Clio - Stray Cats

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Description: Abandoned in the middle of Southtown's business district and left bereft of a ride, Tairyu attracts the attention of a strange girl wearing a mask.

Collection runs were always a part of the Yakuza life in some way or another. But back when Aizawa-gumi was still run without active Syndicate oversight and command, visits to the more wealthy parts of town like this weren't too common. Sure, there were a couple extortion cases with certain businessmen and politicians who conducted themselves in nasty manner in the red light district where Aizawa-gumi operated, but they were still a few and far between for Tairyu.

And usually the collections weren't related to things that offended his own pride, either. Unfortunately, the Syndicate decided to bring Tairyu in to collect from a businessman here whose only sin had been money troubles. Not that he really has the option to refuse the order, right now.

And after the collection itself, Tairyu's slipped back into an alleyway besides a large office complex, to hand over a briefcase filled with bearer bonds into the backseat of a black car... and almost immediately after, the car drives off unceremoniously, with Tairy left calling out "OI!" after it. They were the ones who drove him here in the first place! Now he has to walk all the way back, ugh. Cue a frustrated kick given to a castaway can left on the curb.

Back in Southtown. Studies back home in Metro were only so fruitful. The dead earth and choked chi were not abating. The ghost of a world both past and not was long gone and talking with the others in tune with the flows of magic were not proving helpful. But then there was the Darkstalker incursion into Southtown. It wasn't the same as Metro, but Jedah Dohma had made his tower there. Even if this didn't /seem/ like his maneuvering, it still stank of something related. Or at least it would involve Clio St. Jeanne's former employers. Former home.

Former friends.

And so she finds herself on the streets again, hood up, heavy chain running from her neck to wrap around her waist in an overt, glaring "fashion" statement. And a dark, smiling Kaka clan mask covering her face. She wasn't planning on doing much during the day, she actually still hates being up when the sun is and she had been napping. At least until someone kicks a can and calls out in just that right way to wake her up.

She, annoyed, taps her fingers and clinks the links of chain around her waist, looking from the fire escape that was her midday nest. She drops like a stone and lands with an unnatural quietness on the streets below. A quick assessment, a cautious look. She worked with the NOL, she trained with them, and she knew something underhanded when she saw it. It does make her smirk under that mask she wears.

"So," her monotone, Metro accented, voice chimes in as the clinking of her chains announces her more than her boots. "The getaway gotaway without you?"

Tairyu stiffens up in initial surprise when he hears the voice behind him. Even more so considering he hadn't heard anyone approaching in the first place. In the following instant, he sends himself pivoting around on the heel of one foot, to facing...

...Facing something he did not expect at all. Though he was prepared for a sudden fight, after giving a good, slow look-over of the masked, chain-wrapped person, he straightens up his posture some all over again. He... doesn't quite know what to make of that.

"...The hell?" He grunts out in question of his own, instead of actually answering that monotone (but somehow amused-sounding) question of hers. "That some kind of cosplay you have going on?"

The smaller woman looks up at the man. She wears the Kaka mask, her hood up and modified with the ears that her teacher has. She chuckles to herself, and yawns, clinking her chain and overacting the miming motion of a yawn. "What?" she asks, head tilting, the smiling mask staring back at Tairyu. "This is Southtown, I ain't the strangest thing you seen today."

She taps the nails on her boot against the pavement. "You woke me up," she states matter-of-factly. "I don't like when wannabe gangsters do that."

Tairyu's brow twitcher ever-so-faintly at the masked woman's statement. "... I hate that you are right about that." This town is a bizarre mess on the best of days, afterall.

Eyes flicker down to the nails on her boots clicking against the curb with such purpose on her part, and his lips purse in thought, considering what she says. "So... you are some kind of drifter, then, taking a nap in an alleyway?" He lets out an exasperated sigh. "I... apologize for interrupting your rest." He.. does sound strangely sincere about that statement. "But perhaps you should consider finding a more private place for sleeping, if you don't want to be woken up like that. And... I would appreciate you didn't talk about me like you knew me at all."

A quiet snicker. "What's to hate about people not being boring?" she asks, head tilting again, a pantomime expression given her own is hidden away.

Clink, clink, clink. She looks the man over, judging him behind her mask. Childhood spent fighting goons on the streets. NOL service fighting monsters and demons and fae. Post NOL life being on the run. She shakes her head at her own internal thoughts. "Kind of," she admits with a shrug. "And the sun comes off the buildings here. It's warm. They're nice."

She over-yawns again. "Awfully polite for a gangster," she says. "Yakuza?" a question more for herself as she leans closer to look Tairyu over. "You didn't deny, you just didn't want to hear it. Tells a lot."

Tairyu doesn't answer that question. Not that he really seems to need to, for her to know it, anyway. But he does note, "Only second-rate thugs feel the need to prove themselves on that."

THere is the subtle backing motion of one foot when she leans over. She might not be in his personal space, but for some reason he feels the need to ensure that it's still maintained. "You don't exactly scream 'civilian' to me, either, you realize. Not with the way you are carrying yourself."

"So you're saying you're a first-rate thug?" Clio teases with her hands wrapping behind her back as she strolls around Tairyu. If she's awake, she will sleepily find some amusement and curiosity in the moment.

A stop, she taps the nails on the pavement. She doesn't dig closer into the man's space, because she would prefer to keep her own anyways. "Is it obvious?" she asks. "What about me says that?"

A short laugh and the girl rocks back on her heels. "But I guess I am now. Even if it never goes away."

"Funny," Tairyu responds to the accusation with a tone that is entirely unamused.

His eyes track her, still, while she moves in a perimeter about him, pivoting slowly on one heel to keep himself facing her while she does. All the way until she stops again.

"The way you talk," he tells her then, in explanation to her obviousness-- or it being obvious to him, anyway. "Like you know and understand things most civilians don't. And just the way you move. I might not be some psychoanalyst or profiler, but I've been at this long enough to see some of the signs. And you're showing enough of them to me to make a guess, at least."

"Soldier can leave the fight. Soldier can die. Can't take the soldier out of the girl."

Clio laughs and shakes her head. "It's too early in the day for metaphors," she admits and waves her hand dismissively. "I use to be with people," she admits. "And don't take this the wrong way, but they're a lot bigger than you. Even if the public don't realize it yet. I'm not with them, not anymore. So it ain't like I'm gonna turn you in or nothing, and the kinds of people around here?" she says with a gesture around the business district, "They ain't the type that need protecting for their little personal wars. So you don't need to worry about me kicking your ass."

"'People'," Tairyu repeats, eyes narrowing at the masked girl. There's all of five seconds spent in considering her words, before he shakes his head. "That could mean any number of organizations. That doesn't rattle me."

The final assurance she gives him, that brings a vaguely amused look on his face, with one brow cocking slightly upward and a corner of his mouth tugging towards the beginning of a smirk. "I wasn't particularly worried. What *are* you going to do, then? Just continue your nap and let the world pass by you?"

"It shouldn't. It was vague," Clio agrees to her own statement with a languid shrug that jangles her chain. "Any number of people can say they're with people. Doesn't make them threats."

Back and forth she starts to rock, fidgeting, holding in a mixture of restlessness and sleepiness that plays tug of war with her head during the day. "I can continue to make you my amusement until I grow bored," she says. "Because it could be fun to watch you take the long walk to wherever you call home is."

"...Beg your pardon?" Out of all the things Clio has said so far, *this* is what seems to hit Tairyu the most. He gives her a long, bemused stare in silence-- maybe trying to assess by that look alone if she is actually being *serious*. She couldn't be, right?

"...So you're going to stalk me, in other words," he states in perfect deadpan. "I have to say, that's not quite the way I was hoping to get attention from a woman."

The mask is a Kaka Clan style, red eyes, grinning, hiding her face along with the Jubei-styled ear cup hood of her sweatshirt. She tilts her head again, tapping her fingertips against the corner of the mouth. "What's so hard to understand?" she asks. "You woke me up, I don't have anything better to do, and so I'm making you my entertainment. S'pretty simple."

She does laugh at his deadpan. "I'm not really sorry if you're getting mixed signals, but you're lacking a few things that I like," she informs him with a shake of her head. "So you aren't even getting that kind of attention. All sorts of stuff not going your way today, innit?"

Tairy's stare is unwavering in it's blankness, even for the following few seconds. "That was a joke," he states, with that persisting deadpan.

"Either way, that doesn't really make it any less weird, you must realize. Hmh." His tongue clicks against the roof of his mouth, and his fingers scratch at the side of his head for a brief moment. "You are a very strange person."

"Sour grapes." Clio clucks her tongue. She puts her hands behind her back and stretches with another yawn. Then bends forward to touch her toes before going back to a casual, hand on hip posture. She's just showing off now and amusing herself with the straight-man that's shown up in her life.

It was a gift from a very serious turn he life has had. She's more grateful for things than her mask suggests.

"I am," she admits, "But it's a very strange world we live in." She drags a finger along her chain, etched runes and sigils marked on the metal appear and glow with a deepset violet light that sparks with eldritch fire in the wake of her finger's trail. "Stranger still in Southtown lately. Have you noticed it?"

A frustrated grunt, first, and a roll of the eyes. The scratching of Tairyu's fingers against the side of his head turns to a brief kneading of one fingertip against his temple while he mutters, "If you say so." He's not at all amused about that accusation, still. Though it all owes to the fact that CLio, as a whole, is absolutely not the kind of person he was expecting to see-- or the kind of person he really knows how to deal with, anyway.

It does owe quite a bit to his composure, however - and probably the things he has seen personally - that he isn't at all alarmed by the brief glow of runes on her chain, beyond a brief, curious glance.

"Southtown has always had a measure of strange to it," he observes. "Somehow I always seem to end up with plenty of that strange in my daily life. Like some weird sidequest bullshit. But..." His arms cross up loosely over his chest, and he throws a brief look down the alleyway, towards it's mouth where it connects to the streetside proper. "...You're not wrong. With everything that's been happening lately, and... Some other things." Less public things he's privy to, namely. "Feels like a lot of big players are coming together around here."

A wave and the wisps of fire bleed off into the aether. But it still seems that Clio, or at least her mask, follows the curls and sways while her hand draws out numerics and equations in the air that only she seems to be seeing or understanding. "There is," she says with a leaden tone that seems at odds with the usual mirth that she's demonstrated so far.

She turns her attention to the man and lifts her mask up to the top of her head and show her face. The girl with the strong cateye shadowing gives Tairyu a grin as she taps the corner of her eye. "Keep an eye out," she tells him. "If you're working for the yakuza and they're willing to dump you like that in the middle of the street, you're probably useful but not that bad a guy and nice enough to poke."

Her hand shifts to a wave. "Don't take that as an insult," she clarifies, "I like that in a person. But things are going bad enough here. The 'civilians' need someone to help them when you're not heisting around."

The mask comes back down. "You've been fun. Thanks. I think I'll be seeing you around."

When she brings the mask up, Tairyu's focus settles firmly on her face. The features are committed to memory. For all he knows she might go around wearing that mask everywhere regardless, but it might be useful to be able to recognize her real face later, too.

"...That's complicated," he offers in return to her... assessment of him. And the work he does. "The people there weren't exactly... the kind of people I usually work with." He's not going to explain any further than that. Not for now, anyway. Certainly much too early for either of them to be sharing closer details about their lives to each other.

WIth her turning around, he briefly considers calling after her to get her to stop. But would that be any use, anyway? And for that matter, for all he knows, certain people seeing him getting all buddy buddy with her could lead to... unfortunate consequences, too. He really has no way of knowing, but he gets the hunch that it's better to be sure.

So all he leaves after her is, "See you around... Masked Chain Girl." In most cases it might seem non-committant. But here, in his tone, it speaks of something else. Understanding that there's some significance to this passing meeting the two of them may well see up later. And the understanding that this certainly isn't going to be the last he is going to see of her.

...For now, though, he needs to go grab a cab. Lest he end up tied up in some other bizarre sidequest nonsense walking back home.

Log created on 11:47:54 06/13/2020 by Clio, and last modified on 15:11:22 06/13/2020.