Daisuke - Senpai and Kouhai

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Description: With the NFG drafts finished, Juri calls on her would-be protegé Daisuke to make an important decision on how he will move forward.

Juri had left the sponsor's meeting and immediately her sneering, arrogant demeanor had fallen away. That brat had really gotten under skin. Why did it bother her so much? It's not like being mistrusted and hated was anything new to her. Maybe it's because this time around she's trying to do things differently. Can't people see that? Ugh. Idiots. The malice radiating off the woman is palpable; enough that the other staff and guests get the hell out of her way. Lucky for them. She'd barely been able to get out of the room without starting a fight. Now was not the time to piss her off.

She eventually reached where she was going; the roof. She probably shouldn't be up here, but what janitor was going to risk his life telling a pissed-off Juri to stay in the guest areas?

She at least tries to calm herself down. She got what she came for. It wasn't a total waste of time. Now, she could start thinking about how to approach the difficult business of actually training this newbies, whoever the other three would turn out to be. And her little protege.

It's cold on the roof, and the sun is low, setting the Southtown skyline ablaze in a riot of furious reds and oranges. It is looking out over that, that Juri pulls out her phone with its cute little pink slip-case and moulded mimicry of her usual haircut, and texts Daisuke.


Truth be told, Daisuke's still not entirely sure what to even think of Juri. And not just because she so rudely rejected his gift of hand-made food (THOUGH THAT MIGHT BE A PART OF IT!).

But when someone like Juri sends you a message telling you to haul ass over? You bloody get going. Even Daisuke has enough of a survival instinct to understand that much.


It's only after sending that short response of a text that it really sinks in just what he was ordered to do. She wants him to go *where*?

He really tried to not think too much about it. But when the wannabe vigilante was put face to face with the sheer enormity of the building, a certain sense of dread started taking over. It's not like he's a stranger to jumping along rooftops, but like...

It's not like he can fly. And he certainly doesn't think he can use the same method of boosting his jumps to get up there without shattering his legs either. ...Well, at least he can get part of the way there.

What followed there was a painfully long effort in the poor boy catapulting himself from one alcove to another, and probably freaking out more than one guest staying at the hotel who ended up catching sight of the strange, be-masked and be-scarfed figure holding on to the side of the multi-story hotel for dear life.

But, eventually - and probably later than Juri would have liked - gloved hands grab on to the edge of the platform of the roof proper. There may or may not be a good bit of leg-flailing down below (but hopefully Juri wont see that) before Daisuke, in the very same 'street hero' outfit she first met him in manages to pull himself rest of the way up... and very ungracefully flop and roll over onto his back there on stable ground, panting from exertion and adrenaline both.

"I-- I'm h-...here...." Wheeze.

Juri does indeed wonder about what is taking Daisuke so long. It doesn't help that her own mind is wandering in some very dark directions. The board was set. Now all that remained was for the game to start. Would Shadaloo move that quickly against her? They might have had people in that room. They may just have been waiting for confirmation that she was who she seemed to be. Then they'd come after her allies. Rock, first, probably. Daisuke. Genie. The people who they could easily murder and thus leave her alone and isolated again. Maybe that was Vega's plan for her. Let her live, but kill everyone in her life she gets close to.

Just like he did her parents.

By the time Daisuke starts hauling himself over the rooftop, she's in an even more awful mood than she had been when she left the meeting. The sight, though, perks her right back up. There's a loud laugh from the teenager, and then she walks forwards, grabs his hand, and hauls him effortlessly up and onto his feet, holding him steady.

Almost like she cared. Almost.

"You've never heard of stairs before, genius?" She cackles, shaking her head. "Amazing. I'll give you an A for effort, but a D Minus for thinking things through. Whatever, though. You're here. That's a start."

With the amount of time Daisuke took, the rest of the draft has completed and the results - as well as the arrangements for the next round - have long ago come through to Juri's phone. The woman brushes her hands through her hair, stretching up as she sighs. "Okay, look. Good news. We got who we needed. Bad news, the rest of the team... eh, they're not BAD but they're not going to be useful to us when it comes to the bigger picture, understand? So I'm going to need to whip you into shape quicker than I thought."

"Wah--!" Up Daisuke goes, jolted up like so much dead weight only to be brought to wobbling on his feet unsteadily.

"S-...stairs..." He repeats from beneath the mask of red cloth, ending up with his head hanging down low. "...There's no way they would just let me come up here without any care in the world... and at least last time you wanted to keep all these things secretive anyhow..." He mutters, just loud enough for his frustration to be heard, but not quite loud enough to be counted as a proper complaint.

At least he has the decency to straighten himself out after the fact to give Juri his proper, undivided attention. Though what she does tell him...

"Uh, yes, I have a question, Juri-Senpai?" The declaration even comes with an obedient little hand-raise, like he was right back in the classroom. Or like she was his upperclassman of a tutor, which... might not be that inaccurate of a comparison, come to think of it. "I get you went and did the whole sponsorship thing in that event that everyone has been raving about lately, but, like... What's the endgame, exactly? Last time I asked you just said you were going to 'kill the devil', but, like..."


Juri sounds incredulous. That's a new one on her. And a moment later, she bursts out laughing. "Oh, I LIKE that. You just keep calling me Senpai, how sweet! How utterly ~charming~."

She can't keep her smirk from her lips. Damn. Five minutes with this kid and he's chasing her bad mood away. It's good to feel the respect and, mild fear, from him. She has to rein herself in from trying to extort more of that out of him. That's not what she's here for right now. Besides, there's going to be plenty of people terrified of her soon enough, if she doesn't miss her guess.

She sighs, and casually hops over the edge of the roof. It's the kind of motion that might cause panic, but Juri's backside sits down heavily on the edge of the roof, feet dangling as she looks out over the city.

These idiots don't know what they're getting into." She says, "The endgame here is to make sure none of them get themselves killed, or worse. Hell. Some of the SPONSORS in there were ignorant as hell. For the next year, we're playing defence. It's not just... my old boss, who is a threat to them. There's a lot of people in the world who want to take any kind of power for themselves."

She snorts, blowing hard through her nose. "Listen to me, talking like I give a shit. I'm just spiteful. I got booted out of that world, so now NOBODY gets the fun new toys. Except me. I get you~."

Is that... really how she sees it? God, even she might not be so sure of that in this moment.

"..." You'd think Daisuke would have gotten used to Juri having a laughing fit over his own mannerisms by now, but it *still* leaves him a bit on the deflated side now, too. "I'm just calling it like how I see it..."

Despite his muttering complaints, he is still the good, attentive underling. Even if he might predictably have a brief moment of panic when she just so casually hops over right there at the precarious edge of the rooftop, just to sit at the edge like it was the lining of the couch at a good friend's place. Even after that, he listens--

And something changes, even if just a little bit, in the way he looks at her. Even if just for a moment. Less so out of fearful respect, he seems almost as if he is truly, properly giving her a look of thoughtful regard, for the very first time in the short time they've known each other.

A brief moment of hesitation passes, one that he allows to linger a bit longer with a moment taken in tugging the strip of red cloth he's been using to mask his features down away to pool at his collar, before he asks of her, bluntly: "Is that really how you feel?"

That might be a dangerous thing to ask of someone like her, but he asks it anyway. He even takes a few steps closer, even if he doesn't quite dare to sit himself down with her.

"It's not that I'm saying spite isn't a valid thing to feel, but... Mmmh. I might not be able to sense your emotions like I can with most people--" Her own bundle of psycho energy packed inside her might very well be blocking his empathic sense (something he's frankly thankful of, since he doesn't know how to filter it). "But, like..."

"...All of that doesn't sound entirely like something someone who doesn't care at least a little would say, you know?"

"Tch. Don't get the wrong idea. If they're active in the criminal underworld, they have a grudge against me, or the other way around. This is about my self-preservation as much as anything else. I don't want these kids getting turned into weapons against me down the line."

Never mind that almost all of them are her age or older. It's a weak argument, too. She knows it. He knows it. Maybe she does care more than she's letting on. But she can't let people think that she's getting soft. Besides. Spite IS the primary motivation. She wants to make Vega regret the day he let her live, whether he meant to or not. She'll find a way to make him hurt. Or she'll die trying. Maybe both.

"Hey, you go to one of the shitty schools around here, right?" She asks, suddenly. "Have you run into a brat called Mitsuru before? She's one of the sponsors. I've got a bad feeling about her."

She *probably* wasn't Shadaloo. It was probably just coincidence that she had come at her over Genie. But there's always going to be that lingering doubt. Had she tried to fuck everything up because she was ignorant, or because she was the enemy? No way to know for sure...

Best to assume the worst.


Daisuke doesn't sound convinced. Not even a little bit. He could probably needle her about it, but... that might not be on the smartest side of things to do.

"If you say so."

That's all he decides to go with. Just enough to let her know he isn't forgetting about this particular exchange, while still letting it be known that he isn't intending to keep harrassing her about it either. At least for now.

Even if he was going to, she would still be distracting him pretty successfully with the question she presents to *him* right after.


Daisuke's boot-clad feet shift akwardly along the ground of the rooftop, and he sheepishly turns his gaze off to the left, suddenly unable to look directly at Juri, while scratching a single finger along his cheek.

"I know her, s-sure..." He mumbles. "She's not a bad kid, I t-think..." Well. He certainly isn't saying everything he knows.

Juri sighs heavily, and topples over backwards. Landing back on the roof, she rolls to her feet, pivots, and stands... uncomfortably close to Daisuke. He's a little taller than her, but it's so easy to forget that when she's not moping around and accidentally saying too much. Hell. Giants like Abigail and Goldlewis dominated physical space, but Juri's personality, when she turns it on, fills up the whole damned world.

"Listen up." She says, "This isn't a game. The world we're in, the one we don't have any CHOICE but to be in, because of who we are? It's not forgiving. Maybe if you were a normal kid you could hide your head in the sand and pretend everyone's sunshine and roses, but that kind of thinking will get you, or worse, me, killed."

It's a convenient excuse to swing the conversation away from her own feelings and motivations, really. Is she that worried about Mitsuru? ... No. She doubted there was anything the brat could do that she wouldn't be able to deal with. But she needed Daisuke to understand the stakes here. And she could be wrong. SHE had been fifteen when Vega had laid claim to her and...

Well. Age wasn't a good way to measure deadliness.

"So. You need to tell me everything you know, or even that you think you know, about her. Then I'll explain what I'm going to need from you."

"A-ah, w-wai--" Daisuke's protests probably end up falling on deaf ears, but he, himself, can't find it in him to properly retreat more than a half-step from Juri, leaving him to merely jolt upright in an uncomfortable straightness. Only able to subtly lean away, while keeping his gaze averted from her.

"I get that..." He insists, though the uncomfortable proximity of Juri is making his voice tremble faintly. "But she really... isn't a bad person. She might have a lot of issues, more than I could even know about...." He shakes his head.

"More than I could save her from. But all she is is someone who just wants to prove herself. Not someone I would ever call an enemy."

"Well she needs to stop running her mouth. If she'd kept it up, I'd have kicked her out a damn window."

The explanation does at least seem to be enough to make Juri back off, giving Daisuke some of his personal space back. "Look." She says, "This is going to get more complicated than I thought. I figured we'd be staying in Southtown, but we're not. There's going to be travel involved. A lot of it."

And... this is where she does seem to understand that she's asking a lot. She doesn't have a life to uproot, people relying on her, commitments to work or school. She has nothing but this. Any chance of having any ordinary concerns like that were burned down a long time ago.

"I wouldn't ask if there was any other way, but I need to stick with the tournament, and I don't want to leave you on your own either. So. Here's the deal. Team Frost, that's my team, employs you as an intern. All official-like. The Project will help smooth over visas and shit, I'll foot the bill for you. Even pay you some kind of wage. But you're with us for the duration."

She looks, distinctly uncomfortable now. Sucks her teeth. "I don't want this to be a threaten-you-into-submission thing. I need you on board or you're going to be useless to me. And I know I haven't given you much evidence to back up what I've said. So. What do you say?"

"... I don't think she can help it, honestly." For all the assurances Daisuke was giving about Mitsuru, apparently even he can't help but get *that* little dig in. He might not have explained everything, but he's definitely saying that with the kind of tone that suggests a *complicated* history between the two.

He's probably going to regret letting that much be able to be read from him.

The request that comes from Juri is... well. The fact that it's a request, for one, takes the redhead a little off-guard, but even ignoring that, it all leaves him with visible uncertainty and apprehension. It's visible enough in the frown that tugs lightly at russet brows, in the way he worries at his own lower lip with a light nibble of teeth.

"...Won't people find it weird that some random kid from Taiyo who isn't officially a fighter of even a reasonable level is coming to publicly work for you?" He asks, crossing his arms loosely over his abdomen as he asks that -- it helps that she's backed away from his personal bubble so he *can* do that! "...I've kept everything I can do under wraps from the public eye for a reason, you know? Even if you can put a name to what I can do, it's still... the kind of stuff I keep thinking will land me on a dissection table somewhere if people know about it. Or I guess... Chased by the exact people you've been talking about, here."

A deep, relenting sigh.

"...But I guess those folks would be coming for me eventually anyway, wouldn't they?"

It's not an easy decision by any stretch, that's to be sure. Even after admitting to that much in the way of his own worries, he still clearly needs to think about it. But... something seems to change again, when he glances at Juri, amidst all that consideration. He was rightfully scared of her when they started. She still freaks him out, but...

Maybe he's just fooling himself. But he could swear he could see someone else there besides a globally-feared menace.

And that someone is asking for his help.

He sighs. He's such a damned sucker.

"...I'll need a bit of time to get my affairs in order. But... I'll come with you. I'll do what I can..." A meaningful pause, seeming outright purposeful at that, with him turning his gaze finally back to Juri after that extended moment of keeping his eyes averted from her, to tack on, in an almost cheeky tone:


"Don't get me wrong." Juri says, shooting down the idea that poor Daisuke was going to respected as a fighter any time soon as quickly as it arises. "You're not going on the books as a trainer or understudy or anything. I did say 'intern'. As far as anyone else at the competition will know, you're there to help me with admin, scheduling, meetings and such. We'll sell your school on it as a unique learning opportunity. And we'll get your training in with Genie's, in secret."

She's thought this through. Realising that she was going to have to uproot the kid's life was a pain. This sort of thing wasn't what she was good at at all; she'd always let the eggheads and other nerds Shadaloo paid sort out her travel and cover stories, at least unless she felt like doing something outlandish like impersonate a nurse to beat someone up. That was the sort of thing where her personal touch had been needed.

But she doesn't have those people any more. Prickly and aggressive as she was, she also knew that she couldn't take on the whole world on her own. She'd tried. It didn't work out great. She needed to do better. And if that means letting Daisuke get just the slightest bit cheeky with her...

She still claps him hard on the back as she smirks. "That's my cute little Kouhai." She teases right back. "Okay. Look. You need some time. I need to get this cleared with the rest of Frost too. Call me if you run into any trouble, otherwise I'll let you know next steps. They might want to meet you first. But. They're fine. Really. You can deal with me, the Big Boys and Shades are going to be a breeze."

Juri *probably* doesn't actually slap him on the back that hard, but he still jostles forward just *faintly*. It might have more teo do with what she *says* than the actual physical impact, though. "'Little'...?" He repeats in an obvious complaint, lips pursing in an indignant pout. At least he didn't complain about the 'cute' part.

"But fine. Okay. I guess... I guess it'll be fine? Probably?" He might not be entirely filled with confidence by Juri's particular choice of wording, but at least he's not about to jump ship just yet. Then again, maybe she's right-- how bad could the people who aren't her be?

"Erm. What was that earlier about getting me into shape, though...?"

Understandably, color's already starting to drain away from his face before he even hears any kind of answer to that question.

Juri laughs again, and this time there's much more of that familiar sadistic edge. "Oh, that?" She says, "Last time we did a bit with the fundamentals. Next time, we're going to start getting into Psycho Power for real. The speed things are moving, I can't let you keep blundering around all instinct no control. You're gonna have to learn some discipline."

She'd walked past him as she spoke. Now she looks back over her shoulder, and her tongue slides out over her lips. Her one good eye gleaming in the increasing darkness of the gathering night.

"Maybe I'll break out the collar and leash. I don't think you're ready for the whip, yet, but we'll see how I feel."

The way she cackles as she moves to the rooftop entrance and casually flicks it open with her foot implies she's probably joking, probably, and she gives a loose wave over her back. "You'll be fine finding your own way down again, right? Think of it like training or something. Anyway. Don't keep me waiting for too long, I'm getting excited now it's finally time to ~play~."

And with that, she lets herself back into the hotel, closing the door behind her.

"R-right, sure..." It's not that Daisuke is exactly excited for the prospect of the training under Juri. But it's not like he can just say 'no' at this point either, right?

But then there's that look she gives him once she's walked past him. It's the kind of thing that one might think would excite... er, certain kinds of guys, but Daisuke just feels a cold chill running across his spine.


He blinks. "Er... That's a joke, right?" He asks. He doesn't even bother to protest on the notion that he could get down from the roof on his own. He just can't ignore what she said *before that*.

"....That was a joke, right...?" He asks again, quietly, while helplessly watching her step through the door, and leaves him staring at the door she's closed after herself.

".... That was a joke, right?!"

Log created on 14:41:50 06/02/2023 by Daisuke, and last modified on 18:16:16 06/02/2023.