Description: Stoically refusing to admit that he has been ditched by Athena yet again, Kensou heads for Chinatown to indulge in his second-favorite passion - meatbuns! But he isn't alone in this time-honored tradition and the young girl he meets there ends up displaying a rather unexpected talent. (Winner: Momoko by TKO - without even throwing a single kick?!)
%Chinatown. 5 PM. Afterschool specials.
The Meatbun market.
The marketplace is abuzz with the dinner-crowd. While it may seem strange for an entire street square to be dedicated to a single type of food... the food was not just one type. A stand surrounded by children, was heaping on cool Doushabao, buns stuffed with sweet bean pastes. Another was bringing in the succulent tastes of Shanghai, loaded with juicy Xiao Long Bao. Another had the circular steamers lined up side by side, filled with the tender jiaozi. Countless food stands, all loaded with infinite meat bun possibilities.
And one teenager would take them all.
Kensou had finished up his studies. The teenage boy was dressed in his Justice High uniform; garbed with black slacks and a button-down uniform shirt bearing gold buttons. Normally, he would make time to escort his closest friend Athena. But she was busy. Sometimes she would be busy. And Kensou respected his dear friend Athena very much. After all, he was always very considerate as a dear friend of Athena. Kensou and Athena were mutual friends. This is how the Psycho Soldiers worked! So Kensou was a dear friend, and let Athena go on by herself.
Besides, she did so without telling Kensou.
And Kensou had no idea where she was.
It was the strangest thing. Without Athena around, and not knowing where she was, and yet being obligated not to find her, Kensou was driven to find Meat buns. All the meat buns. As the teenager approaches the baozi district of Southtown, the shopkeepers and cooks look towards the teenager. Many small children, experienced with Kensou before, stand aside from the doushabao. A stand keeper makes a small prayer, praising to the statue of Buddah. Another slaps a paper fan on several of her sons, who quickly bring out the 'Kensou Specials' as they are known: The Big Paus. The time had come for the baozi. Kensou was upset with his life, in one way or another. He had a fever. And the prescription?
More Meat Bun.
One of the children that have gathered here today looks a little bit different than the usual fare of local urchins and children of the Chinatown district. And unlike everyone else, she doesn't seem to notice the arrival of 'the Great Destroyer' as Kensou slides into view at the end of the street.
Dressed in her casual clothes, Momoko actually comes pretty close to fitting in with the oddly colorful clothing fashion of the district. Her lack of shoes and bits of dangling jewelry make her look more like a wandering gypsie than an urchin though and the tiny mountain of empty plates next to her on the food stand seems to indicate she's got money to spare too.
The tiny girl chomps happily on what must be atleast her sixth round of meat buns, stuffing the large noodle balls into her mouth whole one at a time. She makes happy little noises as she chews for a few seconds then swallows once, banishing the entirity of the sizable dumplings to the bottomless pit that is her stomach.
Several of the locals stare at her in a mixture of awe and dread but none of the less fortunate children appear to be going hungry if the smudges of cooking oil and seasoning on their faces is any indication. Momoko is the purvayor of love and happiness! And she's not about to let homeless kids starve while she gorges herself infront of them.
Kensou certainly had his choice picks.
The teenager his grinning ear to ear, mouth dribbling at the prospects of delicious, painkilling meat buns. He would stuff himself full of so many pork buns, he would practically pop. He could already imagine sinking his teeth into some of the more regional delights. Cha siu bau, the barbecue meat buns. Or perhaps he would explore the exotic sensations of Kaya-baozi, the coconut jam meat bun. Even the classic Bah-pau would be enough for him. He had nearly single-minded dedication right at the orgy of delights that was the meat bun district.
But someone catches his eyes.
Pulling away from his dream-like fantasties of meat buns, he notices the homeless children. Of course, the poor children. Kensou was not... selfish in his meat bun adventures. In the midsts of his meat bun frenzy, he always found time to share. Some of the locals might have thought of him as a sucker in that regard. But Kensou didn't like seeing kids missing out on meat buns. As he looks at the kids, he... notices one of them in the center. The one that was gorging on them, stuffing herself full. As Kensou approaches, he watches as she nearly swallows the meat buns whole. Jaw slack, he exclaims, putting a hand right to the side of his head. "Amazing!"
"I've never seen a little girl eat so much!"
Momoko turns to peer at the sudden voice directed her way midway through demolishing another meatbun. Her cheeks are puffed out like a squirrel with a bounty of fresh nuts to carry back to its den which matching big sparkly brown eyes to boot. The diminuative girl blinks at Kensou curiously for a moment before giving another couple chews and swallowing the entirity of the meat bun in a single gulp.
"Nyaaah..." she says with a satisfied exhale. Turning around completely now, the small 'child' devotes her full attention to the stranger who is staring at her like some sort of circus attraction. That's nothing new for a performer like her but it still makes her blush a little and she rubs the back of her neck giving him a sheepish grin.
"Uuuuh, do I know you mister?"
All eyes are on Kensou.
The teenager continues to focus on Momoko, as she absolutely WRECKS that meatbun.
"I am just interested in your meat buns!"
The eyes begin to -judge-
The street urchins stare into the teenage boy. They begin to giggle. Only the children giggle. The adults are not giggling. As the girl focuses on Kensou, the chinese martial artist begins to turn bright crimson. "I... mean... the meat buns you are... eating. You are eating meat buns. The meat buns in your mouth." Kensou sniffs, scratching the back of his neck.
"No you don't know me!"
"My name's Sie Kensou!"
Momoko's blank stare is the only response she gives amid the sudden fits of laughter from the children. It takes her a second or two to process /why/ they are laughing -then it suddenly hits her and she turns a brighter shade of pink, hand flying up to cover her mouth as she lets out an embarrassed, "Eeeh?!"
Fortunately, Kensou manages a swift if equally awkward recovery before every adult within earshot decides to tackle him at once. The small girl looks away momentarily, furiously trying not to burst out laughing and failing pretty miserably. Her amusement atleast seems to diffuse some of the tension from the situation which lowers the threat level from Red Alert to a low simmering Yellow.
Eventually, Momoko collects herself enough to speak again and wipes a few dabs of moisture from the corner of her eyes, still grinning. "I'm Momoko," she offers cheerfully, bowing to him like the good-mannered girl she is. "Nice to meet you, Kensou-san."
She turns to peer at the pile of meatbuns still clustered on her plate for a moment. "Are you hungry, mister? I brought lots of money with me today!"
The adults are now -actively- ignoring Kensou. If he wants to flirt with a petite girl? Well, obviously he is desperate and lonely. And he clearly he is trying to hide the pain with meat buns and street urchins. There are many sad, pathetic things in the world. But the saddest to these adults?
Kensou keeps rubbing the back of the neck, face still red. The children's laughter was the worse. He was tougher than this! As Momoko begins to shrug it off politely, the teenager grins sheepishly. "Nice to meet you too, Momoko! It is just nice to meet another fan of Baozi." But then Momoko says something... suspicious. Someone that was a red light, for anybody who worked with street urchins. He doesn't let his smile fade, but he does ask a skeptical question.
"Where did you -get- that money?!"
Momoko smiles up at him as she picks up a coffee can and rattles it at him. It clatters and clinks with a veritable storm of metallic objects grinding about within speaking of a great deal of loose change. There's also a noticable fistful of small bills sticking out of the top. She beams proudly and rests her hands on her hips, puffing up a little like a bird.
"This is my earnings for this week! Lots of people came to see my show! So I thought I'd come share my good fortune with the people that live around here since they always make such good food."
Kensou was getting more and more nervous. As she rattles her can, however, he becomes more relieved. She just did street shows. The skepticism softens, though not entirely disappears. What kind of street shows though? Concern enters the teenager's heart, as he realizes that what he may have here is a twisted reflection of Kensou's own soul.
A child, addicted to meatbuns.
Kensou knew firsthand how meatbun addictions could affect lives. Kensou was fortunate that he had the money to support it. Of course, the more he supported it, the more expensive it got. Kensou's grades had been sliding, thanks to him going out like this for meatbuns romps in the 'baozi district.' He sometimes would sneak in meatbuns between training sessions, or even in the middle of a fight. Sometimes he cries alone at night, stuffing meatbuns into his mouth, until he suffocates himself to sleep. And what if... what if this girl was caught in even worse of a habit? Kensou turns bright red in the face, as he asks the young lady:
"What kind of show is it?"
Momoko can sense the odd emotion in the air as she reveals her secret to the oddly reticent young man. It's something of a gift she's had for a few years now, being able to read the atmosphere and the surface feelings of those around her. Sometimes, if she concentrates really hard, she can hear other people's thoughts. It was neat trick but not one without its risks; there are just some things floating around in people's minds a young girl shouldn't hear!
With that wisdom firmly in mind, Momoko chooses not to delve too deeply into whatever might be roaming around in Kensou's head at this moment. Instead, she focuses on the question that has been asked out loud, a subject that she is entirely certain can't be taken the wrong way.
Puffing her chest out even more, Momoko takes a spritely step away from the meat-bun cart and does a little spin as she moves, lifting one leg up completely over her head with such ease that it might make one wonder if it's even connected to her hips properly.
Kensou looks away.
Bringing a sleeve to his eyes, he chokes back the tears. Trembling, he sniffles again, tightening his hand into a fist. Dancing. She earns it all. By dancing. Dancing for strangers, to earn money for her little tin can.
So this is what meatbuns lead to.
Passing a glance back to Momoko, he bites his knuckles, looking at the girl as she puffs out her chest so proudly. He could imagine her now, dancing to earn her daily meatbun fix. Cheap change being thrown at her. Or worse. Meatbuns. He could imagine her now, mouth open, as meatbuns are tossed at her.
Kensou could imagine himself doing the very same.
No wonder the other children were sitting in on her. They wanted to make sure, just like Kensou, she didn't collapse into a haze of post-meatbun bliss, and end up choking to death. Or worse. Overdosing on meatbuns, and getting a wicked tummy ache. Kensou holds his own stomach, as he sniffles.
"What... kind.... of dancing?!
Again another completely unusual response to her answer. She's felt awe and indifference and jealousy and even lust before when people watched her dance. Some people love to see the talent that exists within the world beyond their own abilities and some just like to watch a pretty girl display her flexibility. These were the two primary sorts of people that ended up becoming her fans. Sometimes, like with the girl who had visited her for the first time a few days ago, curiosity drew others in. And strangely, a fair number of people came to see her show who seemed to want nothing more than to see her fail, to watch her stumble during a routine in front of her fans. The world is full of all sorts.
But this is the first time she's felt... pity? Momoko's enthusiasm falters for a moment as confusion floods in to replace it. Her brows furrow a little in worry and she lets her leg drop back down to the ground, head tilting to one side as she peers at Kensou with obvious worry. Is there something she's missing here? Did he misunderstand what she meant somehow? After a few moments her eyes widen when the realization hits her.
Well, there's an easy way to clear that up!
But not before she has a little fun with him. Momoko puts on a bright smile and begins to shimmy back and forth. Her feet slide gracefully over the concrete as if there were small invisible cushions of air holding her slight frame aloft. The girl's arms swing at her sides in energetic little loops as her hips shift from side to side in a simple gyration with the movement of her legs.
Momoko looks up at the worried young man and grins in a sultry fashion, asking in a low tantalizing whisper, "Wanna see?"
Why was she looking at him funny?
Kensou was already a nervous wreck by this girl. Something just seemed... off about her. As the girl slides right on up to him, though, he turns a blend of red, purple, and green. Puffing up himself, he tilts his own head, when she asks him if he wanted to see. Well of course he wanted to see. But why was she giving him the same look Athena gives Kensou from inside Kensou's he-
And the realization comes.
She saw him as a JOHN.
A meatbun daddy.
She wanted him to hook her up on getting the top meatbun fixes! Kensou's jaw drops. His eyes bug out. Timidly, he turns his head, to look at the storekeeps, the people who manned the stands. They were once his friends. And now? They wouldn't even look at him in the eye.
With the exception of one person.
An elderly lady, the oldest woman in all the baozi stands, who had been rumored making meatbuns since the 1800s. The wiry old madame just sits in her chair, looking Kensou dead in the eyes. She shifts her eyes to Momoko, lips trembling. But her eyes are cold. She looks back at Kensou. And then, Kensou knows, that she was watching his character. She was going to see, what kind of man Kensou was. The teenage boy sputters, looking back at Momoko's inviting eyes. And finally, his answer comes out.
The old lady grins a toothless grin.
Kensou's reaction is like a sweet candy to the small girl. Her coy grin twists upwards even further as he stares at her with incredulous disbelief, seeking out aid from those nearby with a pleading desperation in his expression. He would find none, however. The people here know her, they know what she's up to, and they just play along with the most impressive poker faces she's ever seen.
Taking a step forward, Momoko leans in and reaches out with one slender arm. Her palms rests against the young man's chest for a moment and she slowly drags her fingers upwards, drawing them away one by one until only her index finger glides teasingly along the curve of his neck. It traces a lazy casual arc up along his jaw until it comes to rest on the jutting tip of his chin and all the while Momoko leans in closer and closer, rising up on her tip toes to get as uncomfortably close to his face as she can.
With a sudden giggle and a wink, she flicks her finger up, pushing Kensou's face away and glides backwards into a graceful pirouette that carries her several feet into the open street. A faint shimmering trail of sparkling stars follows the path of her heels through the air, appearing as if by magic, as though she were an oversized fairy. Momoko drops low to the ground, planting her palms on the street and resting her weight forward as her legs split apart a few inches off the ground. She pauses to toss a suggestive look over her shoulder through the wild mane of her shaggy up-do, eyes half closed as she arches her back.
If her instructor ever saw her using capoeria like this he'd have a heart attack.
Kensou quickly realizes that the answer was not a desperate, panicked 'yes.' As the girl reaches out and touches Kensou, he lets out a squeaking sound, as his body trembles. His jaw slackens more as he crosses his eyes, the teenager looking straight at the hand as it comes up towards his chin. By the time it reaches there, he shuts his eyes tight, jutting his chin. Instinctively, he tries to resist the wily charms by imagining Athena doing this, instead of a strange street meatbun junkie.
As it turns out, thinking about Athena was in fact the opposite of what a good idea is.
Kensou is pushed away, stumbling backwards. Falling on his bottom, legs spread out, he opens an eye, looking at what Momoko was doing. His flashes a rainbow of colors as he imagines Athena doing those things. All those things. With such... SUCH FLEXIBILITY. Kensou swallows hard and loudly as she arches her back. And rolling his eyes to the back of his head, he sighs.
And falls straight back, fainting.
There is a long pause of complete and utter silence as Kensou collapses into a puddle of insensiate flesh. Momoko blinks a couple of times and then begins to chew on her bottom lip, her face scruntching up into what might be worry. Her body begins to tremble as her arms start to give out, perhaps under the stress of holding herself off the ground.
Nope, she's trying not to die laughing.
Momoko collapses onto her stomach as the effort of holding in her amusement quickly becomes overwhelming. She bursts into a frenzy of high-pitched giggles, tucking her knees up against her chest and literally rolling back and forth on the pavement as she howls with laughter.
The adults also break out into a mixture of broad grins and chuckles, some shaking their head at the poor boy while others just sigh and go back to work. Confusion is the reigning emotion among the children and orphans, but the small girl's mirth is extremely contagious, an effect further amplied by her somewhat unique gifts. Snickers and grins spread throughout their ranks and they rapidly join the tiny dancer in fits of laughter that last for a full minute or two before she finally manages to get herself under control again.
Wiping tears from her eyes, Momoko crawls over to the fallen boy's side and waves a hand infront of his face. No, out cold. "Can you take care of him," she asks, turning her head towards the elderly madame. "I really -hehehe- should be getting back home now."
Kensou was in fact out cold.
Some of the children poke him with sticks, as the adults laugh. They weren't afraid to touch him. They just instinctively knew that they shouldn't. The teenager, for all he was worth, was fast asleep, as some of the urchins work on getting his meatbun money free. At least, based on that smile, he was happy.
Probably having sweet dreams about his Athena.
As Momoko looks towards the old lady, she wordlessly nods. The young girls energy and mirth was pretty contagious. She would take care of Kensou. In any case, she has the medicine she needs to take care of him.
The medicine is meat buns.
Log created on 23:42:30 11/06/2014 by Momoko, and last modified on 21:39:55 11/09/2014.