Description: Zach seeks some answers, but learns something he was not expecting to.
The dinner at Ohnoya went off without a hitch, aside from the wild accusations from Mizuho. But for all of that, the drinks were good, the food was excellent, and the company was even better than that. A couple of days later, Zach had mentioned to Honoka that he was going to try look into the matter of that bizarre sword of his. The Marine had figured that his grandfather would be a good place to start, and had excused himself (owing to the hour) to make a phonecall or two.
About ten minutes later, Zach walked into the trailer, grabbed the bag containing the sword, and all but stormed off of the circus grounds. He did so fairly quietly, but the look on his face and the determined stride were enough to keep people from inquiring as to Zach's intentions. It's somewhat late, and Zach manages to not make a ton of noise during his departure.
However, anyone with a shred of psychic sensitivity will know that the Marine is incredibly angry as he heads out to the woods.
Honoka, naturally, is one such person. Happiness, joy, elation -- these are all emotions she knows how to encourage from the audience. They can inspire people to greatness, can compel people to do things they might never do. But darker emotions -- fear, anger, sadness -- tend to make the average people curl up and withdraw. Anger has its uses. But it has no place in her circus.
Accordingly, whenever someone gets angry, it's her prerogative to stamp it out: ain't no sense in getting her people riled up. But as she gets closer to the source of the negative emotion, she realizes its signature. And she begins to frown, both as an empathic response, and as a realization for the timing of the departure. The night's show ended a little while ago, and the springtime air is a bit more chilly than she'd expected, so the juggler took the time to pull a flannel shirt over her cami top and workout shorts. It's not exactly haute couture, but it's not like she's trying to impress people, either.
She does not speak. There are only two things the woman fears in this forest, and masking her presence from either one is not really possible -- so she makes no effort to try. She simply makes her way through the woods, keeping a good distance from Zach, her sneaker-clad feet crunching up the leaves and snapping the twigs in her path. She carries no light, her concerned expression and her inner light proving to be enough in the moonlit night.
Honoka has no trouble following Zach; the Marine makes no effort to try and mask his presence. He's not very good at it to begin with, and he's far too angry to even think of such a thing. The juggler finds Glenn standing in front of a very large tree. The sword is still in the duffle bag, leaning up against another tree.
The anger rolls off of Zach like a slow wave as the Marine reaches up to place a hand on tree in front of him. Zach stays like that for a moment, not really leaning against the tree. "Please," he finally intones in Gaelic, "Stand against me." The sentence is said in a reverent tone, as if it were a prayer.
Zach then takes a sliding half-step back, and punches the tree. Hard. The tree, a very large Japanese Yew, shudders under the impact. Zach punches the tree again, and again, alternating fists. The tree shudders, the needles falling almost like snow.
The Twilight Star performer really -ought- to have accompaniment when out this far from the circus proper, but... she had a feeling it would be better to come alone. It -is- Zach she sensed, after all, and if she can't control him here... well, he just made it easier to enact Plan B.
You know, just forget I said anything.
Considering the hot anger roiling off of Zach, she breathes quiet thanks for the chill of the night, curling her arms about herself as she finds a tree to lean against. She watches, silently, her face and slender form cast in stark relief by the moonlight overhead. If the Marine is punching trees so hard to shake the needles loose, well... he probably needs the catharsis. From what, Honoka is sure to find out. But the opportunist does not make any sudden motions, lest she find herself as the next target. Not yet, anyway: If Zach hasn't noticed her standing a good forty feet away /yet/, it's too soon to try to reach him.
Zach throws another punch against the tree, and a crackling sound is heard. It's faint, but it's noticable. With that, Zach stops, and touches the spot he had been punching. A section of bark, only slightly larger than Zach's fist, is missing. Honoka might, if she can inspect closer, see a single crack across the exposed area. Zach covers the spot with his left hand, and leans his forehead against the tree for a long moment. "Thank you," he says, again in Gaelic, and stays still for a moment. The anger is still there, but it has lessened a bit.
"You always ask the tree," he finally says in Japanese, loud enough for Honoka to hear. "Before you do something like this." His posture doesn't change, his eyes are closed. "My grandfather only taught me the one technique, but that wasn't the only thing he taught me."
The juggler does not budge from her vantage point, relying instead on her eyes, her ears, and her mind to gauge the current status of the circus' latest 'groupie'. She has reason to believe the tree is damaged -- moreso when Zach explains why he's talking to the supposedly inanimate object.
The woods were her friends for a long time in her younger years -- she knows well how to respect the rules of the forest. So while her assent may take an unconventional form, in the simple word, "Always," there is meaning behind the word.
The urge to ask for clarification from Zach is strong. But there are times to speak, and there are times to listen. And even though she is a good distance away, there should be one emotion projected clearly to Zach: An unavoidable sensation of compassion. She will gladly listen to an explanation, but her poise and distance should make it clear that she does not demand one.
Zach turns, and sits down with his back to the tree. The Marine pulls his knees in close, and rests his chin on his knees. He looks so... small, in doing so. He doesn't look at Honoka, staring at a point on the ground. "My grandfather died," he finally says after a moment. "While I was in Metro City."
"I just now found out," Zach voice is quiet, barely above a murmur, "From Grandma."
She was waiting for a sign -- and there it is. "... Zach, I'm so sorry." There is no hesitation -- her response had been prepared, waiting upon her lips since she'd even begun her trip through the woods. Zach should know: Honoka has experienced loss before.
She does not move immediately, though -- a deliberate pause, to ensure that she's properly appreciating the gravity of the message given her. She draws in her breath, steeling herself... and then the sound of snapping twigs and crunching leads resumes, albeit more slowly.
**I'm here for you,** she whispers reassuringly, directly to Zach's mind to ensure that her voice isn't drowned out by the rustling of her steps. **It wasn't your fault. You were crucially needed in Metro City, stuck without a way out.**
Before long, her feet will find themselves in the spot which Zach is staring at. She kneels down, curling her flannel-clad arms around her knees as she looks back at the Marine. Her expression is neutral, not wanting to diminish the mood Zach is feeling in the slightest. He needs this, after all.
"I get that," Zach says, out loud. "That... I'm okay with that. Grampig was ninety-three. It... it was his time." Zach takes in a deep breath. "When I got back to Metro proper, I was in the hospital for a few days. Dad flew in, Mom stayed home. She was scheduled to do an operation, and even if she could have come, she wouldn't have. She's always made it a point not to get involved when another doctor's overseeing one of her kids." Zach pauses, and the anger flairs up again.
"But Dad was there," he growls, "He visited me while I was laid up."
Honoka eases off. The only thing worse, she feels, than someone who give too -little- sympathy is when someone gives too -much-. Again -- a matter she has a deal of personal experience with. She remains a distance away, nodding quietly as she listens with full attention, her mahogany-colored eyes looking back at him. "And you are frustrated for not letting you know...?"
Zach casts a glance up, looking Honoka in the eye. "Frustrated," Zach says evenly, "Does not even begin to cover it." He leans his head back, staring up into the night sky. "He probably had a good reason," Zach states flatly, a little tiredly, "A lot of the wounds from that last monster were still pretty fresh, I was still recovering. He probably thought he didn't want to provide more stress, when everything was still so fresh."
Zach goes back to looking at the ground. "But it still hurts," he all but whispers, "You know?"
The Fire Dancer hadn't thought the word would be sufficient by itself. But the woman's approach of helping Zach work through his issues pretty much demands that she ask softball questions here and there, just to show that she's following along every step of the way.
Honoka nods quietly. "Yeah," she admits, "I know."
After another moment, she rises to her feet. And then seats herself alongside Zach, pressing her right shoulder against his left. And adopting a similar position of looking down at the ground, trading eye contact for actual contact.
Zach doesn't shy away from the contact. He sits there for a moment, and Honoka can all but hear the wheels turning in Zach's head. "So I still don't have answers about the sword that may or may not be trying to devour my soul," he says in an almost light-hearted tone of voice that doesn't quite there, "And it's looking more and more like I'll need to have a face-to-face talk with my dad about the matter. A phone call's not going to do it; too many easy dodges." Zach frowns. This is a matter that demands a certain amount of immediacy, and Zach is still on leave for a little longer. Going back to the States seems to be the only way about it.
"Want to go with me?" Zach asks, a very, /very/ faint trace of hope in the question. This is not something he wants to do alone.
If Zach is poking fun at Honoka's fear that the sword might be an ipetam of legend, she doesn't respond to it. Bitterness, anger... those are totally expected in a mood such as the one the Marine is experiencing right now, and taking it personally would be... counterproductive.
But for all the warmth and comfort that she's been trying to give to Zach, there is a catch in her throat at the request of going -with- him. The waves of compassion stop for one moment, before slowly resuming, as the woman reasserts her feelings on the matter.
"... I suppose I can manage letting Mizuho grandstand for a few days," she admits, with the air of levity coming across in her voice. "She's becoming more comfortable with stage-fighting the others." Left intentionally unstated is her uncertainty over being gone from the circus for -too- long.
Zach's not /really/ poking fun at Honoka, but he's made it clear fairly quickly that he's not sold on the idea that the sword is as dangerous to him as she seems to think it is. The sword has been 'in the family' for an insanely long time, and he cannot imagine the clan letting something that inherently dangerous out in the world. He agrees to disagree on this point. He looks over at Honoka, a little excited for the first time since entering the forest.
"I..." Zach says after a moment. He honestly was not expecting that for an answer. "I can't imagine it taking more than a week. Two tops," he says quickly. He grins a bit as he reaches over Honoka's shoulder with his left arm, pulling her in for a light hug.
"Iyayiraykere," 'Thank you,' in Ainu, he whispers in her ear.
Honoka draws in her breath. There are many thoughts running through her head at the moment -- not the least of which being, when did -she- become the type to agree to these sorts of requests? What can she possibly gain from rushing off to America for, not just a few days, but... two -weeks?- The flicker of conflicting emotions lasts but a moment, as the woman closes her eyes, pressing her lips together as she nods her head.
For some reason, hearing 'thank you' in her native tongue makes it worth it. She returns the hug, leaning against Zach. Perhaps it's only fair, she convinces herself.
Though they will probably need to work out the timeframe later. The time for discussion is not now.
"Hey, it's no big. I'm happy to go with." She'd have said it in Irish, but planning -that- far ahead wasn't really something she was prepared for.
Iyayiraykere is the only Ainu word or phrase he didn't learn from Honoka, and makes up a whole third of his command of the language. However, he made it a point to learn that one. He had initially planned to use it after this 'vacation' was over, but the situation totally called for it.
Besides, travelling that kind of distance for only a day or two seems stupid given the sheer amount of time involved in travelling that kind of distance. But discussing that is a later thing.
Log created on 21:02:20 05/22/2015 by Zach Glenn, and last modified on 19:17:35 05/23/2015.