Description: An offscreen run-in with the ever-friendly NOL leads Rei Hazuki into a part of Southtown he didn't expect, and a run-in with a newly-arrived Gedo student that he REALLY didn't expect. A chat ensues. [No cats were harmed in the filming of this log]
Hey, remember that time that Rei Hazuki almost but not exactly snuck into an NOL installation to 'rescue' Daniel Little and in the process attracted the attention of Relius Clover, resulting in a massive global paranormal investigation organization with broad discretionary (and some might say extralegal) powers putting him on a very serious watchlist?
It was, in Rei's own words, 'not great.'
The Southtown Youth Fighters Initiative building, where he lives and works, has generally been speaking safe, owing partly to the financial clout of Hazuki Heavy Industries and partly due to even the NOL realizing that raiding a community center for teens is pretty bad optics, public relations-wise. But it's absolutely impossible to live his life entirely in that building and it means that occasional trips around Southtown involve... let's use the phrase 'disagreeable situations.'
This is a really polite way of saying 'high octane chase scenes out of a Jason Bourne' movie.
It is in just such a situation that leads Rei here to Gedo Street, in spitting distance of the renowned (maybe infamous is a better word) Gedou High School. Very specifically, it leads him to the roof of a nearby building, where he's kneeling behind the air conditioning unit with his eyes closed, reaching out with senses a bit beyond the normal five to see if his erstwhile We Just Want To Talk For A Moment Please Come With Us pursuers have decided to give up. Thankfully, they appear to have; sometimes a fighter's physical prowess and ability to do things like leap to a very high fire escape are handy things.
A few moments later, across the street from the Gedo main gate, a red-haired young man in a changshan and jeans lands... well, maybe lands isn't the right word. He DROPS from the roof of that building near the street, before slowing -- in a burst of air that sends a nearby garbage can rolling into an alley with no small degree of force -- and landing in a crouch.
Then he stands up, looks around, and locks eyes on Gedo High School.
And it looks like Murphy's Law is going to continue to punt Rei in his metaphysical behind, too. Because one of the kids is on the outside wall, facing the street. Long black hair in a ponytail, kind of curvy (if a teenage boy can qualify as such), in a Gedo uniform. Looks like he's got some muscle in his legs. Either that or the pants are just that loose. He's sitting atop the wall, with his legs hanging down on the side of the wall facing the street, upper body leaned forward a little, elbows resting on his knees. It looks like he's seen Rei, too -- though to be fair it might be hard not to, given Rei just did a METEOR DRIVE down into the street. "...Hey," he says gruffly.
The kid hops down off the wall, landing as lightly as Rei landed heavily, barely a scuff on the ground. He shoves his hands into his pockets, and starts to saunter over... Oh geez, is he gonna pick a fight?
"...Are you all right?" the kid asks, tilting his head. His mannerisms are a bit less severe now, and he doesn't seem hostile. "That looked like a pretty rough landing, from what I saw."
Okay, so: don't panic. You're not in any actual danger. But you know the sort of kids that attend Gedo and they could make getting him and/or explaining why you just dropped off the roof of a four-story building a lot more complicated than you're interested in explaining right now, especially because NOL bounty = money and they co--
'Are you all right?'
The redhead had been looking away when Masami approached, even after the 'hey,' but the direct address gets him to turn around. It's impossible for him to keep the sheepish expression off his face, a hand coming up to rub the back of his head. "Haha, yeah, thank you," he says, grinning stupidly. "I'm, you know, a little more solidly built than one might hi--"
He's cut off by the sound of that swiftly-ejected trash can slamming into what is probably a stack of crates in that alley with a loud crash that seems to go on WAY too long. A cat's yowl of annoyance is definitely discernible in the cacophany.
"...think," he finishes lamely, trying to pretend that didn't just happen.
Masami winces a bit at the crash, turning his head in the direction of the alley. Yeah, that definitely happened, and the Gedo teen heard it. "The wind, no doubt," he dismisses. Either he's not as up-to-date on weird phenomena as he should be, or he's helping Rei concoct an alibi that would leave him with little worries about that. Whichever the case, it doesn't seem like he's here to fight. Or to try to collect the bounty on Rei's head. Or if he is, he's being sneakier about it than just 'I'mma beat you up for the bounty'.
Of course, there IS the matter of him having his hands in his pockets. He does think to warn, "Be careful. You could hurt yourself doing that. Or someone else. Or somebody might get upset with the 'fist of an angry god' treatment you gave their neck of the woods." He doesn't sound like this is the case for him, though. In fact, he sounds more concerned about Rei.
Then again, he also sounds a little snobbish, but it's just the way he talks, not his attitude. It's in the way he fully pronounces every word, rather than slurring or shortening them, like it was ingrained into him that he MUSH speak the language properly.
It is pretty hard for a longtime Southtown resident not to notice that there's a surprising amount of elocution in this young man's tone... or, at least, there's a surprising amount of it *by Gedo standards*, let alone anyone else's. This might account, at least in part, for Rei's genuine look of curious surprise. At the mention of 'fist of an angry god,' he laughs helplessly but genuinely, shaking his head. "You know, it's just... some stranger jumping off a roof and landing on the street without their legs bending at weird angles. You know, no big deal."
Rei turns his green-eyed gaze to Gedo itself, as if he's expecting one of its more notorious denizens to wander outside at any second. He remembers fighting Daigo Kazama, once, and his lips purse at that memory. The man was like a goddamned iron bar. Rei hadn't been particularly experienced at the time, and it was a very distinct lesson indeed in what willpower and sheer stupid masculine stubborness could accomplish.
"If you don't mind my saying so," he says, half-turning his head and giving Masami a curious gaze, "you seem a little different than the usual Gedo student. Are you new?" If this kid wants to beat him up for the bounty, well... he's going to have to provide a little small talk first. And if he doesn't, then there's all this small talk to be had.
Daigo really IS an iron bar, so Rei would probably be forgiven for being worried about him walking out of the school just now. On the other hand, the Gedo teen doesn't appear to have the same worries. Though as Rei looks at the school, Masami turns his head to look in that direction too, as if wondering what had been seen. Maybe he's just used to the school, so doesn't have the same... leeriness(?) of it that others do.
He turns back, though, as Rei asks him that question. Masami nods. "I am. Well, relatively so. I've only been there long enough to learn not to act like a complete moron. And to know better than to mouth off to... certain people," he notes. He probably doesn't have to specify which 'people', given Rei's prior experience...
That gets a genuine laugh out of Rei, who fully turns to face Masami after that statement. "Gedo kids can be a little, uh..." For a second he thinks of Edge, all knives and cackling laughter with his tongue out, and actually has to pause to course correct what he's about to say, "...prickly, sometimes. But I don't think they're really bad, honestly." He turns his head to look at the school and brings a hand to his chin, elbow resting in the opposite palm at waist height. "Every city's got some place for people that maybe don't fit in elsewhere. Even if sometimes that not-fitting-in bit is because they're a little excessive when it comes to stuff like 'other people's property' or 'not carrying concealed weapons'."
The silence after that statement is weighty indeed, and Rei slowly closes his eyes, moving the fingers that were at his chin to press into his forehead for a moment before he turns his head back to Masami.
"Okay. Do over on that one," he adds with a faint, sheepish grin. At least he seems conscious that what he said drifted perilously close to 'problematically dismissive.' "All I'm saying is, they can be a little hard to get along with sometimes, but don't let that get you down." Without giving Masami a chance to reply, he extends a hand. "Rei Hazuki, by the way. I'm the director of the Southtown Youth Fighters Initiative."
There's a wry look from Masami at the mention of Gedo students being 'prickly' sometimes. "Infinitely more charitable than I would have phrased it," he admits. "But yes. We'll say 'prickly'." He chuckles, thankfully not seeming too offended at the possibly problematically dismissive statement. And he nods at the introduction. "Masami Nakamichi," he offers in return, bowing politely. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
Though yes, he does offer at the second bit, "For what it's worth, that IS why most of us were brought here initially -- problems with some of those things, or similar. Gedo these days is less 'school for delinquents' and more 'reform school where the beatings continue until morale improves'." A bit of a smirk there. "Not that that's necessarily a BAD thing, mind you. Some of us, it's exactly what we need -- a 'scared straight' initiative with a physical component to make the message stick."
Again, the redhead can't help but smile at this, once he takes his hand back. "Daigo... er. Kazama-kun, I guess... is a good guy, really." He pauses, reflecting on the difference between the situation the last time he encountered Daigo and now, and adds, perhaps a little too hurriedly, "Or at least, that's his reputation. Besides, I don't know many people who can fill out a gakuran that way, so I'd imagine that alone commands respect." Why the hell would anyone respect that, you idiot, especially at Gedo?
But it's impossible for him to dismiss the mounting evidence that Masami Nakamichi is not even remotely the typical Gedo attendee. If anything, his manner of speaking and demeanor suggest he'd be much more at home at Pacific, or maybe Justice. The curious gaze Rei gives him, in a brief moment of silence, probably conveys the question that he can't NOT ask himself: how did this kid end up at Gedo?
A tiny part of his brain asks, is it possible to be a juvenille offender for WHITE COLLAR crime?
Clearing his throat, Rei crosses his arms across his chest. "In any event, nice of you to check up on me after what was, I admit, an unsubtle impromptu entrance." You were on the run from the not-exactly-law, dumbass. You'd think a Gedo student might actually respect that some? "But I am, believe it or not, pretty much in one piece. Not exactly sure how I ended up quite so far from home, but in one piece."
Masami laughs quietly. "He does cut an imposing figure," he agrees. "One would think that alone would keep others from challenging him, but... one would probably be surprised." He tilts his head, first one way and then the other. "A certain amount of intimidating physical presence likely serves him reasonably well." Or, in layman's terms, 'It pays to look like 200+ pounds of pure beef'.
He tilts his head a bit, noting the curious glance, and quirking a brow upwards at it. However, when Rei doesn't say anything in regards to it, he addresses the topic Rei DOES speak in regards to. "I'm pleased you do seem to be in one piece still. It would have been unfortunate if you'd ended up a greasy spot..." A pause, and he seems interested, "Where is 'home'? Er, not the actual location -- that would be rude to ask. Just, the... general area."
The literal and complete answer to where 'home' is might be more complicated and existential than Masami has any hope of understanding. Thankfully, a cosmological view of the situation is not required for the purposes of simply giving directions.
"Southtown Village," Rei says promptly, though maybe cautiously. Masami does seem pretty level-headed, but Southtown students at EVERY school, not just Gedo, take inter-school rivalries pretty seriously, and there's some longstanding tension between Gedo and Taiyo specifically, the school that's actually in the Southtown village area.
"I guess you haven't heard of the SYFI?" he ventures, seeming... a little bit crestfallen about it? In his eyes, word of the initiative spreading to Gedo would mean the PR machine is doing its job, but that's also a lot to hope for. The typical Gedo student is not exactly a joiner/team player for public works projects of any stripe. "It's a kind of... community center, I'd guess you say, for, well, young fighters." The redhead shrugs. "Your average Southtown schoolgirl has a non-zero chance of being able to scream a kiai and launch a fireball the size of a small child from her fingertips. SYFI's just a way of having somewhere for people like that to go, to train or hang out or get out of a bad situation or whatever."
A pause, and he seems to brighten a little. "It's like an Aunt May/Uncle Ben/Spider-Man thing?" he ventures, proving that his grasp of today's teen pop culture is probably agonizingly bad. "You know, with great power comes great responsibility, yadda yadda?"
"Ah," Masami notes, when Rei mentions the general area he was 'aiming' for. He doesn't seem to have any shift in his tone or demeanor at the mention of it, no. If he's aware of the rivalry, he doesn't seem to assume it, either way. The mention of the SYFI gets a shake of his head. "I have not," he admits. "Then again, I'm originally from Sendai... that's a little distance away. And I haven't had a great amount of time to explore around the area, unfortunately."
Bad pop culture reference or not, Masami seems to grasp it. "Ah, I see." He certainly sounds interested. "Gedo does a bit of that, but generally... well, as you mentioned, the sort of... young people who come here would probably cause more trouble at a community center than their presence would be worth. Fortunately, I've straightened up quite a bit. Where is this community center, if you don't mind my asking?"
"Southtown village," Rei answers, and then grimaces a little when he realizes he's repeating himself. "Okay that... wasn't intentional, but it's the truth. I live at the center on the top floor, is all. It's a renovated Western-style firehouse. Can't miss it. Or, you know..." Here he reaches into his pocket, takes out his phone, and waves it in one hand absently. "Google Maps is your friend. And Gedo kids might be more welcome than you think. If you've never had to talk down a hard-headed Gorin student who thinks they've turned pole vaulting into a dedicated martial art before, by comparison, mere 'troublemaker' is kind of a walk in the park." Hopefully that's just an analogy, but if Masami's heard anything about the kids at Gorin High, it's a pretty believable story. And if not... a good reason to read up on Gorin High.
He hmms a bit at the knowledge that Masami is from Sendai, rubbing his chin briefly. "A northern boy, huh? I'm from Kyoto, myself." He pauses a second, realizing that the person who uttered that statement has bright red hair, green eyes, and largely European features. With a sheepish cough, he adds: "My mother's family, that is, the Hazuki family. My... dad died when I was very young, so I didn't get to meet my Irish half. Supposedly they live in Galway, but I've never been." It would certainly explain his appearance, but that brief pause before 'dad' is almost too noticeable.
After a pause, Rei puts his phone back in his pocket and claps his hands. "Well! I should be heading home. I promise if I run into any of your classmates, I'll tearfully tell them you roughed me up for my lunch money so you don't lose face or something."
Masami chuckles a bit there at the beginning. "Ah yes, Google maps," he notes. "The number one solution to people being 'lost as fuck'." That's the first time he's actually said anything even the slightest bit impolite. And he still has that impeccable pronounciation, even when swearing. Which might be a bit humorous, actually. He does laugh a bit at the mention of a pole-vaulting martial arts champion. "When 'a turn on the pole' becomes a death threat," he comments.
As for the explanation of Rei's features? "It does take all kinds in this world," he notes. "I'm rather certain I have some European or American in my line somewhere." His eyes are blue, and that's a little unusual for someone who's wholly Japanese, after all.
And then he nods, to Rei's mention of heading home. "Take care. Do try not to Meteor Dive from the sky on some unsuspecting sweet old lady. I'm not certain she'd survive the shock." There's a teasing note there, so clearly he's kidding. "More seriously, I will likely drop by the community center sometime."
Masami laughs, though, at the words of not losing face. "Ah, I don't really put too much stock in all that. I'm quite fine with not being thought of as a thieving monster. I have enough counts of theft on my record." A smirk here. "But, do take care."
Log created on 20:28:16 11/12/2018 by Frei, and last modified on 13:15:14 11/13/2018.