Description: After weeks of not being sure what's become of their teammates during the Dead Or Alive saga and rumours that the show had been pulled by the network, Raiden's Angels (Raiza, Lucky Chloe and Daisuke) reunite at last in the secret Edo clan village. Once again their fates are intertwined as they make plans for a future - one where they will leave the darkness of the DOATEC disaster behind for a season in the Sunshine.
The mission into the DOATEC headquarters that Raiza had invited her closest friends in Chloe and Daisuke on had been a fateful one. The three had become separated in the chaos - the last thing either of Chloe or Daisuke might have heard from Raiza had been a direct message from an unknown number shortly before their arranged meet time saying 'Going 2 be a little late. See u ASAP! :D xox' Whether this had actually been a message from the teen kunoichi or not had never had the chance to be clarified.
The official word in school was that Lisa had had to return to California due to a family bereavement and that her visa had been suspended. There was no certainty over whether she would be returning to the school or not. Making matters worse for those concerned of her status was the fact that the girl, normally a near-permanent fixture on her social media and messenger accounts, had been completely silent online.
Her cousin Hisashi had still been seen hanging around Taiyo high now and then, but he was elusive. If anyone who knew Raiza tried to approach him, he simply did a vanishing act - no smoke bombs or jutsu involved, just the art of slipping from view and staying that way.
But then, one day, Chloe and Daisuke both find themselves invited to a group chat by Raiza's account.
She initiates the conversation with a series of flashing emojis that include hearts, rainbows, smiley faces, thunderclouds, and Pikachus.
Heyyy guys! Long time no :eyes:!
Hope u haven't been 2 worried!!! :cwl:
Can u both meet me @ this service station tomorrow @ 11 AM? *google map link*
call hisashi if u don't have a ride: *hisashi's phone number*
anyway can't stay online any longer! miss u guys! xox
Ever since the Fighfest fiasco, the artist known as Lucky Chloe has been languishing back in her bed. Having ventured out of her self imposed isolation to attend a signing for her fans, she'd found herself humilated by that stuck-up phony bitchy, Princess Lyraelle Lightheart. The depression and desperation she'd felt previous to this has now been joined by shame.
She'd tried her best to be her usually clever and caustic cat girl self, but her heart wasn't in it. The pink haired poser had got the better of her in both verbals and violence, sending Chloe away with her tail between her legs.
She's contemplating whether to watch another episode of Love Village or take a nap, when her candy pink phone vibrates. Picking it up with a bored expression, she stares at the screen, expecting it to be a message from her agent or manager, both of whom are distinctly uninpressed with her lack of contact. But instead, it's something amazing! Something she's been waiting for for too long.
The pussycat popstar perks up, her currently pawless fingers flying quickly across the keys, as she responds to the wonderous and colourful message.
OMG! WHERE HAVE U BEEN? I've been soooo worried. I'll get my driver to drop me off there at 11AM 2morrow.
The truth is, she's not being trying too hard to track down her backing dancer or the other member of their teen trio, Daisuke. Not because she doesnt care for them, just because she has been in serious denial about the devastation she witnessed at the DOATEC building. Now she has heard from her however, she is filled with a sense of relief. Response sent, she puts her phone down on her bedside table and leaps to her feet, pulling off the less than fresh dressing gown she's been wearing all week. Moving towards the bathroom, she gets out bottles of her own range of Lucky Chloe shower gel and shampoo, preparing to pamper herself. It was time to go back out in public.
A lot has happened. At some point, the battle through DOATEC headquarters became too much, and Daisuke's main priority became simply finding his friend again. And at the other side of a long, hard-fought battle...
Raiza couldn't be found.
Daisuke wanted to believe she was okay, and he was going to see her at school again, and probably end up harrassed by Lucky Chloe again at some point. But he never did. He kept trying to approach Hisashi - sometimes rather aggressively - but even with his mostly-uncontrolled psychic senses, he just kept getting away.
And eventually... Daisuke just gave up.
But now, with that message from her? There's a good bit of a delay on any response from Daisuke, but some time after Chloe's message into the group chat, there's just a single, blunt statement:
I'll be there.
That's all. No emojis, not even any questions about what's been going on. Just a quick agreement to meet her.
Come the next day, a bus slows to a halt upon the stop near a certain roadside service station, and a young red-haired man in a Taiyo High uniform hops off. This is... not exactly the kind of place a Taiyo student would normally wander off over to, though, is it? Truth be told, Daisuke probably had to skip school after like the very first class of the day to get here, especially since he (unlike some other people) doesn't have anyone who could just... drive him there. He might get reasonably get into trouble over it, but he's expecting to leave Southtown for a while anyway. The fallout from skipping out today shouldn't be too big, if his ostensible new employer is pulling the strings he's expecting to get pulled.
Either way. The trek from the bus stop to the service station proper isn't very long, and after getting to the parking lot just outside of the station proper, the redheaded student draws out his phone, to check if any messages have come through -- and the time, while he's at it. Five minutes to 11AM.
"...Guess I'm a little early..."
It's not like he really knows this area very well. It's not quite early enough for him to go wait inside either, probably. Not much he can do but wait for... something? Either Raiza or someone else showing up that will hopefully show him to Raiza.
And try to think of what exactly he is going to say to her in the meantime.
At 11:00 AM, a silver Nissan Hakosuka rumbles into the station - a slightly vintage car to the unfamiliar, but an incredibly valuable collector's item to those who are into cars or racing. The car parks up in one of the employee parking spaces, the roar of the engine dies, and a figure in a blue hoodie emerges, locking the door behind themselves. After a glance around, they wander over toward Daisuke.
"Kubo-san. I should have known. Didn't want a ride, huh?"
The voice of Hisashi is likely familiar to Daisuke by now, even if the pair have only spent a small amount of time together.
"She said that another one of her friends was coming, too, but it was a 'surprise.' I hate surprises. Masayoshi-sama gave the go-ahead, though. I swear, she gets away with everything."
Hisashi scoffs beneath his hood.
"So, where's your other friend?"
Right on cue, a baby pink Suzuki Jimny jeep pulls up at the side of the road. In the front seat sits a slim but solid looking Japanese man with a shiny bald head. In the back...well, that's hard to tell, because the windows are tinted dark.
The rear door opens and out appears a sneaker clad foot, followed by the rest of Lucky Chloe. "It's okay, you can head back to Southtown" she tells the driver. "I'm not sure how long I'll be."
Moving away from her vehicle, she looks around her, before starting to make her way towards the two young men.
"Hi Daisuke. Hi...I don't think I've had the pleasure."
She offers a furry paw to Hisashi for him to shake.
Daisuke has no reason to suspect the car that first arrives into view. He might if he could recognize cars at any capacity whatsover, but... The value of this collector's item is completely and utterly lost on him.
But the person who leaves the car coming to approach him? That draws the redhead's attention easily enough, to the point of narrowing his eyes t otry and get a peek under the hood of the approaching figure, only to find...
There may as well be sparks setting off in the looks between Daisuke and Hisashi. Not the good kind of slashfic-y kind of sparks, either. The psychic redhead has probably not gotten along with Raiza's cousin even in the slightest ever since their first meeting under that bridge. So, no, he's not particularly happy to see him, right now. Thankfully, the arrival of a second car is quick enough on cue that there's not enough time for either one of them to escalate things in any way.
"...I'd guess that's her," Daisuke suggests, with a subtle nod made towards the jeep. And out comes Lucky Chloe...
And Daisuke winces just a bit when he sees those furry paw-gloves waving.
There doesn't seem to be any love lost from Hisashi toward Daisuke, either, his gaze remaining razor sharp as it meets Daisuke's. He has a good few inches on the red-haired younger youth, even with the fact that he holds himself with shoulders hunched and head tipped slightly forward at nearly all times - the kind of posture that says 'don't talk to me,' and also a posture that naturally avoids cameras getting a clear shot when you're wearing a hood. He lets out a sigh at the sound of the Jimny pulling in, turning around to face the vehicle and rolling his eyes before letting them fall on the other friend of Raiza's that he's sure to have the mispleasure of babysitting on this adventure.
When his eyes meet Chloe's, he does a double-take.
For a moment, Raiza's cousin could almost pass for a life-sized statue of himself as he stands dumbstruck. Is that a hint of a pink flush colouring his cheeks? All the brooding machismo drains away as he starts to visibly shake, before suddenly bowing at the waist. "H-hello, Chloe-san! It's n-nice to meet you! I'm a... I mean, my cousin is a huge fan of yours." It dawns too late on Hisashi that the cousin he's talking about is actually Chloe's friend, meaning that his change of conversational course is either a lie or clearly already known. "You're even more kawaii in person - I mean..."
Taking a deep breath inward, Hisashi clears his throat and lets his demeanour cool back to the room temperature that was its previous resting point.
"Good. You're both here. Follow me... I'll take you to her."
He starts walking away around the corner of the service station to the rear before stopping, presuming that the pair follow.
"And, by the way... leave your phones here."
He steps up to a small lockbox on the back wall of the station, inputs a combination on a keypad, and pulls it open.
"I'll give them back once we're done."
"Hiiii! Yes, It's me, Lucky Chloe" the idol says with a smile towards Hisashi. "Thank you for the compliment. Your cousin is a close friend of mine. It will be good to see her again after all this time. I trust she is well?"
She places her pink phone in the lockbox and sets off after the black haired boy. As she moves, she seems to bounce on the base of her sneakers, giving her a sprightly step.
"It's good to see you too, Daiuske. How have things been? You know since..."
She doesn't say the rest aloud, hoping he will be able to pick up on her meaning.
Daisuke's greeting was probably companiable enough, even if not overly familiar either. The kind of greeting one gives to a work acquintance you've only recently started really getting to know properly.
Which is, well... probably a pretty big contrast to how *Hisashi* responds to seeing who this mysterious 'Other Friend' is.
"Hmmmmmmmmmm?" And Daisuke is pretty quick to pick up on it. He doesn't even need to rely on his psychic empathy to see it.
Sloooowly, he leans closer after taking a single step over, the very corners of his mouth subtly twitching upwards amidst a barely-maintained battle to keep a shit-eating grin from forming on his face.
"You practically have merch falling out of your pockets, Hi-Sa-Shi-Saaaaan."
With that teasing out of the way (he had to, you know?), he does allow his own demeanour to slip back towards something much more serious. Maybe a bit more serious, at that, compared to his usual nature. There's a lot of things he's been holding in since Raiza's first message came through the day before, and he may be overcompensating.
tBut that being said, he does give a solemn nod to Chloe. "...Yeah." It's the kind of severe enough tone that single word of agreement comes with that suggest well enough she doesn't need to say more for him to understand -- and more importantly, signals that he is perfectly happy to not talk any more about it for the time being, as well. "Things have been... I guess, busy. Yeah. Busy."
A second of hesitation after saying that, before he shakes his head and slips his phone into the lockbox after Chloe's. And with that, he glances to the Catgirl Idol, and manages to offer a small smile. "One step at a time, right?"
With the two teens' telephones trapped eternally in their new techno-prison, Hisashi turns toward the treeline behind the building, blushing a blazing red at Daisuke's teasing. Somehow, he avoids direct reaction to the redhead, remaining silent as he starts leading his newfound entourage down a gravel path and through a line of underbrush that becomes a dirt road, practically impossible to spot from the highway or even overhead thanks to the ever-present green canopy above. As the sounds of the road behind fade away, the forest becomes a place of peaceful serenity, golden late-morning light gleaming through the branches to dapple the pathway. Here and there, Hisashi curtly cautions Kubo-san and Chloe-chan against the tripwires and traps that line the path - and occasional glimpses of movement in the trees and bushes around the trio suggests that they aren't as alone as they appear to be. As the path starts to take an uphill slant, mist begins to encroach, obscuring vision and making the path even harder to follow were it not for the group's experienced guide.
"The Edo Clan village has only allowed two outsiders to visit in the past fifty years. One of them was my cousin. The other... was an idiot."
The young man snorts disdainfully as he remembers the winter visit of a certain clueless blond youth.
"What I'm saying is, you should be considered honoured that Master Masayoshi would allow you to come here. And remember that this village is a /secret./ And the Edo clan will keep it that way."
Almost abruptly, the trio emerges from the deepening mist to see a village that appears to have been lost in time - rows of buildings with thatched roofs and weatherbeaten walls line dirt streets, and the occupants are mostly dressed in traditional Edo period garb, though there are occasional teenagers to be seen who wear more modern clothing. In the center of the village rises a pavilion with a curved wooden roof, and toward the back can be seen a wall with a fortified wooden gate, behind which what looks like an old fortress rises against the wall of the mountain face.
"She should be in the healer's hut, but knowing Raiza-chan -"
Running up the path comes a Raiza who appears far too animated for the demi-mummy she resembles. Bandages are wrapped around her waist, chest and shoulder, with one set also encircling her crown at a canted angle - she looks like she's been in a car accident, or something. Aside from that, she's wearing a cheap brown kimono that appears to be designed for comfort and recuperation rather than social activity - one that's, perhaps, a little too long, as her sandal suddenly pins the hem of the garment to the road and causes her to fall forward.
Wriggling out of the kimono and left with her bandages and a pair of sweatpants to preserve her modesty, she ignores social propriety and medical advice to throw herself into a hug around each of her friends in turn - first Chloe, then Daisuke.
"Raiza-chan! You're recovering from cracked ribs, a skull fracture and a gunshot wound! Be more careful, you idiot!" Hisashi shouts at the girl. "And your clothes...!!"
"Sorry, Hisashi-kun! I got too excited!" Raiza says with a red-faced smile that suggests she's not actually feeling any shame - and if she's in pain, she's ignoring it.
"I'm so happy you guys came! I hope you haven't been worrying too much," she says, turning to Daisuke and Chloe and scratching her head just above the ponytail.
Chloe smiles back at Daisuke. It's only slight, but it seems genuine at least.
"Let me know if you want anything signed" she offers to Hisashi. She breaks off for a beat and then returns to their common ground. "Raiza is a very good backing dancer. I hardly ever have to tell her off for losing time. I do hope she can come back to work for me soon."
As the trio make their way along the hidden path, she falls silent, heeding Hidashi's advice in regards to the tricks and traps that mark their way. She easily manages the steep incline, having hours of dance practice to thank for her formiddable fitness level.
"Idiots are irritating" she finally says, once the young man talks of their fair haired visitor. "You don't have to worry about me though. I'm excellent at keeping all kinds of secrets." There's something about the way she says this that almost sounds sinister.
As the village is revealed, Chloe aims to keep her cool as a cat facade, but she can't help but let out a small gasp. "This would be amazing for one of my videos. Of course that would be impossible though, with it being all hush hush."
She places a cat paw to her mouth to cover it and then shakes her head, causing her blonde bunches to bounce. Her chirpy display is only halted by the appearance of their bandaged buddy and the hug that soon comes with it. Chloe hugs Raiza back with caution, mindful of the war wounds she carries.
"It's good to see you, but of course we've been worried. Not to mention damaged and depressed, but it's okay now. I'm sure things will all get back to normal and we can forget our trips to hell and back."
She tugs on Raiza's ponytail playfully. "Just remind me not to get involved in any of your schemes again. I'm going to stick to singing for success and fighting for fun."
"Only two?" Daisuke has to ask, upon the revelation of how few strangers have been brought along to this literal secret ninja village. "And you're... letting us here anyway?"
Not that Daisuke is complaining, per se. He's just surprised. Though the surprised expression that comes to his face when they actually get to see the village proper might very well look like it's easily rivaling it. He even ends up instinctively muttering, "It really is just like from some manga..."
But then the reason they even came here in the first place. He recognizes the voice calling out, and then he sees her. The american ninja, all bandaged up and speeding towards them.
"Rai--!" The redhead starts to call out with a step forward... right on cue for the brunette to fall over and... Well. The result of Raiza's tumble hits her schoolfriend like a truck, staggering back that same step he just took, with exactly 4.57812 seconds left to freeze in place like a deer caught in headlights before he snaps his head into averting his gaze with such urgency that the people in the immediate vicinity may very well hear a sonic boom echoing through the valley.
At least most of the red has faded away from his cheeks by the time Raiza gets to him. Though... well. There's not much of a response to the hug at first. Daisuke's gaze dips down to the ground for a moment after she's drawn away, trying to maintain a serious face. He'd decided before coming here, you see, that he'd be professional. That he'd be heedful of the troubles his friend has gone through and do his best to not make any of this about him in the slightest.
...Well. That's what he had *decided* anyway. But shortly after Chloe's tug to the brunette ninja's hair, he finds his hand reaching to settle down onto her shoulder, and himself drawing in a slow breath.
And the dam breaks.
"What were you doing all this time what were you THINKING?!?!" The sudden snap of his voice comes with his hand giving a shake to her which, while probably not enough to actually risk injuring her even in her current state, probably isn't *entirely* advised outside of anime comedy tropes. "Why didn't you call why didn't you respond to the thousand messages why didn't you let us know in any way at least send a carrier pigeon or something anything at all do you have any idea how worried we were?!" The rapid-fire array of questions and chastising does start to lose steam eventually, with Daisuke's head hanging a bit lower again. And thankfully the shaking of Raiza stops, too. "You big idiot, I actually thought--" His voice actually breaks a little right then. Instead of finishing that particular sentence, he suddenly pulls her into a second round of a hug. Arms wrapped around her to holding on tight like he might be afraid she's going to spontaneously disappear if he lets go.
He told himself he wouldn't get emotional. There might be a tear or two sneaking through squinted-shut eyes anyway.
"Well... maybe we could film it..." Hisashi starts to say, as if hypnotically induced by Chloe's kitty-cat cuteness. He quickly catches himself, though, shaking his head and folding his arms across his chest. "Nevermind. Master Masayoshi would never go for it. But, you know, if you ever need somebody to help with one of your music videos... or, you know, carry your bags, or rub your f-"
Fortunately, by the time Hisashi catches himself again, Chloe and Daisuke are likely fully distracted by Raiza's arrival.
Raiza smiles at Chloe as the blonde girl pulls at her brown ponytail. "Oh, it's okay. I don't think I'll be getting sent on any missions like that again anytime soon, even if I wanted to. They've been pretending I was back in America while I was recovering from the last mission. Apparently I slept for like a whole week!"
It's a fairly light-hearted way of describing a trauma-induced coma, but to be fair, not an entirely inaccurate one.
"I'm glad you guys are okay. I heard that a skyship crashed into the building after I lost consciousness. I can't wait to tell you about what happened to me. It was such an epic fi-"
Raiza is suddenly cut short by Daisuke's outburst, which causes her to almost take a step back except that his hand on her shoulder keeps her from doing so. She opens her mouth as if to say something, but the berating words just keep coming. By the time that Daisuke runs out of steam, her expression has sunk, her frown small and brown eyes heavy like cumulonimbus clouds ready to burst. When he hugs her again, she doesn't even notice the pain, too busy is she letting out a deluge of her own - this one of sobs and tears.
"I'm sorry, Daisuke-kun! I know I promised you I'd back out if it got too dangerous, but - I didn't. I couldn't. He was killing my clanmates. We didn't know what we were getting into - I thought it would just be the three of us, on an adventure, and it... it wasn't."
She raises an arm to wipe the emotional precipitation away from her eyes.
"But I couldn't back down, and - I think I beat him. The demon man... or at least, I stopped him from hurting anymore of my friends. I'm okay, though."
She offers a tear-stained smile to Daisuke, then Chloe in turn. "We're all okay, aren't we? And Master Masayoshi said I could let you both come visit, as a reward to me for carrying out my mission, and as thanks to you guys for helping me."
"Not that they pulled you out of that building or anything," Hisashi says grimly in the background. "In fact, they weren't even with you."
"They were with me in my heart, Hisashi-san," Raiza shoots back with a lightly chastising tone and expression toward her fifth-or-so cousin. "If it hadn't been for them, I wouldn't have been able to face him."
She looks back at Chloe and Daisuke, exhaling deeply.
"Gosh, it feels like I haven't seen you guys in a year..."
The singer stares at the red haired boy. She has some sympathy for his sentiments. Given her own hiding away however, she's in no position to criticise.
"I'm sure Raiza has her reasons" she says softly. "People react in all kinds of weird ways when they experience trauma. I've been binge watching Love Village and living off Pocky. It's not been my finest hour."
She watches as the the two Taiyo students embrace, moving away to allow them some space. "Have you been taking care of her?" she asks Hisashi. "I bet you're great at taking care of people. I'll be sure to call you if I have an opening."
Her aquAmarine gaze shifts back to the blubbering buddies and there's an almost wistful look on her face as she watches them. She's trained herself not to cry and crumble and their free emotions is something she almost envies. Almost.
"I'm okay yeah. I mean, I don't think I was for a while" Chloe confesses. "I will be now though."
"I'm sorry, too...!" Daisuke blurts out, and the couple tears turn into proper waterworks that are only partially controlled by his eyes being closed. He can only hope that while he's holding Raiza in the embrace he can at least avoid her seeing most of the very emotional ugly cry. And it is very much an ugly cry at this point. "I tried-- T-tried to find you, but I-- I couldn't-- I couldn't help. I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" Words don't quite come straight anymore. Sobs slip in between syllables, and shoulders heave. Raiza's probably going to be finding teardrops falling from above onto her shoulder, too.
It... probably takes a good moment before he manages to calm enough that he dares to pull back, his arm going to swipe over his eyes in an effort to remove the evidence of very unflattering sobbing that just happened. Nothing to do for all the reddening that's gathered at the rims of his eyes, though.
"God, look at me..." He mumbles, still close enough for one arm to remain around Raiza, but much looser now at least, as he offers a similiarly tear-stained, self-deprecating smile. "I completely mess up trying to help you in your fight and now I can't even keep myself from crying like a schoolkid... So uncool, right? I... I'm just really happy to see you."
Another quick wipe over his eyes, and he goes to pull himself away from his friend fully. "But, uh..." Letting out an akward cough, he *quickly* looks off to the side again. "...You should probably, like. Uh. Grab your k-kimono..." Yeah, there's that familiar flush. He might have been too busy with the emotional outburst to really let himself be affected too much by the wardrobe malfunction earlier, but now that he's starting to get back to his senses...
"I couldn't get out of bed for a long time..." Raiza starts to explain as Chloe mentions her having her reasons. "And then I couldn't go very far, and we're not allowed to go online here, even if we could get a signal. And... well, nobody could have really explained what happened without saying where I was. Or even maybe letting on that I was involved in the mission. It could have put me, or you guys, in danger." She brightens a little. "But I finally convinced Masayoshi-sama to let me go to the station and message you yesterday! I - oh."
The ninja appears to become self-aware, as if she'd just taken a bite out of the fruit of Eden, of her state of dress, looking down at the bandages wrapped around her upper body and the sweat bottoms hanging from her lower half. To be honest, she's probably worn less on an evening out, but it does kind of give off that 'forgot to put a shirt on' vibe, so she hastens to bend down and grab hold of the kimono lying in the dust and give it a good shake before slipping into it and tying the belt back into place.
"You're totally cool, Daisuke. It's okay to show your feelings!"
"Don't do it in battle, though. Your enemy will realise what a soft, gooey centre you have, Dai-su-ke-san," Hisashi-san chimes in with a jab at the other boy.
"That's way different, Hisashi-san," Raiza retorts on Daisuke's behalf, before turning to Chloe. "Hiroko-sama has been making me watch Love Village with her on the satellite! It's her favourite show. She wants to go on it for the next season," she blurts out. "I've mostly been falling asleep, but that might be the healing powder working. I've been watching this thing called New Fighting Generation whenever I can, though! I feel like I totally missed out on it. There's another ninja on there, though, called Kenzo. He's from a different clan but he can do lightning and fights with a kusarigama too! I want him to win it, he's so cool."
Lucky Chloe is starting to feel awkward. It seems like she shouldn't be around to witness the waterworks and wobbly emotions going on. It's not like she can just leave though and walk to a cafe on the next block, so instead she clenches her fists together, though the gesture is hidden behind the paws at the end of her fluffy cat hoody.
"You're definitely not cool" she agrees with Daisuke. "But then I don't think any of us are to be fair. You two are kinda dorks and I make music for preteens, while dressed like a cat, so..."
She gives a girlish giggle at Daisuke's suggestion that Raiza puts on her kimono. "You're blushing almost the colour of your hair" she teases. "I swear you'd collapse if you saw the nurse costumes Raiza and I wore when we broke into that clinic."
"So tell me Raiza, who's your favourite on Love Village, from the bits you've seen? I like that old lady, Mina-nee. She's like sixty or something. They're all kinda old on there, so Hiroko should totally go for it!"
Her expression briefly sours at her friend's mention of the New Fighting Generation. "I've been avoiding it, to be honest" she admits. "Lyraelle is involved so it's bound to be corrupt. You're well out of it, Raiza, if you ask me."
"S-shut up, I'm not blushing!" Daisuke insists to Lucky Chloe, which... well, isn't exactly among the most convincing claims he has made. Even less so seeing as he somehow manages to get *even redder* upon her accusation. Once the nurse outfits are mentioned, he practically looks like his head is about to explode from overheating. It's no coincidence that at that point he decides to turn away from both girls and Hisashi, to focus instead on... um... uh... The pretty trees lining the village borders? Yes, sure, that. Anything that'll let him hide his face for a moment.
Understandably, all he can do with the chat between Raiza and Chloe about Love Village is give the kind of confused look given by someone who has never engaged with those parts of modern tv culture in the slightest. After the red color from his face has faded away enough for him to dare to turn back to facing them, anyhow.
Once the conversation drifts towards the New Fighting Generation event... well. Daisuke suddenly finds himself unable to quite look straight at his friends again. Even more so when Chloe voices her problems with the whole thing, and the redhead almost looks kind of nervous for a split second, too. He chooses not to say anything, though. For now, anyway. He's probably going to have to admit what he has been up to at some point, but... maybe he can get away with it for a while longer.
"They weren't that bad!" Raiza protests at Chloe's claims regarding the nurse outfits that they had worn on their mission. "I mean, I don't remember them being, anyway."
They were that bad. Raiza's standards are just heavily-informed by anime and manga.
"Umm, I guess Junpei seems pretty cool," she says with a slight flush to her cheeks. "Not that I'm into romantic shows or anything."
Or like she secretly aspires to write her own romantic doujinshi with a ninja FMC. Or like she's fluent in romantic fiction shorthand because she often beta reads ARCs for selfpub indies.
"Lyraelle? I didn't think she was corrupt in real life. Although, I thought she was cooler when she was doing the Disgaea cosplay."
This might also explain her opinion on the severity of the nurse outfits mentioned before.
"Anyway..." Raiza turns so that she's facing both Chloe and Daisuke as she pats the dust off of the seat of her kimono. "What have you been up to, Daisuke-kun? I know Hisashi said he kept looking for you at school so he could tell you what was happening with me, but he could never find you..."
Hisashi, who's started to wander away from the group, looks over his shoulder, then starts walking away a little faster toward the building at the back of the village, whistling as he goes, as if he's no longer noticing anything being said by the trio.
"Oh, they weren't bad at all" Chloe agrees with Raiza. "Just far too hot for Daisuke to handle."
"Junpei has good hair" she nods. Apparently this is her only comment on the man. "Lyraelle, ah, I don't know if she's corrupt or not really. Maybe I'm just feeling salty because she beat my ass and was a bitch about it. I have actually seen a bit of the New Fighting Generation, for the record" she admits. "Kenzo seems cool, but my favourite is Brian Storm. He's a natural entertainer, but he needs some work on his balance."
As she notices Hisashi wandering away, she offers him a little wave goodbye.
Daisuke does seem to try really, REALLY hard to pretend like he's not hearing anything at all that is being said further about the nurse outfits the two had apparently worn. Though when Chloe calls him out like that, he ends up letting slip, "I could definitely handle it!" only for him to let out an embarrassed cough right after and backpedal with "I m-mean, nevermind..."
"Oh, well, me...?" Daisuke's hand finds it's way to the back of his head then, rubbing akwardly when asked about. "I kind of got hurt pretty badly too back then, so I had to take some time to recover..." He seems to have recovered completely by now, though. Strange that, perhaps. "I've just been kinda... keeping myself busy since then. I don't know, I didn't really feel like I accomplished anything back in those headquarters, so I've just been..." He very much audibly clears his throat. "...Doing my usual thing."
'His usual thing' being pretending to be a masked hero in the part of Southtown Taiyo happens to be located in. Though he's hoping that only Raiza is aware of that. Chloe would almost certainly tease him about that, too.
But as for what Hisashi has apparently said of what went down after?
Daisuke's eyes suddenly narrow. "Couldn't... find me..." Just like that, one of his eyebrows suddenly start twitching. "...That arrogant little shit, after all those times he kept running away from me?" There's even a worrying bulge of a vein over his forehead just then, as he turns to send a truly soul-piercing glare right at the distant back of the retreating cousin of Raiza himself. No psychic powers there, though. Just a particularly intense, angry dagger-firing glare.
"I ought to...!"
"Brian Storm is cool, too! I don't know why they never thought of putting him on Team Thunder, though. I mean, it's in the name," Raiza says as she scratches at her hair behind the bandages. "You know, that one sensei from Team Thunder seemed kinda familiar..."
She forgets about the New Fighting Generation for a moment when she hears Daisuke speaking up. "Well, maybe if you ever get hurt and need medical attention, we can get them back out!" Raiza proposes merrily as Daisuke says that he could handle the nurse outfits, apparently not thinking through the part of her suggestion that would reward Daisuke getting himself seriously harmed, or the part where neither she nor Chloe have any actual medical qualifications.
Raiza looks confused when Daisuke starts to get angry at her words - as well as Hisashi, clearly. Realisation dawns on her features.
"Wait! You mean he was avoiding you?" She joins in with Daisuke's dagger-eyes toward her cousin's back. "Hisashi-san! You said you couldn't find him!"
"I lied," Hisashi says with a shrug. "It was too soon, anyway. You needed the rest. Or did you forget the part where you took a sniper rifle bullet to the gut?"
Raiza starts to respond, but her protest catches in her throat. "I... well... I could have used the company," she says in a lower voice, brows flattening as she looks toward the ground. "Instead of being stuck with Hiroko-sama watching old people TV..."
"I heard that, Raiza-chan~ <3" an elderly woman's voice rings out from behind the trio as an incredibly short lady in a kimono sidles up to Raiza. "Oh, you didn't tell me you were inviting a boy to the village! Where's that handsome blond friend of yours?"
"Hiroko-sama!" Raiza says with a start, turning around to face the kunoichi sensei. "Don't sneak up on me like that!"
"I've been here for a few minutes, dear," the old lady chides. "I just didn't want to interrupt. Now, you'd best behave if you're going to be playing nurse games with this boy." Turning to Daisuke, she adds, "She doesn't need to be pulling any stitches, or have any weight on her ribs." She edges up to Daisuke, speaking in a stage-whisper. "Best stick to hand stu-"
"HIROKO-SAMA!" Raiza shouts, turning red as a tomato. "We're not doing that!"
"Oh? Well, what else are you supposed to do with a nurse outfit? I have two myself, you know," Hiroko-sama chirps with a wink.
The singer sniggers, but decides to let Daisuke off the hook for now. She's been catty enough for one day.
She listens as he tells his tale. It seems as though the boy may have faired the best of the three of them in their misjudged mission. "What exactly has happened between you and Raiza's cute cousin?" she wonders with wide eyes. "It must be something pretty intense, going by that murderous look you just gave him."
"I would have put Brian on Team Thunder too" Chloe sighs. "At least the fire guy got put on Team Blaze. I'm not sure I like people calling him Lucky though. That's kinda my thing."
"I do still have the nurse costumes by the way, so the plan is solid. I'm thinking of us being lifeguards in my next video. We'll get you measured up Raiza, once you're feeling ready for it."
Frivolous fashion chat is forgotten, when Hisashi owns up to his treachery. Interesting, the boy has an edge. She's musing on this, when Hiroko shows up on the scene.
Chloe's face switches from shock to delight, the more the woman speaks. "Oh my gosh, you're totally terrible" she squeals, clasping her hands (paws) together. "That's a compliment by the way."
"Wha--" Daisuke might very well end up with a permanent red hue on his face at this rate, thanks Raiza's suggestion of her and Chloe potentially dressing up as nurses again (even if it would require him getting horribly injured again). He's left wordless by that for a moment, too, unable to do more than look back and forth between Raiza and Chloe, before finally glancing off to the side and muttering, "....yeah, alright...."
Maybe getting injured doesn't seem that bad now?
He does huff a bit at Chloe, though, when she asks about the history between him and Hisashi. "Nothing complicated," he mutters in a lower voice for the idol's benefit. "We just... Are the kind of people who will never agree with each other, I'm pretty sure."
He even folds his arms when he watches Raiza call the cousin in question out, too. Though his expression softens some when he glances aside to Raiza, and hears her quiet complaint. He was going to complain about how he really would have liked to know that she was alive, too, but... it wasn't any better for her either, was it?
"Raiza, I--" He starts to say, but...
Daisuke jolts in place, too, by the sudden appearance of the elderly woman. He could damn near feel his heart jump out of his throat for that matter! And similiarly, he's left staring wide-eyed at her and Raiza. Well, at least she's mostly harrassing Raiza, so he can take a moment to try to suss out the exact relation betwe--
Oh wait no Hiroko is turning to him now.
The redhead looks confused at first, at the advice she is seemingly giving over the wellbeing of his ninja friend. "What are you talking ab--" he even starts to ask, before she edges closer, and.
Even with Raiza interrupting her, the intended message is not lost on the poor boy. He immediately turns roughly just as red as Raiza does, and he's instinctively stumbling back a bit. There may as well be blood spurting out of his nose. He tries to protest, but... there's only a series of highly embarrassed, mostly incoherent mumbles.
"We-- I-- she-- I mean-- uh--!"
Daisuke.exe has stopped responding. Close program or wait for program to respond?
"Oh, no, dearie, I'm just old enough to say what's on my mind," Hiroko says as she steps up to Chloe and looks the catgirl up and down. "Strange, I thought the Neko-Neko clan was long since disbanded. Well, this is a pleasant surprise, then! So, you like Hisashi-kun, do you?" She strokes her wrinkled chin with one long finger, then lights up.
"Oh! Right. You're the girl from the wallpaper on Hisashi-kun's phone. Well, it's good to finally meet you. You must be his girlfriend, yes?"
"N-no, Hiroko-sama! You're mistaken about that!" Hisashi calls out with embarrassment, apparently drawn back into the conversation by the twisting winds of Hurricane Hiroko.
"Oh! Hisashi-kun! Don't tell me you've been stalking this lovely lass?" Hiroko says, looking horrified.
"N-no! She's an idol! And that wallpaper came with the phone!" Hisashi insists, reddening as all those in Hiroko's presence must, it seems, Chloe aside.
"I can totally do a lifeguard thing!" Raiza cuts in, smiling through rosy cheeks as she moves over to Chloe for cover. "That's like a swimsuit, right? Sounds good for summer weather! Hey, Daisuke, maybe you could come watch the shoot, if you're not too busy?" she offers, waving a hand at Daisuke to try and reboot his system.
Looking between the lads, Chloe simply nods her head. She's had enough personality clashes in her short lifetime to know that sometimes two people just can't get along! Besides, there's a whole new sport to be had now. Watching poor Daisuke deal with the horny Hiroko.
When the woman turns her attention to Chloe herself, the pink clad popstar is more than happy to engage with her. "Oh how adorable, you have me on your phone" she says, with a sweet smile to Hisashi. "Now come, there's no need to be shy about it. Lots of boys and girls do."
"Sadly I'm not his girlfriend though. Would you believe that I'm totally single, Hiroko" she says with a sniff.
Nodding her head with enthusiasm at Raiza she says. "Yes, swimsuits, like on that old show, Baywatch! I've got a new single being released in July, so it will be perfect for a summer song. You'd be perfectly welcome to come and watch the shoot, Daisuke. You can even make a guest appearance if you like. Maybe Raiza can rescue you from drowning."
Daisuke's sadly caught in Safe Mode for a good moment. When he starts coming down from *that*, he starts to slowly come to a certain realization: Hiroko is DANGEROUS. At least to him. She is absolutely, definitely going to get him in trouble with Raiza at this rate.
"U-um, sure, I'd like that..." He manages to quietly offer to Raiza with a sheepish smile, while very much hoping that Hiroko will not hear that. She probably will though, he realizes. Chloe's adding of fuel to the fire with her own suggestion just gets an akward laugh out of Daisuke, failing to come up with any proper response to *that* that wont simply dig him even deeper into trouble.
Oh, but he's not the only one who is getting targeted, is he? He eyes Hisashi, and then looks to Hiroko, and then back to Hisashi again, and...
"You know..." He offers suddenly in a stage-whisper, after taking a bit of a shuffle closer to Hiroko and leaning in in a conspirational manner. "I'm pretty sure he said he wanted to rub Chloe's feet earlier..." Distract Hiroko and enact some small vengeance upon Hisashi with one stone? Sounds like a golden opportunity to him.
Hisashi seems to relax a little when Chloe appears unoffended by the fact that she has a residence on his phone's screen. "I thought the show you put on in Southtown a while ago was amazing," the ninja says with a wistful look as his expression thaws once again.
"You mean the one where you took my ticket and made me sneak into her room to steal a costume?" Raiza shoots over to her cousin, looking slightly bemused. "You know, nobody else ever mentioned that mission again..."
"It was a secret mission!" Hisashi defends himself, looking off-colour once more. "They come down the chain of command all the time! Right, Hiroko-sama?"
"Hmm hmm hmm... a footrub, you say?" Hiroko-sama muses as she hears Daisuke's comment. "Say, Hisashi-kun, why don't we take Chloe-chan to the spring, and I can give you a demonstration of how to give a proper footrub? Raiza-chan's other friend can serve as a model," she suggests, turning to Daisuke. She reaches her hands up toward the top of his red crown. "See, the secret is to start with a head massage to relieve tension... then work ~all the way down...~"
Raiza looks on in horror, as does Hisashi, as the old lady winks.
"M-maybe we should just go get lunch instead," Raiza suggests quickly, rubbing a hand against her stomach. "I know I'm hungry, and I don't think my friends will have eaten before they came!"
"My feet do get tired with all the dancing" Chloe nods, picking up on the chance for more mischief.
"Of course you'll have seen that at my show. I'm so happy you enjoyed it, Hisashi!" she enthuses.
"Don't be mad at your cousin's antics, Raiza" she continues. "If he hadn't have sent you to steal my costume, then we never would have met. It was obviously meant to be."
She runs a hand over the top of her scalp. She does get tense there at times, especially with the weight of her hair. She's also hungry though, so both options are appealing.
"Lunch sounds good" she decides. "I'd love to try some traditional family food."
At first, Daisuke is nodding encouragingly to Hiroko-sama, seeming perfectly satisfied with the horror he has surely managed to pull upon Hisashi now. Yes, everything is going as pla-
'Raiza-chan's other friend can serve as a model'
The redhead's eyes blink rapidly at that, all mischief and schadenfreude gone when he spots Hiroko's hands reaching for him. "Wai--" is all the protest he manages, but there is no escape! While Raiza and Hisashi look on in horror, Daisuke simply freezes in place, with his face burning up with bright red color enough to power up a small city!
"Yesthatsoundsgoodletsdothat!!" Daisuke QUICKLY agrees with Raiza's suggestion, in a machingun rapidfire of hurried words, wound up like a violin string there right at that moment with him trying his damn best to fight off the blushing, even if he doesn't quite manage to actually... you know, make a physical escape yet. Or move in any way at all, for that matter.
Never again will he try to wield Hiroko-sama as a weapon...
"Oh, well, your loss o/~" Hiroko-sama sing-songs to Chloe and Daisuke as she withdraws her hand from the red-haired youth's head and starts waddling off toward one of the houses. "Why don't you and your friends go and sit in the pavilion, and I'll bring you out a nice traditional family meal?"
* * * * * SLIGHTLY LATER * * * * *
Now seated on cushions around a table in a pavilion whose floor is lined with tatami mats, the group are served what turns out to be... a rather large serving of what seems suspiciously like ramen from a supermarket. Or perhaps a service station. It's beef-flavoured and served in bowls, with soy sauce, sriracha, and green onion as optional garnishes.
"I thought of adding cashews, but I wasn't sure about allergies. Your generation is full of 'em, aren't you?" Hiroko-sama says as she finishes handing out the bowls. "Of course, the ones of our generation who had them mostly died of other things before the allergies could get them, like tuberculosis and the war."
"Arigato, Hiroko-sama," Raiza says with a smile before letting out a slight sigh as the woman turns to leave. "I've been having ramen every day. I almost miss American food at this point," she admits ruefully.
As Lucky Chloe slurps some Ramen into her mouth, she peers at it carefully. "This traditional family recipe reminds me of something" she remarks to Raiza.
"Yes to cashews for the future" she tells Hiroko. "I don't have any allergies. I'm in perfect health."
Once the older woman has left, she suggests "We should all go for burgers sometime. It's kinda weird to me that I'm technically American but have never even been to the place. Southtown is the only place I can remember being my home."
Turning to the redhead, she asks "Have you ever been to another country, Daisuke?"
"Family recipe, huh..." Daisuke mutters while eyeing over some of the noodles he's fished out with chopsticks. He has his suspicions, but... deciding he's better off not voicing them, he instead offers a simple "Itadakimasu," before digging in, like a good guest.
What Chloe admits to there has him looking a bit confused, for a moment. Technically american, but never been out of Southtown? Well, it's not like he is judging or anything, but he does look rather thoughtful while he slurps up some noodles slathered in broth.
"Mmmm?" He sounds out at the question directed at him by the idol, right in mid-mouthful of noodles. A quick swallow before he considers that, and admits, "Yeah, once, actually. To Romania. But, um..."
*FLASHBACK TO A FIGHT AGAINST AN ELECTRIC SKELETON ON A GHOST TRAIN*
"...That's not important," he claims quickly. The sudden bit of sweat beading at his brow surely doesn't mean anything.
"I'll make you burgers or something," he offers after another mouthful of ramen. "I mean, if you all want, anyway. Once Raiza's people'll let her actually get out of here. I'd at least like to think I make a decent burger. Gives me an excuse to bring out the grill, too, for once."
Wait, what kind of highschooler has his own grill?
"Oh? I never thought of you as also being American, Chloe-chan," Raiza remarks between slurps of noodles. Ramen fatigue or no, she's still recovering, and that comes with an appetite. "I guess you're American but grew up here, and I'm Japanese but I grew up in America. So we meet in the middle."
She tilts her head at Daisuke's offer to bring out the grill. "Oh, nice! Hopefully your parents won't mind you using it! My dad grills burgers and hot dogs all the time. That's the 'traditional family meal' for the Eddow clan on the other side of the Pacific..." she comments with a wistful air. "Actually, I've kind of missed seeing them since I've been cooped up here. Usually I'd be video calling them at least once a week. I mean, they don't even know that anything's happened. My parents don't even know about the whole ninja thing... or at least, they never told me about it."
She makes a thoughtful sound. "Maybe I should see if I can get some time off to actually go see them..."
"I think I went to Romania on tour" Chloe recalls. "I saw the castle that was supposed to belong to Dracula." She definitely didn't run into any electric skeletons though.
"Sure, you can grill us some burgers, Daisuke. I like mine to be a hundred per cent beef though. None of that filler."
She finishes off the last of her Ramen and stretches comfortably. "I was born in Metro City and both my parents are American, but we moved to Southtown when I was two, so I don't remember back there" she explains. "I guess it's funny how we kinda had the opposite experience. Of course I've been back there since on tour, but Japan feels much more like home to me."
"You're from Sunshine City aren't you, Raiza? Maybe I should shoot my next video there, since Baywatch was set in California."
"Come on, do I really seem like someone who would put like, flour or something into the patty?" Daisuke complains to Chloe with a *bit* of a huff. Daisuke usually seems like he has kind of a low self-esteem about most things he does, honestly, but he seems *really* proud about his cooking just then!
"Don't you worry, I have a very careful process for the seasoning too."
But then, he winces. Raiza had to mention his parents. His chopsticks freeze in the middle of pulling some noodles up, long enough for them to unceremoniously slide off and back into the bowl. "Uh, yeah..." He lets out, peering down into the bowl a bit solemnly for a second. "It's okay. I live alone."
He quickly shakes that thought off with a shake of his head, though, as if that's not that big of a deal afterall. And he bounces right back to telling Raiza, "You should go see them," with a firm, almost sage kind of nod. "It's important to maintain good relations to your family, right? And you transferred to Taiyo like, what... a year ago, now? I feel like that's when I first met you, anyway."
"Actually, I've had meatballs with flour that were pretty nice," Raiza mentions, "but it probably wouldn't be the same for a burger, I guess!"
She beams at Chloe's suggestion about shooting a video in Sunshine City. "Oh yeah! You could totally do that! And then I can work on the set legally for once! That way I don't have to miss work to see my folks!"
The kunoichi seems to be a little late to catching Daisuke's tone as he mentions that he lives alone. "Oh? That's cool," she says with an air of uncertainty. "I mean, it sounds kinda rough, too. I didn't realise you lived alone, or I'd probably come see you more so you don't get lonely!" she says with resolve, her tone brightening. "I mean... once I get back from Sunshine City, I guess, since it sounds like I'm gonna be going there next." She suddenly looks a little guilty. "Yeah, I think it was about a year ago that I moved here," she confirms to Daisuke. "It feels like less and more than that, though. Especially after... what happened."
"I don't know really, Daisuke. I've never considered your cooking one way or another. I'm looking forward to being pleasantly surprised though." Chloe says with a smile
She watches as his noodles slide back into his bowl. "I live alone too, so we have that in common. I guess it's kinda strange for people our age, but I like it."
She claps her hands together at Raiza's enthusiasm. (She's now taken off her hoody with the paws and is sitting in just her dress and sneakers.) "That's settled then. We are off to Sunshine City. I can probably sort us some tickets within the next few days, if it's not too soon. I could set up some shows while we're there too."
"It is what it is, I guess," Daisuke says about his living situation with a shrug. "I mean, it's been like that for me for three years now. It's... okay, honestly." He shakes his head again, but he does offer Raiza, at least, a faint little smile. "Thanks."
At the girl's last comment, he does wince again a little bit, and nods more solemnly. "Yeah... I know what you mean."
He's thinking too much about things again. He's quick to just start distracting himself with stuffing more ramen into his face, and making sure the bowl is going to be emptied, soon.
As Chloe declares that they are going to Sunshine City, though, his russet brows shoot up a bit just as he's slurping up the remnants of broth from the bowl direct. "You're really committed to this whole beach music video, aren't you?" He notes with an akward little laugh. "I mean, that's cool though, I guess... It sounds like you two will have fun over there in america."
"I live with strangers. Well... did, before I ended up here to get better. Even the Suzukis think that I'm back in California now," Raiza chimes in after finishing off her own bowl of Traditional Edo-Clan Noodles (tm) (available at your local 7-Eleven).
She smiles at the prospect of visiting home with her friend and boss. "I'm looking forward to showing you around, Chloe-chan! I can show you all the cool places, like my Dad's dealership, and the high school I used to go to, and... uhh... the beach! And I think there's an arcade, unless it closed down, too. We should probably not go too far from downtown, though - it's kinda sketchy in some parts. Like, they have buildings with roads that don't go anywhere on top of them and stuff. It's weird. Sometimes it's like they dropped a bomb on the place. But it's also nice!"
It's not the most glowing recommendation anyone could give for a city, maybe, but Raiza does seem to have a fondness in her tone, the way you'd talk about a grandmother who's really sweet as long as you don't start talking to her about modern music or immigrants.
She turns to Daisuke. "I guess you might have to miss the shoot, then. Unless, maybe Chloe could hire you as a gaffer or something? I don't know what a gaffer does, but they always show up in the credits," Raiza says thoughtfully. "I guess people will be back to calling me Liza again..."
"I am yes, I'm a very commited person, Daisuke" Chloe claims with a serious expression. "I mean, I could do it at the beach in Southtown. I just feel like it would be authentic to film it in California. Maybe we can get Pamela Anderson to make a cameo or something."
"It will be lovely to meet your family too, Raiza. I'm sure you've told them all about me and Daisuke."
"As for the sketchy people, I'm sure a pair of action women like us could handle ourselves, but obviously it would be silly to go looking for trouble."
Flicking back one of her twin tails, Chloe offers "I could get you a job for sure, Daisuke. Like I said, Raiza could rescue you on camera, or if you prefer a behind the scenes gig, there's plenty you could be useful for."
She suddenly snaps her fingers together. "I've got it! You can be on catering."
"...Wait, huh?" Daisuke is clearly not entirely sure how to interpret the description of Sunshine City that Raiza has provided. "W-what do you mean like they dropped a bomb on the place? Did... did something happen there? Wait, are you sure you...?"
With a gulp, he cuts himself short there. No, don't judge the hometown of your friend.
And for whatever reason? Daisuke actually seems kind of *surprised* when Raiza and Chloe start talking about getting Daisuke along with them on the set, even if he has to work there. "..:H-huh?" Sure, he might not outright ask out loud 'you actually want me there?', but his expression alone might very well say that.
"I m-mean, I don't r-really wanna be in front of the camera, but, um... It'd be f-fun to come w-with..." The redhead stutters out, all while looking off to the side and sheepishly scratching at his cheek with a single finger. "Not that I think I could cater for a whole crew, but..."
Raiza smiles slightly as Chloe suggests that they could get Pamela Anderson to do a cameo. She smiles brightly when she confirms that she can offer a position to Daisuke on the set. The Californian kunoichi is clearly getting an opportunity to have her cake and eat it, too.
"I mean, I haven't really told them all the details, since obviously I can't let on that I've been working for you..." Raiza says with a hesitant laugh. "Or that we're all, you know, part time secret agents. But I've told them that I have some cool friends!"
She looks thoughtful at the idea of rescuing Daisuke on camera. "Wait, don't lifeguards still have to use mouth to mouth?" she muses aloud, though neither her tone nor her expression convey any further sentiments behind the comment. She smiles when Chloe lands on the catering job. "Oh, yeah! Daisuke's really good at cooking. We sometimes trade food at lunch at school! I've been missing his cooking since I've been stuck here," she admits, careful to make sure she doesn't speak loud enough for Hiroko-sama to hear. "At the least he could be a caterer's assistant so he can learn how to cook for lots of people! I'm sure all the dancers will be hungry after sweating it out on the beach all day! Not to demote you or anything, Daisuke-kun - I'm just guessing it might be a lot to manage for your first time if you haven't done catering before."
"You can be head caterer and I will hire a couple of locals to work under you" the dance diva decides regarding Daisuke. "I'll pay you well and we can probably get them for cheap, if we sell it as a way to gain valuable experience on a film set. You know how those Californian's are about show business. If you aren't sure what you're doing, just delegate".
Raiza's secret agent comment earns her an amused smirk. "I suppose we are in a way. I think I'll leave it off my official job title though."
She nods along at the other girl's assessment of lifeguard duties. "Mmhmm, that's correct. It's sometimes known as the kiss of life. It's kinda romantic in a way."
"Right... about that..." The redhead mutters on his options of all the possible ways he could contribute to the shoot, and get an excuse for coming to Sunshine City while he is at it. "I guess I could do any of that... I *guess* I could do the extra thing too. I mean. I guess it wouldn't be that bad--"
He decides not to finish that sentence.
Still, he hesitates on continuing speaking otherwise. His brows knit together in thought while he considers his options for how to go about this. He really should just admit to them what he has signed himself up for before meeting them here, but... He might need a few more second.
But more importantly... Raiza drops out, er, certain parts of life-guard duties. And Daisuke just so *happened* to be slurping up the last remnants of now-brothless noodles into his mouth when she did, and the full weight of what acting as an extra could potentially involve. AT least they had fully gone past his lips first, but...
There is some unhealthy coughing that ensues, while his face turns bright, bright red. It's okay, though, he didn't go to swallow yet, he just needs to ward off the blush--
And then Chloe has to drop that additional comment.
Welp, there they go.
The immediate reaction of shock results in the poor boy getting that mouthful of food going down just the right way, and his hand goes pressing to his chest before roughly thumping said chest with a curled face. *Much* unhealthier coughs come forth with all that, while the poor boy damn near chokes as a result of the two girls' unintended (or not...) teasing. At least he has a proper excuse for turning red this time, right...?
"Yeah, I guess it is..." Raiza remarks thoughtfully, a slightly dreamy expression overtaking her as she nods along with Chloe's assessment of the first-aid technique. In fact, she doesn't even notice when Daisuke starts to gag on his noodles. Then, when she turns around to see him turning red, she just assumes at first that that's just Daisuke being Daisuke again. Then she realizes that he might be fishing for some 'first aid' after her discussion with Chloe. The teenage kunoichi finds her friend's wonderful sense of humour amusing.
"Ha ha, Daisuke-kun! You're so funny! ...Wait, Daisuke, are you?"
She quickly gets up from her cushion and moves around behind him. Fortunately, she realises that the appropriate technique here isn't the Kiss of Life, it's the Heimlich maneuver. She wraps her arms around his waist and links her hands in front of his stomach.
"Don't worry, Daisuke! I'll help you!"
With that, she jerks her hands up into his midsection, trying to force whatever's causing him to choke out.
Chloe cackles as she sees the dreamy expression on Raiza's face, followed by the shade of red Daisuke is turning. It's even brighter than his hair. But then...
"Oh wow. Are you actually dying here?" she shrieks, leaping up from where she's sitting and starting to dance from one foot to the other.
Raiza moves swiftly into action, approaching the boy from behind to try and dislodge the dangerous noodles. "See! You're a natural" she encourages, not bothering to try and get involved herself.
Firstly, she doesn't know what to do. Secondly, she really doesn't want mushed up noodles on her dress.
For what it's worth, Daisuke does wave his hand and then thump it down against the table when his dire predicament is initially laughed at. Thankfully his friends do seem to get the severity of his situation quick enough, and he even gets the much needed first-aid!
Maybe not in the same way that caused his blushing fit in the first place, but one doesn't get to be picky in a life or death situation, you know?
The maneuver might need a few good thumps still, but eventually, the gagging noises turn into a hacking cough and--
...The rest will be censored for the benefit of our readers.
Either way, with his airpipe cleared, Daisuke is left panting there in Raiza's arm for several seconds after, face red for a multitude of reason.
"D-don't... put things like that in my head when I'm... eating..."
"Whew!" Raiza says, wiping a kimono sleeve across her forehead once Daisuke is restored to a state of harmonious well-being, giving him a hug from behind and patting his back. "I'm glad you're okay! I'll try not to put... umm... whatever it was in your head that made you choke while you're eating again!" she reassures her red-haired friend before stepping away, bowing her head apologetically. "Aww, this will be fun! I can show my friends around my hometown! And now that I'm a ninja, we could probably even check out the cool parts where we're not supposed to go, like the Noise Factory or the other side of the tracks from the dealership!"
She claps her hands together and starts to bounce on her tabi before suddenly lurching to a stop and grimacing as a hand moves down to her side. "Oh, whoops... shouldn't be getting too excited yet, I guess..."
She forces a smile to replace her pained expression while silently holding it in for a few seconds before brightening in a more sincere style. "So, you guys want to see the rest of the village while you're here? There's the dojo, and the cliff shrine!"
She scratches her head. "And, um, I guess that's kind of it, other than people's houses and the healer's hut where I've been staying! You probably don't want to see that, though, it smells kinda funky." She crinkles her nose at the thought.
Lucky Chloe swears that somehow she still managed to end up with congealed food on her costume. Gross!
Still, she's glad Daisuke has survived.
"I think we're probably both to blame for Daisuke's almost demise" the idol admits.
"The Noise Factory sounds interesting. Tell me more."
Before she can collect details of the Sunshine City club scene, she winces as she watches Raiza over exert herself. "Save that for when you're peforming in the video" she suggests. Her tone is lighthearted, but her eyes do seem to show some concern.
Flicking the food from her feline frock, Chloe nods her blonde head. "I'd love to see it all. This place is really cool you know. I mean, I'd go crazy if I was stuck here all the time and couldn't just order sushi whenever I wanted, but it has a really awesome aura.
"S-sure..." Daisuke mumbles at Raiza's assurances. He doesn't feel entirely pacified by the knowledge that Raiza doesn't seem to even know what she did, but... maybe it's for the best, in the end.
That being said, he does briefly narrow his eyes at Chloe when she admits her own likely part in his little near-choking incident. "You were not *helping* for sure..."
The discussion seems to be veering towards the plans for travelling to Sunshine City. He himself ends up not commenting on any of the sightseeing options Raiza lists (though he *does* look a bit dubious when she suggests going to the places they *shouldn't* go...).
"Hey, so, uh..." The redhead starts to say, but takes a break there when Raiza damn near hurts herself all over again, scooting closer to give a light squeeze to her shoulder. "Take it easy, take it easy... You really shouldn't be overexerting yourself."
Anyone who knows Daisuke probably realizes the irony of him of all people saying that.
"...So like. I, um... I might be kind of... going to Sunshine City for other... work stuff already, too."
Well. Now that he's gone and dropped that, he rubs one hand akwardly at the back of his neck, giving the two girls a forced smile. "Aheh. Surprise? I mean, I probably will have time to come with you to the shoot and stuff too, but, um... I may or may not have an internship with Team Frost? In the New Fighting Generation thing? So, um... Yeah..."
"Really? Well, good thing I helped save him, then," Raiza says to Chloe with a smile that says everything is right with the world. If she actually did know what she was doing, she has a pretty good poker face. Somehow, playing the part of the airhead seems to come naturally to the girl. Maybe it's her natural connection to clouds, what with the storm affinity and all.
"Great! I'll give you guys the tour. Obviously, we can't go in the elders' room, but I basically got a day pass for you guys. And if you ever want to come again, there's a number at the station you can call to get clearance, as long as you don't mind getting put on hold. Or you can come with me."
Raiza smiles apologetically at her friends as they bid her not to overexert herself. At least she hasn't had any coffee today. She looks shocked when Daisuke makes his announcement, though, her dark brown eyes going wide.
"Wow, seriously? Oh my gosh! I can't believe that they were giving out internships and I didn't know about it! I would have totally signed up!" The kunoichi looks utterly fascinated - and jealous - of her friend, but she soon turns her eyes to Chloe, about to invite her to join in the enthusiasm, when she realizes something. "I mean, not that I would have given up working for you, Chloe-chan! It's just, you know, really cool - and actually, I heard a rumour that the Edo Clan might be supporting Team Thunder, because, uhh, Master Masayoshi said he's old friends with Peng You."
She does some mental processing aloud. "Which means you're with Team Frost, and my clan is with Team Thunder, but my favourite fighter is Team Metal... oh, wow. I don't even know which team to cheer for anymore! It's so exciting!"
She's literally vibrating with enthusiasm as her hands tighten into balls. After a couple of seconds, she exhales, deflating gently.
"I'd better stop thinking about it before I pop some stitches," she decides. "So, which part of the village do you guys want to check out first...?"
As Daisuke divulges his plans, the pussycat popstar perks up. "Oh, tell us more?" she asks, ever the curious cat.
As he indeed goes on to do so, she looks at him with interest. "Team Frost hm? How did you manage to get involved with that? For the record, I suppose Sarah is my favourite on that team. The sponsors seem pretty interesting too" she muses.
"I'll root for Team Blaze then" the dancer decides. "Given that you two have the other teams covered support wise. Maybe I should get my manager to give Brian Storm my number..."
Thoughts drifting off in that direction for a while, she then snaps back to reality. "I wouldn't mind training here sometime actually. I'm sure your people could teach me more about being nimble on my feet. It would be cool if your cousin was around too."
Apparently Chloe's romantic thoughts aren't restricted to one man currently.
"I'll leave it up to you to decide where we go first" she adds aimably to Raiza, before getting ready to follow her friend.
"Uh... I kind of feel like it might not be a good idea to try to come here again without you, either way," Daisuke points out sheepishly. "I mean, I kind of get the feeling from at least some people here that I am not very welcome..."
But, with his little secret out, the redhead finds himself squirming a bit upon his seat cushion while he is getting the spotlight shone on him like that. Metaphorically. "Ahehehe... It just... sorta happened, I guess? I mean, I didn't know that they were doing it either, I was just sorta... recruited directly, kind of...? Um..."
The boy's voice wanders off, and his gaze sort of... falls downward. His expression appears conflicted. Part of him kind of wants to tell even more to the two of them now that this much has been said, but... another part of him is telling him that he *shouldn't*. What if them knowing who exactly he has been involved with and how ends up putting them in danger?
His fingers squeeze briefly at the fabric of his school uniform's pants, and for just a brief few seconds, he frowns rather deeply, with his teeth nervously worrying at his lower lip. Just a few seconds like that, of further internal conflict, before he decides to tell the two of them, simply:
"I'm just going to be an assistant on the administrative side, really... I'll probably never even see the fighters..."
He's not particularly proud of saying that. But he at least wants to believe it's better this way.
His hands promptly clap against his knees after saying it, and he's quickly rising up to standing. "A-anyway, you wanted to show us around? We should do that while the sun is still up, r-right? Ahehe..." Daisuke, it's summer. The sun isn't going down anytime soon.
Log created on 18:02:29 06/08/2023 by Raiza, and last modified on 12:38:54 06/13/2023.