, no psychic power in his repertoire having prepared him for this twist. He takes a moment to consider. It is an odd suggestion, as he is not certain what getting dinner and going to see a movie has to do with becoming a professional wrestler, but given the wealth of knowledge clearly at Mika's disposal there is no doubt she knows better than he. Thus, after a moment, he nods and smiles again.
"Yes, I would like that very much," he says, eyes warm, posture at ease. "When you return, do not hesitate to reach out to me." He seems perfectly calm at this budding of romance, as though he has experienced it countless times before.
Ignorance ... is bliss.
Log created on 19:36:50 11/14/2014 by Alma, and last modified on 22:59:18 11/14/2014.