Description: Zach Glenn makes one last trip to the Twilight Star Circus to clean up some messes he left before returning to base.
Zach Glenn returned to the Twilight Star Circus, later in the evening after his trip to the hospital. The last show of the day is done, and people are going about their business. The Marine had his left arm in a sling, the large duffle bearing the sword Drynwyn slung over the other shoulder. He looks around quietly, uncertain whether or not he's exactly welcome here. He doesn't doubt that he'd be allowed to get the rest of his belongings.
The Marine waits for someone to come along to let Honoka know he is there.
Honoka has more or less thrown herself into her work. There will be no mass disruption of the circus proceedings as there was the last time she was anywhere near as frustrated as today -- certain rashly-stated remarks made sure of that. No, cast members can agree that this particular show was one of Honoka's better performances along the Hokkaido leg of the tour, although they certainly expected the -opposite- considering everything that's happened.
Indeed, she wears a smile bright enough to light up the darkness as she strolls through the circus grounds. Perhaps it's the bright, airy sundress she's decided to wear -- a welcome change from her constrictive, skin-tight performance attire.
But more likely, it's the company she's keeping: Mizuho, the circus's new headliner, the actress to the currently running story arc threading its way through all the circus acts of the evening. The two young woman have been at odds in the past few weeks, but it'd be tough to tell from the way they're talking now.
Or holding hands.
Still, it'd be difficult to miss the blonde Marine standing just outside the show, facing towards the circus rather than away, as the other patrons depart for the evening. Honoka's animated conversation with Mizuho pauses as she turns over to Zach -- and as soon as she recognizes him, she smiles and waves back with her free hand.
Mizuho's smiling and waving is delayed by about five seconds.
Zach's eyes narrow a bit before widening in surprise when he sees Honoka and Mizuho talking, and smiling to one another. The holding hands thing is /definitely/ a surprise, given some of the interactions Zach has had with both women. Still, he smiles and makes his way over, waving with the non-casted arm.
"Hello, Honoka, Mizuho," Zach says with careful cheer, "Did the show go okay?" He is a bit worried; Zach's departure was a bit crazy.
Holding hands may not be all that shocking in America, but in Japan... it's rare, at best. But Mizuho tends to wear her heart on her sleeve, and she's smiling, so it's not exactly a surprise to the starlet. Indeed, she's totally comfortable with the situation, as evidenced by the fact that she answers Zach before Honoka can even open her mouth: "Yep! The show went -fantastic-, the energy of the crowd here in Hakodate is -unbelievable!- Kawamoto-sempai was -amazing- on stage, she nailed every beat and the crowd -loved- it!"
Quietly and tactfully, Honoka retracts her hand from Mizuho before the younger girl's enthusiastic gestures wrench it out of socket. "Yeah, somehow I managed! I guess I just threw myself totally into the act -- if I slowed down even a little, the audience would be able to tell, right?"
"Right!" agrees Mizuho, "I mean, it's like they say,"
The two young women speak in perfect unison: "The show must go on!" And then break into laughter, Mizuho keeping one hand over her mouth as Honoka walks forward, examining the sling for a moment. "So what's the doctor's prognosis?" she asks, cheerfully as can be.
Zach looks back and forth between Honoka and Mizuho, an amused confusion clear on his face until he notes the faint flush on Mizuho's features. Then the Marine grins a bit; he knows Mizuho is underage for alcohol but old enough for military service. If someone is old enough to volunteer to get shoot at, who is anyone to begrudge someone a beer?
He smiles tiredly to Honoka. "Clean break, set properly," he says, the compliment on Honoka's work implied as he pulls the arm out of the sling to show the clean white cast, "Should heal pretty quickly, assuming I don't stress it too hard." He grins a bit at that.
Mizuho blinks back at Zach, unsure what caused the confusion in the first place, nor the grin that follows it. She looks back to her sempai for guidance -- and Honoka points at her own cheeks. Mizuho silently goes 'ohhhh' for a moment, and nods.
The less said about providing alcohol to underage girls the better.
"Well, yeah. We get plenty of practice with broken bones here. S'why we gotta practice so much, right?" Honoka had been addressing Zach with that, but she turns towards Mizuho after a moment, finding her smile mirrored upon the junior's face.
"It's good to know you're feeling better, Glenn-san!" A moment of hesitation passes as Mizuho looks between Zach and Honoka. "I... I gotta talk with Sudo about our trip tomorrow, I'll see you around!" And with a hesitant bow, she runs off in the direction of the circus office.
Honoka wraps her arms about herself, smiling at the receding form of her junior. Quietly, she comments so that only Zach can hear: "She's a wreck, but... all she needs is a little nudge here and there, heh." After a moment, she looks back to gauge Zach's response, her heartrate slowly accelerating. With Mizuho gone, the two will probably have... weightier matters to discuss.
Zach nods his head once to Mizuho as she takes her leave before turning toward Honoka, shrugging once to settle the duffle on his shoulder. He looks at his feet for a moment, frowing slightly before looking back to Honoka with a serious expression on his face.
"I... said some things to you earlier today," he says, a slight blush that has little to do with excitement or alcohol. "I had, inadvertently, implied something that I should not have." Zach bows, deeply, at the waist, his eyes on the ground. "I'm sorry."
Honoka stiffens somewhat, sensing the shifting tide of the conversation. She had been in a good mood -- a -really- good mood -- and she makes an effort to prepare herself for a less lighthearted conversation. There's the issue of her sadness -- but more appropriately, what -precipitated- it.
Zach's language does come across as a bit... dodgy? Honoka knows exactly what got her upset, there's no question of the language -she- was offended by, but does -Zach- even know?
"Apology accepted," she states quickly, focusing at the top of Zach's head until he returns to a standing position.
There are a number of reasons she decided to weaponize her misery against Zach, and while he might not know said reasons, the fact remains that she doesn't -want- him to. A light blush comes to her cheeks as well, thoughts roiling about in her mind for a moment before she can vocalize them.
"So you... know why it bothered me?" She gestures to the receded form of Mizuho. "You know -that- was casual for me... right?" There are times where Honoka would be content in watching a man squirm to remember the crucial piece of information necessary in understanding a woman's emotion -- this is not one of those times. "I'm not trying to force you to do something against your principles. Or something you don't sincerely -want- to do. But can you at least admit that you're giving me mixed signals here?"
Zach straightens himself out, and listens, before scratching behind his ear. There is a growing blush on his face as he thinks for a moment, trying to put the words together in the right order. "I was," he admits frankly. "They were confusing signals because /I'm/ confused on the issue." The Marine takes a deep breath before continuing and explaing.
"It's..." Zach scowls, his brain tipping all over itself. "It's something I want," he finally says. "But at the same time, I'm not sure it's something I'm /ready/ for." Zach looks a little sad, a little plaintive at this point.
Honoka squares up with Zach, looking up into his eyes. She's mindful that there could be an audience -- and fully aware that they could have seen the accident that happened earlier that morning. But really, who cares about that? Zach's tripping over his own words. She lets him complete his thoughts.
And then she rests her hands on his shoulders, giving him an amicable sigh. "Zach, Zach, Zach... what am I gonna do with you?" The pink highlights on her hair bob slightly as she shakes her head -- amused, slightly, but more in that she seems to be trying to figure out how to phrase her thoughts.
"Look. We've been within thirty feet of each other, on and off, for about a month now." She wriggles her nose, drawing back a moment. "And the trailer still smells like bacon. Will for about a week. I'm not doing this for just -anyone-, see?"
Honoka had been perfectly chatty for a moment there, but she's always mindful of other people who might be listening. So when she continus this time, her mind speaks directly into Zach's.
/ I know what you're feeling. And I'm right there with you, maybe I'm not ready. But I know one thing -- we both slept better last night than any night in a long time, right? /
Zach inhales deeply as he lets the words, spoken and unspoken, washing over him for a moment before he figures out his response. "I hear you," he says quietly as he lowers his head with a quiet smile.
/And yeah. That was the first full night of sleep I've had since before Metro City. For that alone, I'm graeful./.
/So tell me, then, did you have any recollection of me forcing my way on top of you? Or otherwise -pressuring- you to do something neither of us was ready for?/
Honoka flashes a devilish grin up to Zach, along with a quick wink. /I'd thought about it. But no, I didn't! It's trust, Zach. Trust that I'll be patient./
She pauses for a moment, frowning somewhat as her gaze falls to Zach's mouth. /What made me -sad- was the fear that you were dismissing what we -have- as something I'd give to just anyone. It made me think my trust -- in you, in -us- -- was misplaced./ Lifting her eyes back to Zach's, she adds, /Trust... it goes both ways. And it lets us sleep well. If you hadn't come back tonight, to clear the air, I... would not have slept well./
Zach's eyes, on the other hand, never leave Honoka's. They look a bit tired, a bit sad. Part of that may be the conversation from that morning. It might also be the broken arm. Those take a lot out of people. He grins a bit, though. /I'd have come back regardless,/ he thinks. /The rest of my stuff is here. But I *needed* to clear the air between us, and that's why I didn't just crash at Takehiro's./
The grin fades into a wince, Zach rubbing at a spot above and between his eyes with the palm of his hand. "Gyah," he groans softly, "I can't keep that up for that long," he admits.
Honoka laughs, wincing as well in sympathy. "Yeah, phrasing thoughts -that- way is... tougher." But yet, Honoka chose that method to communicate because she knew it was honest. Direct. And not clouded by her normal filters of obfuscation that might have diluted the intent of her words.
Every so often, Honoka is capable of being honest.
"So, um... you're welcome to stay another night if you can keep from falling out of my trailer. Do I need to get an armrail put in?"
Zach winces a bit in mock hurt at the armrail question. "No," he says with a weak chuckle. "Like I said, crippling case of deja vu," he says after a moment. "Not your fault if I can't keep it together. It..." Zach hesitates for a moment. "Nevermind." The wince doesn't go away.
"Are the drinks still flowing?" the Marine asks. "I've got a prescription for pain killers, but I can't get it filled until I get back to base."
It wasn't her fault, and she's not falling over herself to apologize for it -again-. Instead, she reminds Zach softly, "That was her. Not me." Part of Honoka feels like reminding him 'She died because she was stupid,' but that would -probably- run counter to the message she really wants to convey here.
Honoka finally releases her light touch upon Zach's shoulders, drawing back. "I'm sure -something- is on tap. C'mon!" And she begins to lead him to the communal area, harboring a smile upon her face. Sometimes, she reminds herself, to fix an arm, you need to break it first.
Zach is fully aware that then-Honoka is not now-Honoka. It's the reason why he changed the subject, actually. He grins at the invitation, offering his good hand to the juggler.
Honoka is quick to place her hand into Zach's, drawing herself close. At one point, long ago, she'd considered Zach's knowledge and his easygoing nature to be the strongest reasons for elimination. But now... things are a little different.
"... I keep thinking I should be saying something, but I'll be honest, I'm just glad to be with you, right now."
Zach pulls Honoka into a loose hug, an easy grin on his face. For Zach, things are still very much the same. There are aspects to Honoka's personality that led themselves to possible trouble down the road and Zach felt that by being near, by showing Honoka perhaps a better way to live, that he could perhaps help Honoka save herself from herself. She had a lot that she could offer a great many people, and it seemed tragic to squander that on plots of world domination.
But things are also a little different for Zach; Honoka is smart, funny, and competent. The fact that she is so easy on the eyes also helped things. As did her passion and energy.
"Then there's no place I'd rather be," Zach says with warm honesty.
Log created on 16:56:31 06/14/2015 by Zach Glenn, and last modified on 20:35:26 06/20/2015.