Honoka - Thin Ice

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Description: Following the chaos in Southtown and a ton of other life events, Zach had a good idea -- surprise Honoka with a romantic gesture. It may not have gone according to plan.

The rain has stopped long ago, but even with the waters receding back to normal levels, the Twilight Star Circus shows no sign of moving from its high spot. Winter is traditionally a slow time for the circus, and many acts have been stuck in rework cycle -- until that situation is resolved, the Twilight Star Circus will remain here -- with its shadowy, de-facto leader housed in a nearby multi-story hotel, firmly affixed to the rock face of a mountain and safe from most natural cataclysms. Twilight Star guards are posted just inside the hotel's gates, with security chief Sudo currently chilling out in the lobby.

A half-dozen guards in suits will also be on the eighth story, scattered about the floor. Their patrol route includes several reserved rooms. And inside one of them is the de-factor ringleader of both the Twilight Star Circus -- and the Akatsuki yakuza clan.

It's... been a long few weeks for Honoka Kawamoto.
The revelation of the Gear Project and the outrage of the Kamui. The conflict between Japan and the United Nations. And even less cataclysmic events, such as the confluence of no less than -three- fighting tournaments, or the near-meltdown of Jezebel Faiblesse.

A long, searing hot soak in the tub is exactly what she needed. And for those who can sense such things -- Honoka is finally in a state of complete and utter relaxation.

It's been a long few weeks for, well, pretty much everyone alive.

Between the fight against Saiki, the invitation to the World Warrior Tournament, and that fight with the giant eyeball monster, Zach Glenn needed a break from the fighting and professional monster hunting.

And there was one person, more than anyone, that he wanted to spend that downtime with.

So he hopped in his car and started the drive from Yokohama to where he could hop a ferry to Hokkaido. About half-way there, he had called Sudo to let him know he was coming, and asked the head of security to keep it a surprise. Honoka might like the surprise, but Sudo positively hates them.

Zach arrived at the hotel, a bouquet of dahlias and orchids in one arm as he makes his way to the elevator as if he belonged there and pauses long enough to get a room key. He makes his way to the hotel room, and quietly makes his way into Honoka's room. She most certainly knows by now that he is on the way; she probably sensed him when he entered the building.

"Hey," he says in a quiet voice.

The psychic performer certainly -did- know that her alone time was about to be interrupted.
And not only that -- but she knows the person who gained entry to her room.
But soak time is soak time, and it will be at least another two minutes of soaking before the performer finally deigns to get out of the tub. And another three minutes of preening before she makes her way out of the bathroom.

The door swings open, and Scarlet Dahlia stands before him, one hand rested on her hip. Her hair is tied up into a bun -- for Dahlia, par for the course. A fuzzy bathrobe... is less her style. Fuzzy slippers decorated with whales even less so.

And that smile.
"Hey yourself," she begins. "Sorry for the wait."

She, herself, bears a strong scent of lavender, courtesy of her dip in the bathwater, but that won't stop her from leaning over to enjoy the scent of the flowers offered to her.

"They smell lovely," she comments, sweeping the flowers into her arms. "Whoever you brought these for is a lucky lady indeed."

There are so many things that the shadowy manipulator could talk about -- but, for the moment, she's fallen completely under Zach's spell. Her cheeks a faint shade of pink, her eyes locked helplessly upon his.

Zach offers the flowers to Honoka as she leans in to smell them in a gallant bow, "You're more than just lucky," he says in that same tone of voice. If he was put off by the wait, it doesn't show. If nothing else, the wait was worth it.

He takes a deep breath of his own. "I've missed you," Zach says on the exhale, his own eyes on hers. "I'm glad you got through, well, everything okay." There... is something different about Zach, to Honoka's senses. He's most certainly Zach Glenn, but it seems like there may be more of him there. Or maybe as if something was added, or replaced. Or restored. It's... hard to tell.

"But I hope I didn't come at a bad time," he says finally.

Honoka's nose wrinkles slightly, her mouth curled into a coquettish grin. She bumps her elbows into Zach, shaking her head side-to-side. "It was a nice surprise. Much nicer than any of the -other- surprises I've been getting lately."

If she were wearing glasses, they'd still be fogged from all the steam. Honoka's body temperature is -quite- a bit hotter than normal -- it'll be noticeable, briefly, as she leans up for a brief, chaste kiss.

But she's also a bit light-headed from the steam treatment, which is why she nods towards the bar. Dragging two stools close to one another, she hops up onto one of them, nodding slowly.

"Everything's just been going so -fast-. Like... I've been trying to keep tabs on everything going on, here and there... My mind's practically a blur. And you, um... gosh, what was this about... an -eye?-" The big bullet points were run down in text messages over the past few weeks, but there are some things that begged for a face-to-face discussion.

Zach slips behind the bar with practiced ease; he wants to stay on his feet for a bit if he can after all the time in the car and on the boat. He goes to work, bringing forth two glasses filled with ice and water. He slides them both forward to allow Honoka her pick.

"So apparently a long long time ago, back when the world was young there was this thing that showed up to eat the world. Legends say that the gods defeated the monster but could not finish the job, so they broke it up. The head was buried in Japan," he says. "The head woke up a couple centuries ago, the stories say, and it took a colossal effort to stop it from eating Japan."

Zach leans on the bar on his elbows before continuing. "They broke the head into three pieces. The maw was buried in Mount Fuji, the eye in Mount Osore, and noone knows where the third part was buried. Fuji got nuked, and apparently something happened on Osore. The eye is went looking for the other parts of itself." He shrugs. "The thing was literally a giant eyeball. Complete with eye lasers and acid tears." Zach frowns.

"The Librarium showed up to try and put the thing down," he finally says, "And I was in the area, so I tried to help out. The mouth, and yes it's a giant mouth, was in Southtown getting drunk if you could believe that. There was a conversation, and then the two parts disappeared. I got the impression that the mouth wanted to have a good time."

Ice water, the least common denominator of drinks. Honoka raises a wary eyebrow at the non-concoction, though as soon as she places her hand around the glass, she realizes the ice's effect on her temperature.

Taking a sip of the ice water, she listens quietly, nodding along with Zach. But when he mentions the Librarium...

There is a small catch in her throat.
Recovering, she notes, "Didn't take them long to get involved."

She sips some more ice water -- the story's a bit hard to swallow.

"How big a mouth are we talking about here, that it can fit in a bar and still be a 'giant' mouth?"

An odd side-effect of his position in Clan Glenn is that Zach has learned a bit of the bartender's craft. Apparently, it's tradition for the person with the sword to make the drinks for his... adventuring parties. Something about bonding with the people he is supposed to lead into the usual desperate struggles.

"It was on the roof of an apartment building," Zach says, a bit incredulous, as if he's still trying to process it himself. "Took up most of it /and/ it was drinking sake by the barrel." Zach gestures, holding his hands out to illustrate. These were not small barrels. "The Librarium's pretty much everywhere in Southtown these days," he says. "So they have good response times there." Zach ducks behind the bar, coming up with some plum wine, some scotch, and appropriate glasses for both.

He pours Honoka her glass, tosses some ice cubes in a tumbler, and pours himself a scotch. He slides Honoka her glass, then takes a sip of his own.

"They...," Zach says slowly, "Offered me a job. From no less than Kagura Mutsuki himself." Another sip. "Though when I am honest about it, it was more of a 'join us or retire' kind of thing."

Honoka frowns, upon hearing that this... mouth is taking to drinking sake by the barrel.

"How -big- was it, though...? Like, bigger than you? Smaller? I'm at a loss."

The bathrobed Ainu crosses her legs upon the stool; the ice water is starting to work its way through her system. She crosses her eyes at the second drink -- but, thankfully, she made the bar selections, so she knows everything there.

Staring at the plum wine, she shakes her head. "... Kagura Mutsuki. He's... what, a Major or something? He sounds important. And ... did you take it? I wouldn't figure you'd be too keen to take an option on the point of a sword like that."

"The mouth?" Zach asks, "It was bigger than me." Zach glances up towards the roof of the building. "It'd have taken up about half of the roof of this building. The barrels were more like drinking cups for this thing."

Zach takes a deep breath. "He's a Colonel, there, apparently," he says. "He's the guy in charge of the Librarium in Japan. I bought some time, but not a lot. He..." Zach takes more than a sip of his drink. "He wasn't being a total jerk about it. You know," his tone of voice shifts, irritation clear and a bit mocking, "'The time of the vigilante is over, the world is changing and you need to change with it'," his voice shifts back to normal, "It was... less threatening than when Little tried to talk me out of my job. He was exceedingly polite about it, actually. But he was also not about to brook any nonsense."

He regards Honoka for a moment. "From what he told me," he says quietly, "He's going to be /very/ interested in you. And the people and the weapons you brought back from Mortal Kombat."

The Ainu woman frowns. Most of the creations she's ever dealt with have been -smaller- than a human -- the idea that something so large could possess so much intelligence on its own seems to make her somewhat uncomfortable.

But not as much as Zach, seemingly writing off the idea that this Mutsuki fellow meant him no harm.

"So, you're gonna take him up on it because he's not a total jerk."

She smiles faintly, reaching for her glass of plum wine.

And then he mentions that he'd be -very- interested in her.

There are a lot of emotions that roil up whenever he says that, none of them particularly clear.

But it's probably telling that she downs a good gulp of that plum wine immediately afterwards.

Not even bothering to savor her drink, she peers back at Zach with half-narrowed eyes -- and maybe just a -hint- of redness to her cheeks.

"So if you take a job with him, are you going to arrest me, officer?"

Zach blanches a bit a the idea of trying to arrest Honoka. That's... there's no winning in that fight, he feels. "It's... none of it is that simple," he says after a moment. "I mean, this group. It's hard to find anything on them. They seem to have come out of nowhere, and now? You can't take a walk in Southtown without bumping into one of their Magic Troopers. AND they are declaring open war on a pair of groups that are extremely dangerous in their own right?" Zach drains his glass, then looks at Honoka. There is a bit of red in his own cheeks. "I can't help but be skeptical about them."

tHer reaction gets logged, but otherwise goes unnoted. "I feel like I have my hands full with the job that I have," he says finally. "I mean, there'd be some overlap, but." He shakes his head. "Part of me wants to tell him to take his offer and stick it where the sun doesn't shine."

Honoka doesn't have a reaction until Zach is finished speaking. None of it is simple -- that's not only true, it's reason for her to swish the plum wine around in the glass. Anything except looking straight at Zach for a moment.

Helpfully, she's also walled off her thoughts for the moment, so he'll have to be skeptical about both the NOL -and- the bathrobed girlfriend he keeps pouring iced drinks for. She's... definitely cooling down, in more than just the literal sense.

She looks up from her glass once he's announced the decision part of him has made.

"And what's the other part tell you? That it's okay to work for the company who -might- decide they need to track down me or the people I've entrusted with the fate of the Ainu people?"

She swishes the fluid around in her drink a bit more -- but without looking at it.

The half-full glass is set back down onto the bar with a clink.
Honoka gets up.
And without another word, turns to walk towards the bedroom.

Zach looks like he as been slapped and was not expecting it. He tilts his head to one side. He... recognizes the landmine that was set off. Honoka is... protective to the point of possessiveness of who and what she sees as "her's".

"No," he says into the silence. "I want to figure out a way to turn them down without it turning into a fight." He bolts the rest of his drink. "Yes," he admits, "There is a part of me that appreciates things like structure and having a group at your back. You know that working with a group is how I prefer to do things, and how I do best in some ways." To wit, the King of Fighters run was pretty well put done until Duke showed up. And the team /still/ almost won that fight. "But I've gotten used to things as I have them now. I'm not ready to set that aside."

It is worth noting that Zach does not give chase. He lets Honoka stay or leave at her leisure.

Honoka's silence is telling.
The bedroom door is left open -- anything louder than a whisper will certainly carry throughout the entire hotel suite. So there's really no chance the Ainu -didn't- hear what was said, even as drawers open and shut, and closet doors swing open.

And yet, for a few moments, the only other noise from the room is the quiet sound of cloth sliding across bare skin.

Finally, Honoka stands at the threshold of the bedroom. In the dreadful silence, she had traded the bathrobe for a set of off-white silken pajamas. An arm curls about the flowers she'd been given just minutes prior. But her face a is mask devoid of emotion.

"Zach..." she begins.
Her voice, carefully modulated with only the slightest hint of softness.
"It's not you I don't trust."

The traffic outside in the halls makes itself very obvious. Footfalls -- many footfalls. The psions will both be able to sense many presences in the hallway outside.

"I need to be comfortable, Zach -- to relax, and be able to talk things out at a leisurely pace. I can't do that knowing that every time you see me, there could be someone tailing you, just waiting for their chance to take a shot."

Her silken pajamas swish about like a curtain, as Honoka leans against the doorjamb.

"I have my ways of avoiding the NOL. But they won't work if an NOL officer -- namely, you -- knows where I am at any given moment. And if you choose to -not- be an officer... we'll both still be on the run. So face it, Zach, either way you'll have a new structure to get used to."

She raises an eyebrow, lifting the flowers slightly for emphasis. "So do what you feel is right. I've never been able to stop you from that."

She stops cold.
Eyebrows lower.
And her lips curl into a frown.
And her cheeks darken, just a smidge.
"After all... do you think I would -ever- feel safe with an NOL officer tying me to the bed?"

Zach looks at Honoka. He swallows once, then takes a deep breath. There is a swirl of emotions and drives going through Zach right this second that he would not be able to hide from Honoka. "I..." he says, before taking the tumbler he had just finished in one hand and a towel in the other. He starts cleaning the glass with a certain mindless methodicism that comes from practice. It helps, in its way, to center himself.

"On that first point," he finally says quietly, since he figures band-aids are getting ripped off, "I'm not sure how anything would change. There's... always been a chance that someone or something with a bone to pick about my... job performance would catch up to me." Hell, Daniel Little and (to an extent) Kagura Mutsuki both did exactly that. They just weren't lethal about it. He sighs, looks at the glass, then goes back to cleaning it. He's thinking about his grandfather at the moment, wondering how he balanced all of that.

"I'm not even sure what the right thing /is/ in this case," he finally says. "Or even if there /is/ one. Just a lot of shitty options." It's a sign of his frustration on the matter that he resorts to swearing. A part of him was hoping that this trip, that Honoka, would help him sort this out.

When all it's done is raised more questions.

Honoka is well aware that she has certain 'tells', signs which indicate that she is nervous or on edge. She has her yo-yo, her knife, whatever comes to her fingertips. And Zach... has cleaning.

She doesn't need to call attention to it -- for right now, she is in a mood to listen, and observe. The shadow puppetmaster has already run the numbers on the possible ways this conversation could unfold, and she's already seeing the path converge on the one situation deemed most likely.

"You're not sure things would change?" she echoes with an arched eyebrow. "Well... let me spell things out for you. From this point onward, until I can get an assurance that the Librarium isn't tapping every single call you make... you're not going to find me."

She pauses to take a deep breath of the flowers, before stepping away from the threshold and placing them onto one of the hotel's desks.

"Until you can give me your -absolute word- that I can't be tracked to you..."

She begins to approach the bar again, staring down at her fingertips. She... begins to regret not having a yo-yo right this moment.

Finally, she reaches the bar once again, and lifts her glass in one calm, unwavering hand.

"Don't call me. I'll call you."

She takes a sip of the plum wine.

"I can't be mixing business and pleasure, Zach."

Zach's head tilts to one side. He knows that what she was asking was impossible; Zach had no idea what the NOL was like in truth or fiction. He could not make any such promises. The only way that he /could/ was if he was in charge. That was impossible in the short term and unlikely in the long term; he doubts he'd live long enough to make that happen. And he knows that she knows that too.

Then the thing that Zach had almost not been paying attention to flags his attention. His gaze locks on the door, the wheels turning in his head. He looks back to Honoka. "There are people outside your door," he says in a quiet, not quite neutral tone. He's sliding that piece of informantion into place, and the picture is not a pleasant one. The concern of what the new presences mean worries him, the implication of it /hurts/ him. "They aren't here to bring food, either," he says.

He reaches for Honoka's hand, the one holding the glass. His touch is gentle and at the same time insistent. "You know I can't give you those promises," he says. "I don't have the power to keep them even if I did. But I have not said anything about you to them, either. Nor will I ever. And I won't let them have you, either." There's truth there.

Then he pulls away, his head tilted to one side. "Why did you end up doing that special with Jezebel, anyway?" It's sort of a subject change, an obvious one, but it was one itching at the back of his mind. He texted his concerns when he read about the arrangement, but did not push further than that. It wasn't his career, after all. "For that matter, how'd she get you to sing?" he asks. "I think that was the first time I've heard you do that."

Honoka doesn't know what the NOL will do.

"I know. They're my people. Protecting me, just in case the NOL followed you. Luckily, we're safe now -- but I can't guarantee that everywhere I go, much less everywhere you go."

She raises an eyebrow, setting the glass back on the bar, and is -just- about to say something before Zach places his hand upon hers.

The redness in her cheeks grows.
And the eyebrows drop low again.
But perhaps more importantly, the walls tremble.
Fear is waiting just inside the threshold of her mind. Fear is -driving- this concern, -forcing- the walls to remain rigid and inflexible.

"I. Trust. You. It-it's -them- I don't trust, Zach."
Her gaze lowers to the hand -- the hand that is so warm now, a contrast to the chill of the beverage.

But then he draws away -- and her defenses shudder again, reasserting themselves. She pulls away from the mostly-empty glass, folding her arms in frustration.

"Wh-why? I... She came here looking for me, same as you. Only she was messing up the circus, making a huge scene. She needed help..."

Stammering, she finds herself looking down. Why -did- she help? Someone who was so... -against- her before, who possibly ruined her career? Someone who would've been bad for her, on both business and personal levels?

"It... it was a good bet," she offers after a moment of thought, raising her gaze to meet Zach's. "Pepper's doing terribly, and if I could get Jezebel to straighten out her act..."

She trails off. And then Zach asks about singing.

"... Because she made me feel like I -could- sing, Zach. She gives me hope, instead of just reminding me what a shit sandwich this world's turned into. And that's what this world needs more of -- hope."

She shifts awkwardly to one side, as if she expected the doorjamb to be there for her -- as if she forgot where she was standing for a moment. She corrects herself before she can fall over, by leaning heavily onto one foot -- as if she'd meant to.

"So... look. I'm... I hope this can work, okay. I want it to. But I'm scared. And it makes me -mad-, Zach, that... that after all we did on the island, it seems like all I sacrificed just to bring -you- back..."

She blinks back at Zach, tilting her head to the side.

Then she senses something -- or rather, a lack thereof.
She takes a step closer.

"... But I'm not the only one scared, am I?"

Zach leans in close, over the bar, his forehead intimately close to Honoka's. Pale white forelocks tickle at Honoka's forehead. "Terrified," he admits in a murmur. He takes a deep breath, the scent of lavender and the plum wine filling his nostrils. The mix, familiar to him, sets his pulse to racing.

Another breath, his eyes closed. "You're not the only one who is angry, either," he continues. "Saiki decided to put in an appearance while things were happening. Ichijo and I had to stop him," he finally says. "It was a very near thing," he says. "If Glen had not sacrificed himself, he would have killed the both of us. And we would not be having this conversation." There is a sharp spike of grief that runs through Zach when he says this.

He looks up at Honoka. "He died to buy us the moment we needed to seal that bastard," he growls. "I have nearly died on too many occassions to count trying to protect this world," he says. "I even did die once. I'm not asking for ticker tape parades down Main Street or anything."

He looks away from Honoka, out the window. "I would just like people to stop coming at me like I am some kind of threat that needs to be contained or controlled for once. Glen basically died /twice/, and I feel like there are exactly two people who will even mourn him."

When Zach had recentered the conversation onto Honoka, her mental defenses had shown signs of wavering. But by the time she feels his breath on her cheeks, the barriers have stabilized back into place. She can feel his pain -- open, and raw -- and with the relative proximity, she feels the only adequate way of processing the emotions is by closing her eyes and letting her other senses do the work.

The names are obvious -- each one causes a reflexive response in her barriers. Her lip pulls back in aggravation at Saiki -- that smug, self-important bastard she'd heard so much about in the past. Her teeth grit as the name of the viper-like miko is uttered -- the one without whom she and Zach might never be together.

Glen, though.

Her eyes open a moment later.

She finds herself lost in his own introspection, both when he looks at her and when he looks away.
And slowly, the walls retract, allowing the white-haired psion to feel her sympathy, warm and enveloping.

She draws in her breath, fingers raking a soft touch across Zach's forehead, sweeping his forelocks out of his eyes before dabbing at her cheeks.

"Preaching to the choir, on that last one," she admits with an apologetic smile.

But then she taps the rim of her mostly-empty glass. A crisp, clear sound that echoes throughout the eerie quiet of the room.

"Think this calls for a toast, then. To Glen."

For the time being, there's no duplicity to be found.

Zach blinks at Honoka. There may have been tears there. "Make that three, then," Zach murmurs with a faint grin. Zach was well aware of the... rocky relationship between the shade and his girlfriend. He was not sure how Honoka would react to Glen's demise.

He pours himself a fresh scotch and refills hers before raising the tumbler to meet Honoka's glass. "To Glen," he says. "Hopefully he found peace at the end, instead of the constant battles." He nods, drinks, and sets his glass down.

"On the subject of surprise visitors, though," he says after a reflective moment, "I think I need to consider getting my address unlisted." He reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out an envelope. He sets it on the bar. "Blood showed up and basically asked for a duel."

"To Glen," Honoka echoes, with a clink of her glass, and a bittersweet expression.

She sips at her plum wine, before setting the glass down, listening intently. Her boyfriend would notice that she's continuing to provide an aura of consoling support as she nods in reply -- "It'd be a good idea, yeah..."

She winces at the envelope. And Zach will immediately realize that the seal is familiar to Honoka.
"... What a charming name for a random thug."
Honoka rolls her eyes, at that.

Running her finger along the rim of the glass, she notes, "I got one of those too. Doubt I'm even gonna go this time though. What's to be gained? Another closet Lightning Spangles fan to slam my face through the pavement? No thanks."

"I... don't think he was just a thug," Zach says quietly. "And his strength was the real thing. He could have killed me if he wanted to." He takes a deep breath. "I'm going," Zach says after a moment. "It's a chance to fight some people I would not get to, otherwise. Maybe I'll learn some things."

He winces, though, at the recollection of Duke trying to cave Honoka's skull in. "I'm... You would not have been there if I hadn't asked you to be. So I'm sorry that you had to go through that." He takes a centering breath. "I did get notification that our final match has a date," he says after a moment. "I'm going to ask Nakoruru to start the match off. Seems only fair," he says with a somewhat apologetic shrug, "Since she hadn't led off on a match yet." He's... more than aware of the position the woman out of time has in Honoka's estimation. He doesn't want to seem like he's trying to push her around.

Honoka looks skeptical -- though her boyfriend will know she's taking everything to heart at face value. "'Blood,' though? Is that the name he was born with, or the name he picked when he was a twelve-year-old runaway and wanted to sound cool?"
"To wit, even =I= didn't pick a name that generic."

She lets that sink in, with a smirk on her face. Then she takes a sip of her plum wine.

"Look, I'll do the next one. I -wanted- to fight, to get stronger, and if you need to be step in for round three -- 'cause let's face it, there -will- be a round three -- then I'd be more'n happy to. We both -want- the fight."

She nudges the invitation around with a finger. "But that testosterone-driven nonsense? I've got better things to do than nurse some muscleman's deflated ego. Especially if he's gotta go hiring guys named 'Blood.'" She sticks her tongue out, at that.

Zach shrugs. "Maybe it's a family name," he says half-honestly. He's clearly amused, though. "I didn't ask. He showed up asking for a fight," he says, then his tone goes a little pensive, "And... since Glen died... my abilities have been behaving," Zach pauses, trying to find the right word.

"...oddly. Not to where there's a problem, mind you," he says. "But I'm having to learn my way around a little bit, again."

The Ainu tusukur nods slowly. "... I know... we didn't get along all that great, me and Glen, but." She reaches over and places her hand atop Zach's, squeezing lightly. "It's kind of like you're learning it without the guy guiding your hand. You've got the confidence now... and it's just going to take a bit more practice."

For all intents and purposes, Honoka has relaxed her barriers -- and allowed her emotions to be read by Zach. And while she's certainly in a mood of maximum reassurance to her distraught boyfriend, there's something else he's likely to read -- the concern that before now was expressed only in her voice. She's still... troubled.

Though Zach might be forgiven for confusing that set of emotions with another, since she's not really -saying- anything -- just gazing dreamily into his eyes.

Zach is returning the look, and Honoka recognizes the incredibly subtle signs of certain... hungers gearing up for action. Then there is a long inhale, and an equally long yawn. Zach turns his face away, and covers his mouth, but the fatigue is now pretty clear in his bearing. He had not sat down the entire time he's been here, and Honoka no doubt knows all of those tiny tells that Zach's staying awake more or less on sheer willpower at this point.

But he's yet not so tired that he misses the concern. "...you okay?" he asks a touch too soon after recovering from the yawn, which is still in is voice somewhat.

Honoka blinks once, twice... a third time.

And she realizes that the two may have been more in synch than she'd realized, once the yawn's contagion spreads to her as well, forcing her hand back to cover her mouth.

"... Yeah, listen.... Why don't we just... crash now, and..."

Out of the corner of her mind, she hears a few thumps out in the hallway. Rolling her eyes, she makes a dismissive gesture with her hand, and moves her mouth slightly.

Boots can be heard as the contingent of Akatsuki guards slowly disperses, leaving only two guards posted the door. Standing at attention for so long can be tiring, after all!

She finishes off the rest of her drink, leaving the empty glass on the table. "Let's get some rest, we'll finish up in the morning. I'm sure no one's gonna make a move to attack us both -now-, anyway."

She takes a playful swipe at Zach's nose, grinning. "Least of all you, sleepyhead."

Log created on 14:07:47 01/16/2018 by Honoka, and last modified on 10:29:27 01/24/2018.