Trouble In Paradise - TIP - Week 4 - Des ennuis au paradis

Description: A most disastrously mismatched team of un-cooperative fighters has already come to an end but how it ended still doesn't sit well with one of those involved. The ravaged island is enjoys a tiny respite from the typhoon in which the party going islanders once again try to resume their vacation with high spirits.



The shore of Zack Island was a mess, a lot of the attractions had been closed to damage and bits and pieces of flotsam were still being picked out of the water, off of the beach and shoreline still. It had been a pretty horrendous disaster to have befallen the island paradise. The typhoon hadn't been kind nor had it spared many of the fun activities she had so enjoyed in her time here. It was depressing to see the pristine tropical island in this kind of a state but that didn't dull the enthusiasm of many of the beach goers and holiday makers, beachfront bonfires were all the rage! Helping clean up some of the burnable rubbish and all contributing to furthering the undamepned party spirit.

The watchful and partly envious girl herself was still feeling a little blue but felt much better watching the partygoing activites and employees working hand-in-hand, they seemed to be having fun with some of the clean-up and even planning on goings on for later tonight. An indomitable human spirit that really wants to luau in the face of adversity and mother nature's wrath.

Clutching a railing Hitomi just watches them running around and prepare for festivities for a time while she steels her resolve. It had been more than a week now since she had abandoned her teammate and dropped out from the Trouble in Paradise tournament. She had been certain that neither of them had any real motive to continue and yet? The team name appeared on the boards schedules for further fights still. Moving forward still with a replacement team member filling in the spot she no longer had any claim to ... he had kept fighting.

The match had even already taken place, but there was no real word on the outcome, nobody knew. How could that man have had a match with an idol people were starting to really take note of -- adore even and people NOT BE TALKING ABOUT IT! In the very least they should be blasting her image over the airwaves and television if she had won, declaring Ash Crimson a monster if he had trampled on her pride or image (which he may very well have if given the chance, maybe.) She wasn't sure about him, but people should have been talking -- and they weren't.

Her knuckles rapping against the door announce her presence but at the same time she cuts off and listens to see if she can hear the sound of a splash.

The strongly sunburnt karateka is baked to an almost painful looking shade of pink. standing at the door in her huge floppy sunflower sunhat and all covered up. The white long-sleeved shirt had a rounded cartoon bear face on the chest with pink stripes circling the neck seam and biceps, a beige skirt and some long grey stockings with an argyle deco print running up the sides of her legs.

She keeps rapping on the door a little more insistently and louder with each burst and gradually shortening period of waiting. Brief spurts figuring that if she hears that splash! That one, that said he had maybe ducked out the back and jumped into the ocean just to avoid her.

She might've felt like doing the same if he'd come calling when she was at her lowest she still didn't know what to make of their last... --!

*Rap-Rap-Rap-Rap*

"Ash Crimson! ..are you in there?!"

The indomitable human spirit may wish to luau in the face of disaster, but it could go about the celebrations a lot more quietly. Festivities and pointless revelry continue late into the night despite the state of the tropical paradise; Ash has refrained from joining in, and is often kept awake by the cacophonous racket. Who knew that collecting all the trash and burning it could be so riveting? Or how about, helping with the repairs of insert building here? Always a blast.

For now, he has silence for a companion. The do-gooders and brown-nosers are scrambling somewhere along the shore, hunting and gathering like clowns, laughing shouts too muted and far away for his ears to catch. Let it remain as such until the sun goes down, at least. He might be able to sneak in a nap. Ash hasn't been seen much since his last tournament match, leaving many in suspense or to assume that he's sulking hard over a devastating loss. Even when the typhoon raged in earnest and destroyed all the fun things that he didn't much care for, he didn't leave the sanctuary of his room in the cottages.

The outside of Crimson's particular residence appears weather-worn and damaged. Not only have hunks and large bits of palm trees been thrown against the siding - now settled in a sandy heap all against the right side - the decorative shutters for windows hang lopsided on their hinges; the windowpanes are intact, but the roof is sagging and has that waterlogged look, so it must have been leaking steadily until the torrential rains stopped. Now it is sunny and stifling, but still curtains are drawn and windows remain unopened. If it's this warm outside, then inside it must be unbearable. A sauna. A heat stroke hot-spot.

Nah, he dug out a large fan from the closet, before he roasted away like a plucked turkey in an oven. Ash currently perches on the edge of the bed, without a shirt, a bowl full of ice in his lap. Gives new meaning to the term 'blue balls,' I guess? He's got on a pair of fitted blue jeans, however.

A marvellous combination of fan, air cooled further as it passes over the ice, and the bowl resting in his lap help keep the French flamewielder cool. He leans back, staring at the ceiling, eyeing the cracks in the stucco, the bucket in the corner that was used to catch water from the leak. It's been cleaned, but left as a precautionary. In fact, the entire room is clean. The only crease on the covers is made by Ash himself because he's seated there. A boring, black heavy-duty suitcase is open and everything he had brought has been carefully arranged and folded.

RAP-RAP!

Ash freezes, perhaps even literally. This happens every time someone comes to call, which has been blessedly infrequent. Just some schmuck asking about the match results, assuming all official footage had been lost in the combination of aquarium collapse and typhoon. The young man... told him the 'Pudding Hearts' had won, then shut the door.

His next visitor stopped by to take an inventory of the damages to the interior and exterior of his little home in t&a hell. They didn't exchange words, Ash just read a book until they left.

He really hasn't felt up to being social, but that aside, Ash also wonders if the next visitor will be Amy, or Athena. Maybe that other girl. Do they know that it wasn't him, the one who was trying to kill them all? Would they show up in a towering rage, demanding a fight? Would the Goddess reawaken and attempt to kill him for real this time?

RAP-RAP!

At the very least, he'll take a peek to discern the identity of the person so impatiently knocking on his door. The slender European shifts the bowl of ice from his lap to the bed, lurching off of the covers and past the fan to his suitcase. Ash pulls the first shirt from the top of the pile, a black dress shirt, and is just sliding his arms into the sleeves when he doesn't have to go so far to find out who his guest may be.

Hitomi.

The fey Frenchman's expression twists with displeasure. In a way, the German karateka is the very last person he wants to see, but still the only person he'll answer the door for. Confusing, yes? "Patience is a virtue, doesn't she know that?" Crimson mutters to himself as he shoulders into the shirt and... doesn't fasten it all the way, mostly because the thin teen would prefer she not shriek her fool head off, so he hurries over.

Surprise! There's no splash! Ash Crimson is actually here. The door opens inwards, and his arm slides along to rest against the frame. He leans there almost lazily, half-lidded eyes of blue staring down the length of his freckled nose at her. "That looks awful," he observes in a way that is... subdued, but unspecific. Is he talking about her sunburn or her TERRIBLE clothes? They're so awful that they sear the horrible image into his retinas forevermore. Probably that.

Hitomi blinks in response to the door open inwards, her hand in midst of the next rap against the door only to have it drawn out of her reach. Dorkily raising it to the top of her head she adjusts her hat after deciding what to with the awkward 'what do I do with this arm' waver, angling the brim of the floppy straw hat back so it doesn't interfere in conversation. She also drops her head to look down in response to Ash's provoking jab at her appearance, taking in her own look with a swivel and half turn. She spins it positively with a faint and slightly embarrassed grin as she makes a show of openly examining the bare skin of her own forearm. Price paid for all the playing around on the island she had done, island trekking through the jungle, Bike riding, and jet skiing and swimming. Zack Island was a blast and she had really enjoyed her time in having fun in the sun maybe a little too much.

"It's not as painful at all and it should fade if I keep out of the sun. I guess I went a little overboard!"

Most likely why she was wearing so many layers of clothing in a sweltering tropical climate, that or she just had no fashion sense or awareness of her surroundings. Her eyes linger on his face and flicker downwards toward his bare chest, there was no sign of any of the wounds and damage he had taken during their final match together, which had been -- just over a week and a half ago? A long time to have been avoiding someone.

Relieved she shifts her hands around to behind her back and clasps them together as the bright and sun singed beauty fidgets on Ash's doorstep attempting weak conversation. Clearly a little happier than she had been just a moment before after peeking inside the shift hanging half open and bare chest beneath.

"I hadn't seen you around anywhere or heard about how.. your match went. ...So i thought I'd come, ask I mean."

A match where they seem to have kept the same team name for Ash and the replacement team member who had taken over for her.

Things had probably gone a lot better for Ash once he had been able to pick his own partner. There was still some hurt and guilt there but the words of that strange ninja guy high atop the volcano had said.

Expectantly she all but waits to hear that without her Ash's match had gone swimmingly, with big blue eyes and sincere smile she wants to hear that he won so she can congratulate him and severe this weird tie she felt to him, like she owed him but she could never repay it because he plainly didn't want her around.

Well, it's a good thing she doesn't... knock again... on his face.

I mean, as funny as that /would be/, it wouldn't have gone over very well. Then the young karateka could confirm that she isn't wanted or welcome here...

At present, and without knocking on his face, her beliefs of such are only half correct: Hitomi isn't UNwanted or UNwelcome, exactly. The Frenchman's stance is just as uncertain, but he's all too happy to go on without addressing the matter. For what reason, I cannot say.

Her assumption is that he sought a new partner, eager to continue with his participation in the tournament, and that brings her to his door. Without the hindrance of a teammate prone to sobbing all over him, perhaps Ash could finally let loose as is his wont and enjoy himself. Hitomi has called upon him to hear... rejection, something final that will absolve her of lingering guilt and whatever else is there. Icky gross emotions.

Unfortunately, Crimson does not provide these things.

He can't, because he didn't even sign up. His team name was changed, and while he had been acquainted with Amy prior to their partnership, the Englishwoman wasn't his choice...

Ultimately, the onus falls on the viewers, demanding to see more of the enigmatic European with his bubbleflames. They were hoping that Hitomi would rejoin him after, well, what happened... But the girl had quit. Ash didn't, not officially, so he was conscripted.

Ash probably isn't going to say a damn thing about any of this -- hope you like the meta!

From impassively watching her sort her hat, to the swivel and turn to acknowledge the state of her poor epidermis, she speaks as though the sunburn will fade the next day. That it will in no way result in sleepless nights of tossing and turning and... What is Hitomi staring at? After a perplexed blink, his eyes follow her gaze to his chest, alabaster stretched over muscle and bone. Seeing that it's bared, Ash would normally follow up with hastily buttoning up his shirt the rest of the way, but considering the moment shared that has left this particular girl in such turmoil regarding him, there's this... Weird sense of comfort that overrides his pathological aversion to showing skin.

In fact, had he been in the mood to mess with the karateka some, Ash would've asked her slyly if she liked what she sees.

A thought occurs to him, looking down; the wounds he had sustained in his fight with Ryu Hayabusa are gone. Cuts that should still be present. A fading bruise on his face that was still quite horrendous only one week ago. Does... she not find that... weird? The French teen is almost glad that if Hitomi registers such oddities, she doesn't draw attention to it. Just her lobster red skin. "Aloe vera," Ash offers softly, before rotating the shoulder of his arm propped against the door frame, head canting towards it. Platinum blonde hair spills over onto the collar of his black shirt and onto his clavicle.

Whether or not she takes his advice, it makes little difference to him. If not, Hitomi is doing herself a great disservice. Next comes melanoma, you silly girl!

Godduh.

"Oho, so it wasn't announced," the pyrokinetic speaks faintly, almost breathy, then he steps away from the door -- actually, he strides away from it, allowing it to swing fully open in invitation. "There's a table we can sit at, I'd rather not have this conversation in a doorway." She can leave the door unlocked, if she's worried he'll do anything untoward. Ash walks to the window closest to the two-seater table by a small kitchenette, tucking back the curtains and allowing fresh air to permeate the room. It doesn't do much to cool the place, however. The ice is melting into water in the bowl.

He drops into a chair, back to the entrance. This will allow Hitomi a clear line of sight of the door and her escape route, if need be. He leans toward the window, peering out at the beach, arm draping over the back of the chair as his slender frame angles itself in that direction. It's a nicer view around sunset, but sunset is a long ways off. Hours, something like that. Exhaling a sigh, Ash's clear blue eyes travel towards her...

Provided that Hitomi follows him inside, and assumes the place designated for her, a long moment of silence stretches out as if into infinity. On and on until at last, Ash begins, "I can't remember most of it." He has flashes, brief recollections, but he doesn't know whether they're true or false. The nightmares are the closest thing, but all of just dying. His heart stopping, falling forward. "You would've hated it, I'm sure," he concludes in a way that is completely unsatisfying. Will her meddlesome personality cause the German to press for more answers?

Honestly, Ash is still trying to figure out why he let her in, when he could've dismissed Hitomi so easily.

"Aloe vera?"

The girl parrots him before curiously applying his statement in context to the situation and her state as a rare cooked Hitomi. She was taking care of herself and her skin but over three weeks in the tropics had caught up on her even with all the sunblock, perhaps a bit too much play out on the water.

"Mhmm, that and cool showers work wonders."

Whatever he could have meant had not been announced Hitomi is far from privy or informed about, after all wasn't that why she was here, Finding out what had happened? Not that she had much right to be. When he steps away from the door she hardly moves though is pleasantly surprised it isn't combo leading into a door suddenly closing in her face with a stylish exit stage left.

"Sorry for disturbing you."

The room had looked pretty buttoned up, the curtains thrown wide only just now, had Ash been sleeping? The Japanese like mannerism is a hair forced seeming and nervous but the girl wander in alright, in fact she seems to spin around and take an interest in How Ash was living, the state of cleanliness of the room and how the kitchenette looked at a glance. Was he cooking for himself or maybe hitting the parties and buffets for meals? There aren't many clues or things to give away any elements to his character she can really make sense of and she tarries just a little as he is seated with his back to her.

Taking a seat opposite Ash she smoothed her skirt in her lap with her hands and sits patient and silent, vaguely wondering who was going to start or whether Ash was going to explain any more after his invitation to sit at his table. Was he ordering his thoughts or thinking back on what he experienced? She continues to sit quietly with her fingers toying with the hem of the skirt and wondering if maybe she should say something.

Confusion yet again turns slightly to worry as Ash does speak, He doesn't remember the match and the look on his face when he assures her she would have hated it sends chills up and down her spine and heat sensitive skin, things had been pretty hairy in almost every fight they'd been in. She had wondered if people and fighters like this were going to keep surprising her with the strange and crazy powers and situations since then. She didn't regret those fights or hate anyone involved.. she buries her worry

"Did you get hurt or hit your head? You're injuries healed really fast! I thought maybe you're like that or they have one of those Healing tanks here."

Recieving healing like this wasn't impossible; she knew it herself after sustaining injuries enough in a rooftop match against ...a Justice High student during that school tourney.

There are times when Ash just hates his brain, and this is one of them. Forefinger and thumb pinching at the bridge of his lightly freckled nose, he is determined to push away the mental image that springs forward, bashing all of his other thoughts aside. In a way, picturing an attractive woman in the shower like a healthy 18-year-old is something of a relief; all he's seen for days are mad attempts to murder three girls. However, he knows it isn't entirely appropriate to the situation no matter what brief reprieve it may offer, even more so considering the subject.

If he could've been thinking about anyone BUT Hitomi - Elisabeth, maybe? - Ash wouldn't be so quick to shake his head and dispel it, tucking away long, loose strands of blonde behind each of his ears. Besides, the karateka thinks he's a jerk.

A jerk who held her awkwardly for hours and she probably cried herself to sleep against his chest or something in the backseat of the truck. Yeah, all the way down from the summit of the volcano, all the way to the residences.

Girls are fucking crazy.

And dense, talking about stuff like cold showers so innocently.

Hitomi apologizes for disturbing him, which he takes to mean that she's also excusing herself for the intrusion. Her nosiness goes without a hint that the Frenchman minds or cares, and she obviously gleans nothing from the spin around to check, except that he is extremely fastidious and perhaps neurotic. Ash cleaned the bucket full of rain water, who does that?!

She sits across from him and earns minimal acknowledgement, perhaps a lazy glance offered in her direction... But marvelling at how quickly his injuries have healed earns the reaction of a visible wince. Ash's arm slides from the back of the chair. He rotates on his seat to face Hitomi fully. Clasping his hands together, they're set in his lap to be hidden from view because they're trembling. A brief moment shows scarce hints of emotion quickly passing through blue eyes that are the last to move toward her, and once he deigns to reply...

The power cuts out.

The gentle hum of the fan is gone, the room is thrown into semi-darkness. Ash's attention snaps back to the window, his head along with it, so quickly that his neck aches. Angry black clouds are pushed in from the east, cascading over the blue sky and blotting out the sun. The wind howls in joyous response. Palm trees shudder as if in fear. Not even a full minute later, rain. A torrential downpour that causes the thin European to rise and slam the window shut. That might be... startling, because the teen does it with more force that necessary. He moves off gracefully, actions even elegant when scooping up the bucket and setting it down under the leak in the ceiling.

CRAKKA-BOOM!

Starting and then releasing a sigh as he straightens, Ash folds his arms against his middle, cupping his elbows. "Saa, I guess the storm before was just a teaser. Maybe this is the real thing." He bites down against his lower lip, white teeth kneading it softly while casting around the room for... An umbrella? There's none. No rain ponchos, jackets, galoshes, nothing. The flamewielder certainly didn't bring anything. "Mon dieu," A pause so pregnant that it is in the third trimester! "You..."

Ash covers his eyes not out of shame, but so he can rub his temples, hoping the keep a headache at bay due to the sudden change in weather, "You should probably stay awhile." What if that turns into 'all night'? He's sleeping on the floor like a chump, fml. What a bother.

In the sudden descending gloom Hitomi remains quiet listening to the unpowered slowing fan ticking down, half standing from her seat at the table and craning her neck to look out the window at the sudden mass exodus of people fleeing the beach. Piles of gathered debris beginning to scatter in the rising winds and the partygoers flee the onslaught and waves of driving rain. Wow, she would have been caught out in that.

She moves to the window and peers out forlornly fingertips almost touching the glass, watching only as the flash of lighting illuminates her face in the window she softly begins counting in hopes of determining how far the..

"One-"

CRAKKA-BOOM!

The loud and charged boom and rumble is followed by the reverberating rattle of the pane of glass in its frame and protests form the structure itself. The barrage of rain battering away harshly at the other side of the glass intensifies, the entire structure being tested with the force of the storm breaking against the shorefront properties, probed by both wind and water.

"... I hope not, my room had a half a tree in it after the last one. Most everything was completely soaked."

Hitomi turns at the exclamation in French, her attention distracted away from the ferocity of the storm. Her head cocks during the pregnant pause and wonder what was meant by the following ...you?

Graciously smiling back at him, hopeing to hide the relief in not being kicked out into the storm she inclines her head in a nod that seems almost a curious half bow, grateful at not being kicked out into the storm? She still holds out hope that a window will appear for her to maybe make it back even to her hotel and-the rain comes down harder in response to her wish.

"Huah!! It's really coming down out there."

Such that she could no longer even make out the high rise buildings and hotels she knew were still THERE. A disconcerting and suddenly disconnected feeling to be sure. There is a loud plastic snap followed by a shaking fluidic noise and a blossoming of blue light as the girl finishes shaking a fluorescent glow stick and sets it down on the table top. This wasn't a 'Party Island!' for nothing, the things where all over when some of the night time parties ensued.

That's... the "flash-to-bang" method, where you count the seconds that pass between a flash of lightning and the crack of thunder that follows it. As they're currently indoors, there's no particular need for Hitomi to do this, but she does and only gets as far as one.

In spite of himself, Ash almost finds that adorable, dragging his hand down over his nose and mouth, hovering his palm to hide pinched lips so she can't see how he fights to keep from smiling.

PLUNK PLUNK!

The ceiling has begun to leak, droplets splashing into the bucket in slow, rhythmatic drips. Another bright flash of light illuminates the room, not that it's particularly hard to see-- Actually, scratch that. Outside, an angry dark sky, the wind gathering up sand from the beach in a little vortex. Branches pelt the siding of the residence, each hit a dull thud, and the curtain rod trembles in its rest. Overhead, a groan from the roof. It's reinforced; it won't be falling on their heads any time soon. Nothing to worry about.

As she describes how her belongings and such were soaked... Ash wonders if this is the reason Hitomi assaults his poor eyes with fashion disaster. It's like the girl commits every crime known to clothing. Argyle socks, suspenders... A white long-sleeved shirt with a teddybear. Does the German karateka have a little sister? Something that would justify her awful habiliments...

He leaves the side of the bucket, but sweeps past the table in a long, leisurely stride. There's not much to the room: A bed, nightstand, door to the bathroom, a reading chair and a television on an ornate dresser. The two-seater table and the small kitchenette, front entrance and a walk-in closet that doubles for a storage. In no time at all, Crimson slides open the drawer of the nightstand, removing from inside it a notepad and a non-descript blue ball-point pen. He brings both of these items back to the table, setting them down on the lacquered surface. The glowstick shines its fluorescent light on the bare white page and his elaborate nails, red with little black patterns and flames.

Uncapping the pen, Hitomi might remember that the lithe flamewielder is left-handed. The lackadaisical freckle-faced youth writes a single word in lazy, legible printing, the letters slanting to the right: France. "Continents, countries, provinces or cities," Ash explains simply, quietly, "You start with the last letter and we keep track on paper, so nothing is used twice." He slides the paper over towards her, not even ASKING if the young lady would like to play, but assuming she'll take him up on the offer. It's better than sitting here in silence, dogging him with annoying questions or commenting on the weather.

Speaking of the weather, now it's raining cats and dogs, windows hammered by large droplets that splatter across the pane and hail looks to be not far off.

Wandering back to the table the girl settles into the seat in the chair Ash Crimson so recently vacated and picks up the notepad passed her way. The writing is probably fine and legible under normal conditions ... but a biros scratching's in the near dark require some examination, especially in terms of a game with rules.

France, by the rules, then she would have to come up with something beginning with 'E' for -- England, Manchester United!

"England."

She likewise scribbles out with a flowing cursive that would probably be completely indecipherable in the low light conditions on the next line directly below it. She sets the pen down atop the pad and pushes it back across toward Ash, turning the pad towards him whilst doing so but the entire time she is just wondering if there was a reason, some method to how and why they were playing this? The pad criss-crosses the table as names are fired back and forth, Hitomi's answers aren't particularly inspired choices and rarely one where the last letter is even leads into anything tricky to come up with a possible answer to- that one came out of nowhere and was better than most.

"Rio de Janiro."

But it wasn't just an answer to playing the game, it was picking at loose threads and surface thoughts playing across in her mind. Travelling to various countries and meeting the different fighters and people participating in and around that scene, most were irreplaceable memories, good and bad. Daniel Little in his governmental grey suit and tie, cheerfully and enjoying himself while sharing a steak meal after a 'chance' encounter in the airport after one of his matches. Travelling itself was. A fight with a real honest to god pro-wrestler and a tour in Zambia afterwards, she didn't even have to pay for it. Being a fighter and getting to do things like this were /really/ amazing opportunities.

She was committing it to paper there, in indelible bites that meant nothing really to anyone but her. She was definitely doing something weird with the game; it wasn't a pastime that should make someone smile before they wrote down an answer. It should have just been whiling away time or eating up the silence with soething inoffensive.

"Offenburg."

The name of her home city rolls off her tongue as she continues in kind with her answers, but her hands stops scratching alway on the pad long before she could have completed writing the entirety of the long name, that one didn't feel so good. Instead of thinking about all the good things and how much they meant to her, all she could feel was how much she missed them. Homesickness already?

She plasters on a plastic smile and pushes the notepad back across the table in a fair imitation of how they had been playing thus far. She missed her home, her family. But what of Ash? He started the game having writing France, and she was sure she had heard him referred to as such during at least some of their time together, in one of their few seemingly horrible encounters and matches together.

What would his family even be like? Probably rich and flaky and snarky.. and occasionally mean, maybe pretty and fabulous.. But kind of confusing about whether he was entirely and totally a jerk. ... that they were! -They- were jerks! Probably.

And so it begins, not with a bang, but with a...

BOOOOOOOOOOOM!

Another flash of lightning, rending the darkened sky asunder. White light illuminates the room and their faces, hers looking awfully baked and his pale and unblemished. Ash assumes a seat at the table. Not his original chair, but the one Hitomi herself had vacated when she rushed to peer out the window. Crossing one leg over the other, the slender teen kicks back and lounges.

Her flowing cursive marks the page beneath his small scrawl. England. Synonymous with predictable.

"Denmark."

There is no reason for the game, and it represents nothing but a way to pass the time. It encourages them to think, but not to laugh, converse or interact in any way deemed meaningful... Just places and the gentle shift of paper as it is slid back and forth. She looks for more, sees more in her selections that he does not. The effeminate Frenchman feels nothing, not even when he intentionally takes longer than he actually requires to come up with the next location. Ash is drawing out the moment where he can, as it suits him.

Elbow against the lacquered surface of the table, he leans his freckled cheek into the palm of his hand -- the right hand, Ash needs the left. It is the same half of his face that was so badly bruised, and by all accounts should still be, if it weren't for his 'injuries healing really fast'. The paper returns, the pyrokinetic adds his next word and pushes it back. Outside, rain pours down ever harder, intent on drowning the island, sound growing like a crescendo as it hammers against the window panes of the little residence. Palm leaves are shifting along the beach as the sand turns to the consistency of sludge, too heavy to take flight.

"Equador."

He seems bored. His blue eyes are distant and his face is devoid of emotion. Blonde hair spills over his thin fingers, lit by the gentle light from the glow stick. As Hitomi finishes scratching down 'Offenburg', Ash glances down at the list with something akin to recognition in his gaze. Brief, fleeting, gone.

Believe it or not, Ash read the karateka's dossier months ago, if you would so recall...

FLASHBACK

"It says here that grand-maman Hitme is German. Should I be concerned?"

END FLASHBACK

Hitomi's home city was listed in that very file. Despite the look of him - he appears disinterested and detached - Ash wonders if to name the place causes her to miss it. He... hadn't even thought of France after writing it down. 'Home' is a sad and sorry state of affairs, better left behind him. She thinks, due to the way the flamboyant flamewielder has turned out, that his parents were a set of truly terrible people. That they were beautiful, but mean. His memories of his father are nothing, only that the man was ill and died hating him. A broken heart destroyed his mother, who was truly a wonderful, loving woman. She drowned in the summer when he was six. All but officially adopted by the Blanctorches, they're mostly gone now, as well. Their daughter, Elisabeth, is the sole survivor.

Any trip down that memory lane is not enjoyed. Eyebrows knit together to express his displeasure; Ash pushes it from his mind and banishes it to the recesses where it belongs. If only he could do the same with events that had happened so recently, which Hitomi saw fit to bring up unknowingly. Stupid, innocent girl. This is why the young man is so cruel to her.

"Germany."

Without even thinking, the next word is printed sloppily, almost completely illegible. Was that... a jab? "Tch," Ash clicks his tongue and doesn't even dare to seek her face in the dim light, to see if she's offended, cerulean blues lidding and staring at the floor.

Hitomi's hand falls short of reaching pad, searching fingers sinking to rest on flat of the tabletop, one that still remembers the sun's warmth, a fingertip barely touching the pad, the heavy leaden feeling in her chest and stomach intensifying as for the first time in minutes looking back up into Ash's face. Reading and re-examining the disinterest plainly like it was written on the pad for her to contend with in the next wave of the game, but not something she could really come up with an answer to, she had no cards left to play. Her motivation to continue evaporating on contact with the aura of disinterest surrounding the Frenchman she reclines away from the table into her chair; all but dragging her arms back toward and letting them settle into her lap with a gentle exhale.

Her spirits seemed to be flagging of late, even she.. no, especially she! Noted that giving up things was becoming something of a habit.. A funk like this just wasn't in her nature! To get mired down and stop moving forwards. She fought for this, to get out into the big wide world. Won the right by becoming strong enough that she earned her father's approval.

Extending her arms to either side she turns palms up and lifts them into position like she is supplicating toward the sky, asking for divine inspiration of help dealing with the situation (or Ash Crimson? ) The only tell is in the minute half second of hitched breath and screwing of her eyes tightly closed.

The violent clap as she slaps both her own cheeks was unrestrained and loud enough it rings throughout the room, it stung! It really hurt quite a bit and unprepared it probably would have been enough to make her eyes water.. both her cheeks and her palms flash with pain that was turning into a burning and a spreading numbness, the pain will pass soon enough anyway. That hurt to do but she was already feeling better with the jolt to her system. As her arms fall away she curls her hands into fists and coils her arm back like she might pump it, bursting into an energetic grin she completely turns the tables on the self that has been stopped ever since that Volcano top match-up, where quitting gained her more of what she wanted than winning would - that still rankled.

"Mhm!! It's a wonderful place to live! Uhh.. sorry, about that. Eh-heh"

Mama ? Papa? Ich hoffe, dir geht es gut, was deine Gesundheit und deine Arbeit anbelangt.

She wasn't the only one making sacrifices so that she could be out here in the big wide world. Her mother was probably struggling to keep up with the housework and the cooking, her father likely picking up some more chores as well as having one less pair of trained hands around the dojo. She had to smile, partly because it was funny, and because they would want her to. She descends on Ash Crimson at close to 100% Hitomi enthusiasm, treating him like an adult and a superior she still intent on moving forward, and learning what she can form him with all the subtlety and tact that's mutually shared with oncoming traffic.

"You have been a fighter for a while and you're also really strong right? You must have some good stories?"

Just like that, the game comes to a stuttering halt. Maybe Ash should've invested himself more in the proceedings, as he was the one who suggested it...

Maybe Ash could've even, you know, stopped being such a dick.

Maybe a lot of things, but they're just maybes and maybes aren't actuallys, only mourning what could have and should have happened. He wasn't entirely interested, thus he is not surprised when Hitomi grows similarly disenchanted and seeks other ways to pass the time.

For his own amusement, if it weren't for the fact that she could come to harm just by stepping out the door into a raging storm, Crimson would cut her off mid-sentence and disrupt her...

But what he thinks is coming, well, doesn't. At least, not right away. Yes, she abandons the charade, but instead of immediately launching into twenty questions to fill the void, Hitomi... double-slaps herself in the face, the noise loud enough that it overpowers the pounding rain on the windows and the siding of the building. It clearly shocks Ash, whose gaze snaps to the karateka, real emotion flitting across his freckled features.

Under his breath, he declares her an idiot. A movement of his lips, but not a sound.

With Hitomi suddenly all genki and beaming at him, cheek lifting from his hand, the Frenchman actually begins to recoil, drawing away, as if that energy were something vile and infectious. He then folds his arms across his chest, the thin material of his black dress shirt shifting and revealing more of the teen's alabaster skin. "Saa." That is not a response, Ash Crimson! Rolling your shoulders isn't so polite, either.

He can't help it, he doesn't care if Offenburg is a nice place or an awe-inspiring shithole. So what?

She careens from one topic to the next like a drunk driver behind the wheel, enough that the look on his face sours as though he had tasted something awful. Pupils can't narrow much in the limited amount of light, but they dialate to some small degree. The blue pools grow larger and she has Ash's full attention.

Wetting his dry lips with his tongue, Ash likes these long, agonizing pauses. The ones that stretch on and on without end... Or he does it because... it's Hitomi, and while the European man isn't exactly HORRIBLE to her, he tries to maintain this image of being so off-putting that she will never warm up to him, and thus keep herself at a reasonable distance. Her personality is prone to meddling and she's so... innocent, but I think I've covered this. The pyrokinetic would only do her harm and disservice.

"Instead of answering your silly questions," ... D..damn. "You sought me out to find out the results of my match, mais non?"

"Why?"

As if in deep contemplation, he splays his slender fingers across that broad slash of a mouth, the pads gently brushing his lips, "You've called me a, ah, je ne sais pas ce qu'elle a dit. A jerk? Oui, I think, on more than one occasion. Do you think that you owe me something now, after the last time?" Ash speaks to himself and to Hitomi simultaneously, managing this by swapping the language she understands out for his native tongue. "Or have you finally figured it out, after all? You're so naive, I can't even begin to imagine how you have managed to survive this long on your own without someone constantly protecting you."

It gets worse. So much worse. "Really, you should've gone home when I told you to. I'm younger than you are, yet I was still better prepared, ahaha~" Ash's musical laughter at the end is the real kicker, mocking and snide and heartless, but forced. He feels this instant swell of regret, but he isn't about to act on it or even apologize. She isn't worth it, to him.

Hitomi wonders during the long pause, Was Ash Crimson really thinking back? Perchance he would have stories of interesting places or opponents worth sharing in his estimation, some hope that this life was worth--

Silly Questions? I guess that's soc a finger raises to scratch at her cheek abashedly, slapping herself seemed to be covering up most of the signs of embarrassment, only the gloom left to hide the downcast eyes, that and that long fringe of hair, the last time she had been together with Ash she had to clean his dried blood out of her hair, after her crying into his already wounded chest. Washing her hair time after time until the foam stopped turning pink and it finally felt clean again, but that had left something of a mark.

Why?

Peeking through strands of hair Hitomi casts a look at Ash and wonders what she had wanted to see. A smirking I told you so? A cheery Ash with a new partner he liked or felt confidant with? a -- happy or pleased expression?! In all her time watching him, she had never seen. Not one sighting of a sincere happy smile, and she thought that maybe that was her, her presence or fault somehow. Now she was uncertain it was the case, she bites her lip on the unsatisfactory answer rather than provoke him.

The laughter covers the scrape of chair legs across the floor, rising from the table the German girl initially struggles with what she wants to do. Poised at the table's edge; she is offended there's no hiding it, the hurt and embarrassment a little easier to hide with the red in her cheeks and an excuse of faintly watering eyes. She was an unwelcome guest, and someone who had through circumstance almost been forced on Ash Crimson in their every encounter. It -- wasn't his fault.

"I'm sorry"

A repeat of those same words that had led her to start weeping all over Ash some weeks back, with his arm holding her tightly there. So she was na?ve, and she hadn't done or had whatever training or near magical seeming power Ash Crimson hadc her hands ache with how tightly the fists are clenched.

"I think I should go.."

She didn't want to hit him, not truly. The things he said touched on nerves and she was ill equipped to be mean in return, hardly even defensive. The more present and sharper the barbs the more she focused on what was being said and wondering if that were right or the way of things.

But for now, all he was saying was she was weak, and that didn't hurt her so much. She never assumed she was strong to begin with.

"Thank you for giving me so much to think about."

She offers a plenty sincere smile to Ash before turning her back on him and making for the door.

If only she had hit him, Hitomi would've earned herself a measure of respect. As it stands, Ash's opinion of the young karateka drops lower still, plummeting straight into the negatives. He wants to shake her, demand she stand up for herself, not present a face so akin to a kicked puppy, crushed by the weight of the world or because everything - people - are just so damn unfair.

All visitors to his humble abode were considered unwelcome, but Hitomi is even moreso in these moments. She's embarrassed or offended, which was his intention. The crystal tears that brim in her eyes expected. But Ash still wasn't about to throw her out, especially not since the typhoon has made a raging comeback. It doesn't matter if the German girl was forced upon him due to coincidence and sheer dumb luck; he has tried to both keep her out of his hair and to protect her when she insisted on fighting in the tournament. He stopped her form facing Testament, comforted her, and now the pyrokinetic's going to stop her from rushing out into a torrential downpour. It's hailing outside, you ridiculous child! Look at the state of the island! Ugh!

Guess Ash should've considered how easily his words wound others...

Nope.

The scrape of the chair upon the floor; if he had any compunctions to letting her endanger herself and how he might be to blame for it, they no longer show. The Frenchman chooses not to shoulder that responsibility, or the guilt. Even a little is more than he cares for.

He lurches out of his seat, right hand slapping down against the table. The notepad and pen hit the hardwood, both sounds dull and drowned out by the louder noise outside. Ash extends his left arm, hopefully before she can flit away to the door. Fingers stretch, reaching to latch securely around her wrist and anchor her in place. His lovely freckled face contorts with anger, but it is betrayed by the utter lack of conviction in his voice, "Do you even listen to yourself? Stop acting like a baby. You think running out into that kind of rain is the smartest idea, or the safest? Merde. Stupid woman, on t'a berce trop pres du mur?""

"Zut, if that's what you want to do, then feel free," he says snidely, because Hitomi would be taking her safety into her own hands, now. If the flamewielder did grab her by the wrist, his slender digits slip away, arm falling to his side. Ash straightens to his full height, far greater than hers, "If you get hurt, you'll only be making the people who care about you sad. Go ahead, should they mean so little to you." The guilt trip is laid on thick, and Crimson's lips twist into a frown. "How incredibly selfish." For someone so self-concerned and self-absorbed to be labelling the karateka as the same, it is the height of insults.

But hey, should be obvious that he doesn't want to see her harmed, even by her own stupidity. Right?

Anchored in place the girl jerks to a stop mid her first step, turns back surprised at the unexpected twist, the smack on the table and apparent move to stop her, she stares at the hindrance encircling her wrist. Her back still mostly turned toward Ash Crimson she relents enough to ease the strain against her shoulder, no move to pull her arm away or flinch at the sudden grabbing, instead she just smiles weakly back at him; though it's forced, fixed and weak she is still just as uncomfortable and embarrassed. It wasn't getting any easier to be here. Even when his actions just now might be taken as something caring or kind they were wrapped up in barbed wire such that it seemed she weren't mean to accept what was offered, being a hindrance or too much of an imposition to be sincere offers. He offered her shelter while intimating that she shouldn't take it.

Unwelcome and despised whether she was present or not for a brief moment she is just lost, trying to read his face and find the balance between the words and the actions. The expressions and the insults that earmarked her as such a horrid human being.

What should she do?

Reeling away from the sudden tongue lashing definitively pushes her away, she was selfish? and making the people who loved her worry? It was a dumb move, running out into a storm like this just because she was getting upset; feeling hurt... but the alternative was rough, being chipping down and eroding away in little bite sized pieces. Fighting of a guerrilla war against her when she wasn't even defending herself in return, unsure of what even provoked him or what would be safe to talk about.

What could she do?

Closing the door behind her, Hitomi with some effort struggled against the wind pulling the door closed with both hands and then standing face to face with the storm; random heavy drops of freezing rain soaking right through to the skin even in shelter as she was in front of one of the cottages. Leaning against the door for a moment to maximize the coverage of shelter it gave her, she had to grab at and pull the hat firmly down before it's lifted off by a sudden gust. Hailstones still falling intermixed with the rain, high winds and the occasional whipping around of beach debris and detritus scooped and hurled back into the resort. But, despite it all she was relieved to be out here she could handle this!

Both hands gripping the wide brimmed floppy straw hat still on her head it serves to shield her face. She was better equipped to handle this! Just run to cover until she made the lobby over there or - the casino was pretty big, there were sure to be people taking shelter there. Alright, that sounded like a solid goal, now all she had to do was get herself there. Yooooo-OOSHI!

Powering into the storm she runs from shelter to cover, quickly soaked but with minimum of sliding and staggering around, hailstones crunching underfoot, if she'd left it much later it would have even been hard to find the path.

She wasn't just running away, she had decided that weathering storm was the less painful and harmful option of the two she had been presented with.

She is gone in a whirlwind; he is left reeling in her wake.

Ash isn't sorry. He's anything but. There may be a myriad of emotions that flash across his freckled features, but not a single sympathetic bone in his body. Not for Hitomi. Once the karateka has taken flight, he hesitates for a moment before pursuing. Slowly. The slender Frenchman strides leisurely to the door, gripping the handle. A presence lingers on the other side. In a heartbeat, it's gone. Gone long before the cloudburst greets him, rain carried by the wind splattering against his thin face, causing him to squint. Crimson's eyesight is good, but even the flamewielder cannot see ten feet in any direction.

The thunder rolls, another forked streak of lightning off in the distance that illuminates the blackened sky. If he went looking for the stupid German girl, Ash is positive he wouldn't be able to find her, much less his own way back. Would she even come with him, if he did? He's such an ass, driving her off. "Tch." Drying his face with the sleeve of his dress shirt, the pyrokinetic exhales a sigh. "It's on your head," he mutters at last, withdrawing into the residence. No longer his responsibility, not his problem, not something he's going to bother giving the slightest hint of a damn about. The European is determinedly indifferent, because he has to be. His job is done.

With that, the door clicks shut.

Log created on 02:05:56 02/20/2015 by Hitomi, and last modified on 23:32:12 03/24/2015.