Description: While tracking a mysterious man, the great savior of Southtown - Malin - comes across an even stranger stranger that impedes her investigation. However, it seems that the recent Syndicate soldier, Tairyu, has uncovered a potential danger lingering among the students of Southtown's High Schools.
The hour of the day following most schools and workplaces letting their respective students out for the day translates to the boardwalk being abustle with people. Which does work out decently for the kind of people who want to hide in plain sight-- even if most don't.
At the very least, the rush of people moving through does mean that someone like the six-foot young man in black suit pants and jacket and the dark red dress shirt doesn't necessarily stand out much from the norm here, despite this particular man not typically frequenting this part of town. No, for Katashi Tairyu, this is just a pit stop between another outing outside of his typical neighbourhood and his return back home. Not a particularly pleasant outing at that; Tairyu'd let go of the debt-collecting jobs way back when, but apparently the new leadership of the Family decided his face needed to be shown for this particular shakedown regardless.
At least it's given him an opportunity to go line up at one of the outdoor Ramen stalls, here. The line's... not a particularly short one, here, but he's waiting patiently enough there regardless, with hands in his pockets. He'd heard some folks in a bar he frequents say good things about this one.
School's out! It's an exciting time to get free. Even if, by her own admission, Malin doesn't really /need/ to go to a school it still feels great to be done with that part of her day. The giddy Taiyo high sneak-in is among the many students of various rival schools that are flooding the boardwalk. She walks with high stepping confidence, hands behind her head, keeping an eye out for any trouble that might come her way.
She isn't "on duty" as she'd call it, but she can see so many total marks walking around that someone has to keep an eye out for them. And that someone best be a "former" thief and member of a totally legit secret society like Malin is. And with all the wildness going on, Malin's definitely been a busy little bee. Almost too busy to be able to look up what happened to that girl, Mitsuru, the puppy princess.
But wait! Something, or someone, catches her eye. A man, too well dressed. Too stylish. Definitely not someone that's up to any good to be hanging around out at a boardwalk where high schoolers hang out at. This looked like someone to keep an eye on.
And so she does, following, tailing, keeping out of sight. She disappears here and there, slipping behind trash barrel and food stand alike. Pursed lip, narrowed eyes, she skulks to where he goes. Until he meanders up to the line at some ramen shop. Right behind some guy in a red shirt and black pants that doesn't register a blip on Malin's Trouble-Dar(tm).
As for the man in front of the one Malin followed-- well, Tairyu's pretty well dressed too, all things considered, though the suit jacket and pants aren't really particularly expensive ones. It's not quite 'business casual' (especially on someone like Tairyu!) as it is 'night on town'.
And the man behind Tairyu does ring a few alarm bells inside his head, too. THere's a long, purposeful look given over his shoulder at the man, just before his turn on the line comes up.
And finally, with a bowl of beef ramen in his hands, he wanders away from the counter, but not far at that. A seat found, initially, where he can watch over the man left over at the counter after him, and potentially see where he goes from there while he slurps idly at the noodles.
...Though, why does he feel like someone else is watching, too?
Behind that man is a high school girl. She plays with a yo-yo. Up and down, thwip and slap as it shoots toward the boardwalk and back up into the palm of her hand. A blonde in the Taiyo uniform, with a bright red bandana. She is, for the most part, unobtrusive. She's tangled with the syndicate on more than a few occasions. Most recently she busted up one of their bars alongside a masked woman. She's also responsible for more than a few thefts of their property. But compared to any real threats, she's virtually not worth the attention. But still, there she is, or at least a reasonable facsimile of her.
The sharp-dressed man orders his own bowl and walks toward the sidewall to look over the water. Malin is shortly behind, and she pays with money not entirely her own and only half of it legit. And it's then she finds a spot to watch the man. Where she can sit and slurp. And watch this guy in case he's a syndicate goon out on the take.
And next to her is someone else, also watching this man, who she doesn't suspect at all.
The girl that ends up sitting next to him doesn't draw much of Tairyu's attention, initially. While he is technically part of the Syndicate, he didn't knowingly associate himself with them until recently, and... well, even then, it's not an arrangement he is exactly *happy* with. So he doesn't recognize Malin, on account of that. Maybe he's heard stories, but he doesn't have any face to associate with them.
He does, however, inevitably take notice of her, and the attention she's giving the same person he's watching.
"You're not trying to make out a mark there, are you?" Tairyu finally asks in a low rumble of deep baritones, followed by a purposeful slurp of a particularly long noodle, the end of which winds up whipping the tip of his nose lightly before disappearing fully into his mouth.
Blink blink. Malin looks to the tall guy next to her. She slurps up the dangling curtain of ramen hanging from her mouth. She shrugs and wriggles herself into the seat as if to claim it harder and show off how entirely not concerned for things.
"Mark?" she asks. "Iunno. Who's Mark?" Her head tilts and she puts a finger at her lips to force the clueless blonde look. This disguised inspired by the lost puppy princess.
She follows up with a clueless look toward the well dressed man and his waterside noodles. "Do you mean that guy? Is his name Mark?" she asks, cranking the raising question in her voice to a way past reasonable level.
Dark brows furrow into a scowl while he considers the girl next to him-- and for that matter, he makes a point of *not* looking towards the man he was watching from afar earlier. The scowl persists for a good few seconds before one brow is sent cocking upwards in a deliberate arch.
"Oh, so you're telling me you were just watching him because you think he's hot, then?" He counters, though despite the choice of words themselves coming across as something of a tease, his voice remains level and deadpan regardless. "You know he might be a little old for you. But I suppose just ogling is fine..." And, yes. The volume on that statement is well past the point of conspiratory whisper that he'd kept to his original question. Two can play at this game.
Malin's tongue sticks out at the comment. "Ew, no. Why would I want a guy that old?" Malin asks, crossing her arms. She thinks, eyes clearly narrowing conspiratorially as she thinks to how she might smokebomb this situation.
Once more, she taps into the very, very wrong. But she's playing the ditz and there's only one person she knows that embodies that the best. Mitsuru. "You only say that because you're jealous I was watching him and not you, aren't you? You're one of those types of guys, aren't you? Hanging out at a place with high schoolers like that?"
She speaks, and she can feel the slime down her spine.
"...Eh?" That does manage to break Tairyu's stoic expression a bit to make way for momentary confusion followed by a slightly deeper scowl. "Yeah, right. As if I would ever even consider someone in highschool. Tch." The protest comes with his green gaze getting snapped firmly forward, and him drawing up a curtain of noodles to his lips with the provided chopsticks.
You know, nevermind the fact that Tairyu is really just two or so years older. Even if he did personally skip high school entirely.
"But," he adds in, after the complete vacuuming of the array of sauce-dripping noodles, with his voice returning back to the level, rumbling calm. "You *were* watching him, then."
Broken! Success! Malin's ditzy blonde demeanor drops away to a smug and self-assured study. "Yeah, right. Sounds like sour grapes coming from you," she says with a snort. She shows off via downing the rest of her ramen with a rush. Almost as if she was, ultimately, a small and hungry girl that lives on her own and breaks into schools and more dangerous locations.
"I was," she says. "I'm with a secret organization that considers that man a potential dangerous gang member with the notorious Southside Syndicate. You could see through my clever ruse, so I trust that that means you are aware of the dangers a man like that could be."
"Mmmmh, truly spoken like someone with a modest opinion of herself." The comment comes right after the remnants of broth and beef have been drained from the bowl in Tairyu's hands, and... the words that come from her after? Those draw a rather dubious look from him, directed at her in a sidelong manner with the subtlest cant of his head.
"Now you sound like you are just fucking with me," he points out with a low grunt. "Though I guess I wouldn't be too surprised." His nose wrinkles and his lips purse briefly, in thought. If what she's saying is true, what exactly should he be doing with that information? If his new 'management' found out about this particular encounter, they would definitely hold it over his head if he didn't do anything, but he's not exactly particularly *inclined* to help the man.
"I'm the most modest person I know," Malin counters. "It's not my fault that as the head of the Malin-Style that I need to do everything I can to protect my home." She points her chopsticks toward the man's ramen. "You finishing that?"
"Anyways," she says, waving her chopsticks in one hand while her other hand sneaks toward Tairyu's bowl. "You shouldn't be surprised? What are you /expecting/ the Southtown Syndicate to just take over everything with what's going on? I mean, we already have Darkstalkers and chumps getting antsy since the big tower, but are you suggesting this is all a ruse for the Syndicate to finish up the Yakuzas around here?"
"Malin Style," Tairyu repeats after her, with a full turn of his head directed towards her, with a sloooow blink. "And how many others practice this style?" Another slow blink, before he rolls his eyes and just... hands over the halfway-finished bowl to the girl. She does seem hungrier than him anyhow.
"Would *that* surprise you?" He asks of her, then, more seriously. "There practically isn't a single independent family around these parts anymore anyway." He knows that part all too well, and there's a brief tinge of frustration on his features when he glances aside, away from the girl with that statement. The upheaval of Aizawa-gumi is still all too recent in his mind, afterall.
"So let's say moneybags over there is Syndicate then. What are you going to do about that?"
The ramen's in her hands and she's scarfing things down. "Quality over quantity," she answers to the question of the school of Malin-Style. She eats, clearly hungry and taking down as much as she can.
"Of course not. Not since the Syndicate punted the Akatsuki out. Now it's just them and a bunch of people not worth owning. And I guess whoever it is that's running the Darkstalker groups." She rattles things off with the knowledge of a spy. Though she's a splashy talker and waves her sticks about as she explains.
"Him? I follow where he goes. I see what he does. Then I put a stop to it. Easy-Peasy."
"Now, see, that's why I am not sure if you are fucking with me or not," Tairyu is quick to point out, while he still peers off towards the girl's would-be-target over by the waterside. "Just rattling off all that like it's nothing to some random stranger.
Slowly, his head turns to the side again, just enough to direct one intensely-bright green eye over towards her. "What if I was Syndicate, for example?" Well, technically he is, but she doesn't need to know that. For now.
"Weeeellll," Malin says, putting the second empty bowl into the first and leans back with a look of pure satisfaction, hands behind her head. She looks up at the man next to her and gives him a wink. "Maybe I am, maybe I'm not. It's all good."
One finger out. "If you are and you're secret, you ignore me so you don't give up the ghost." A second finger, "If you're not a Syndie, then I'm just bragging to a guy I'm helping and you can thank me by buying me dessert." A third finger. "If you're Syndie and not a secret, then you're going to fight me and I get to handle two birds with one stone. Win Win Win."
She laughs and sticks her tongue out with a laugh. "That answer you?"
Eyes narrow, now. "...Ignoring all that other stuff for a minute," Tairyu rumbles. "How exactly are you helping me if I am not involved with that paticular mook in any way or form? And besides..." His eyes sweep down to the two cleaned out bowls. "YOu already got a freebie from me."
The chopsticks left into his hand are brought up, and used to give a tap to the top of her head while her tongue is stuck out. "Secondly, that's rude, young lady." Again. Only two year age difference.
"And third..." His voice lowers considerably. "YOu're going to do whatever the hell you are going to do with that man, and we're both going to pretend you didn't say any of that shit to me so I don't have to punch another person I don't have issue with." Eyes still narrowed, he maintains a level gaze on her. He might not have provided proper explanation and context, but there's an intent purpose there in that look, regardless. "You good with that?"
No words from the girl. Not at the first talk of what is owed by whom in regards to good food gotten for free. She knows to keep that moving or else people dwell on just how much food is swiped. It's always better to keep them going when you want to get some more food.
"You're the kind of guy that goes around punching teenage girls?" she asks. her grin grows sharp. Time to channel the puppy girl again. "Is that how you get away with touching them?"
Somehow, Tairyu's eyes manage to narrow even further when she makes that accusation. "...I am not," he grunts, eyes turning away again. Some of that stone-faced demeanour does get broken with it, at least, even if it is once more mostly out of a measure of bemusement and frustration at the girl's antics more than anything else. "And I would prefer to keep it that way."
"Besides, if I wanted to touch you I would at least buy you dinner first. As opposed to just having you *steal* it from me."
Looks going between Tairyu and the target. The target to Tairyu. She hums. "Oh, you're into boys," she says with a very sage nod. "I get it, I get it. That's why you were talking about him being hot and ogling."
She pushes back away from the table and stands up with a cracking pop of a spinal stretch. "And you lended the food to me. That's all. As a show of good faith for my keeping the city's Boardwalks and ramen joints safe and independent."
Tairyu arches one brow slowly. "So... I'm not actively trying to get into your pants, so I must be into boys instead?" A low snort muffles within his throat. "So modest." HE gives a brief shake to his head with that, just before she's standing up.
ANd of course, that earns a roll of his eyes. "That ain't no contract I ever got into. But..." One shoulder rolls around slowly. "I'm fine considering it charity. You seem like you needed it either way."
A laugh from Malin and she spins on heel. "What, you taking that as an insult? Tsk tsk, no need to be so hateful," she teases. In her hand, a yoyo appears to be pulled clear from nothing as she starts to play with it again.
"I'm no charity case," she says, a tone of seriousness coming to her. But she starts to move, mostly because the well-dressed man has started to move away.
"Now you're just twisting my words, young lady," Tairyu protests with a dismissive flick of his hand. "But think whatever you will."
His brows furrow down once she starts to move away. THere's no argument provided about wether or not she needs charity-- but he does consider her for a good moment. There's a good amount of consideration on if he should go after her regardless, just in case. "...Good luck," he calls after her either way, while she's still within a distance that doesn't require raising his voice much, and he's rising up to standing with that.
Log created on 16:49:05 06/08/2020 by Malin, and last modified on 22:12:16 06/08/2020.