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  • 📅 July 2024 is YE 46.5 in the RP.

RP Two Ships Passing Each Other on the Dark Side of a Moon


Inactive Member
RP Date
1 日 1 月 YE 43
RP Location
Kyoto Tower Hotel
1 日 1 月 YE 43

Downtown Kyoto, an unusually quiet morning after an unusually loud evening. At the choicest of locations was a most resplendent hotel called Kyoto Tower. Like the city outside, it was filled with a rare calm as its inhabitants slept off the previous night's revelries. Except for the one occupant of the hotel's least luxurious room who had been ahead of the curve in finding his place of rest. Unfortunately for him, he was also ahead of the curve in terms of his hangover. Atop the bed was a cocoon of blankets wrapped around a body that began to move violently, coughing and gasping through a mouth as dry as a desert, rousing its owner into a state of loathsome consciousness.

In addition to his painfully dry mouth, Takashi felt a sharp pain that seemed to bisect his skull lengthwise, and the undeniable tenderness of a stomach that wasn't quite sure which direction it intended to send its contents. The newly-finished-training and soon-to-be science officer moved, but then regretted his decision immediately. Then he began a series of actions that some might charitably call moving, albeit slowly, but that he managed to convince his rebellious body was not in fact movement. These actions slowly pulled him out of his chrysalis, down the side of the bed, across the floor, and into the bathroom in a manner that suggested a serpentine slithering. Along the way, and once again with apt comparison to a snake, he shed the boots and clothes he was still wearing from the evening prior. Once he was in the bathroom and without his clothing, he squirmed into the tub and turned on the shower.

As the water poured onto his head and ran down his face and neck, the worst of the nausea slowly dissipated. The sound and feel of the shower was soothing, and he found himself drifting off to sleep again before he caught himself. I need to go to Sandra, he thought. Why? Who is Sandra? He recalled thinking about going to a place called Sandra on the walk back to the hotel. Where was I walking from? A vague recollection of his parents' place occurred to him. Did they tell me to go to Sandra? No, they were just as unhelpful as usual. Takashi thought back to the beginning of the night. There were unpleasantly loud crowds of unpleasantly many people. Then there was eggnog. Then the crowds weren't so bad. Then...?

A face appeared to him. She...was this person a she? They had antlers. And a scar above their eye. Or not a scar. Something that suggested a scar. They were blushing. He kissed them? Thinking back, it felt like a scene in a movie. Were there fireworks as he kissed them? It seemed too perfect. Then he remembered touching their antlers. That certainly wasn't from any movie he had ever seen. In the murky sea of his memories of the previous evening, the feeling of their antlers under his fingers stood out. Along with the feeling of their lips against his.

What was their name? He distinctly remembered saying it multiple times. Or had he? Maybe he had only thought about it multiple times and he had spoken several times, and his memory was conflating the events of one with the other.

"Kozakura," the name appeared simultaneously in his mind and on his lips. "She said to meet her at SANDRA today. She works there."

Takashi suddenly became aware of several feelings all at once. One was the lurching sensation at the base of his abdomen as he thought about his own work and how he would be shipping out in a couple of days. And were it only this feeling, he certainly wouldn't have looked around the bathroom, seen the phone and picked it up.

"Concierge? How far is the hotel from SANDRA?" He listened then hung up, but not before thanking the person on the other end. "Thank you."

This decisive action had been prompted by the second feeling with which he had become reacquainted after recalling the eventful night before. It wasn't something he could name, but he felt it behind his sternum and it felt like a strangely pleasant dull ache that was pulling him back to this person he had met. Despite the weariness he felt in his bones, this sensation buzzed within him and filled him with an energy that propelled him through the actions of getting himself ready and out the door. Sometime later he would find himself outside of SANDRA and trying desperately to recall when he had been told to meet along with what this person's family name was.

While one of his conflicting emotions weighed him down with dread for what was to come the day after tomorrow, the second filled him with hope for what could be the best couple of days of his life.

Kozakura sat at her desk after coming back from lunch, well it wasn't really her desk it was just a desk. Meant for any low level journalist to use while in the home office, her head was buzzing still even though she'd been good about drinking water all day, there was a sad smile on her face due to being distracted by thoughts of a bittersweet dream. Going through her emails was pretty boring as usual. There were a few different assignments she could take, details about office policy changes, and of course the occasional spam letter. There was also an email thanking her for working during the holiday celebrations. Not that she'd had a choice in the matter.

Suddenly she slumped to the desk. Oh the holiday celebrations, the words reminded her of how she must have gotten plastered after work out of loneliness. It didn't really sound like something she would do but then she couldn't remember how she got home, only that she woke up in her own bed to a big breakfast prepared by Sara, and with a splitting headache. All that put together pointed to getting drunk. Though she did remember the most wonderful dream, there was a young man who was quite cute if a bit odd. She remembered flashes of a gentle touch upon her antler and then... and then... it made her pink just thinking about it. I haven't had a dream like that since I was a teen... she thought idly with a small laugh.

"Are you okay Tatsugami-hei?" one of her coworkers asked as they stopped by the desk. Kozakura quickly straightened up and smiled at them, "Yes, just lost in thought for a bit is all."

"Okay, well I'm glad you're okay," they replied before walking off.

With a sigh Kozakura went back to work for a while, replying to things which required a response and looking over the available assignments. They weren't great, the newbies got last pick all the time so it was usually the stuff the senior enlisted didn't want to do. In her case, Kozakura got stuck with visiting Ralt to cover their Ice Festival. Fortunately she didn't have to actually leave until tomorrow morning. Checking the time she quickly realized that her day was basically over already. Jeez, how long had she been day dreaming about her dream? Gathering her things up off the desk she logged out from the computer and headed to the main entrance of the building. As she stepped outside the blast of cold winter air caused her to shiver and knocked her hat from her head. Shit...

Now chasing after the stupid hat that barely fit upon her head between her antlers she had almost caught it only for it to be blown a few feet further away. After about another couple of seconds she caught up and bent down to pick it up.
It wasn't long after Takashi had started waiting that the energy that seemed to vibrate within him started to die down. Hiding behind that energy was a tired ache that he could only assume was the due to the combination of a late night and more alcohol than he had ever consumed. This ache, once established, invited along the cold that suddenly seemed to penetrate his winter jacket. Takashi began to shiver and his once hopeful mind turned to doubt.

What am I doing? This person hadn't even suggested a time, he thought. And neither did I. How long do I have to stand out here until I accept that this was foolish and go back to the hotel? Would they even want to see me? Were they also drunk? I can vaguely recall a drink that tasted like...mushrooms? That doesn't seem right.

But what if they come just after I leave? What if they're thinking about me in the same way I'm thinking about them? Can I just walk away and let their hope die? Could I really accept that?

Is this even something I want? Or am I just here because they said to meet them? What could we even do together? I don't even know how to spend my free time when I'm by myself, let alone when there's someone else to entertain.

Takashi started to feel faint, and realized that he was hyperventilating. Deep breath, he thought to himself. Release. Deep breath. Release. Just like when sitting down for a test. Don't faint, you'll just lose time.

Would I even recognize them if they came along?
The thought hadn't even finished tickling his neurons before he saw movement in the corner of his eye, turned, and suddenly saw them. Indeed, he recognized them immediately and felt like he would have even if their hat hadn't blown off and exposed their antlers. There was something about their face....her face? Something about her face triggered recognition in his brain before he even began to process the visual information. Immediately, he started to feel abuzz. The pang in his chest returned and pulled him towards her, and even seemed to creep up his throat as he walked.

With great difficulty, Takashi swallowed and tried to think of something to say. The only thing that came to mind was that he should greet her by her last name and "hei" in accordance with proper etiquette, but he didn't know her last name. He couldn't remember. He swore he had said it last night, but his head felt sore just trying to recall the details. The space between them continued to shrink, and still he couldn't think.

"Oh," he finally projected out to her. "Hei!"
Gotcha! she thought as her hand snatched the runaway hat from the ground. Stuffing it in a coat pocket to keep it safe she was caught off guard when she heard someone call out 'Hei!' Her body instantly stiffened up as she moved to attention and looked around for who was doing the addressing and who was being addressed. For sure, she thought she was about to catch shit for almost losing her hat. However she didn't spy any superiors who appeared to be cross with her or anyone else for that matter. Finally she turned and saw Takashi standing next to her. The strongest sense of deja vu she had ever experienced before washed over her as she took in his features. Why was he so famili... it hit her like a ton of bricks. The dream, he was the guy in the dream.

Now seriously weirded out she took a deep breath and tried to remain calm as her mind raced with the thought that she was still asleep. That her entire day had been a dream. She quickly went through her memories to check and make sure that she could remember her entire day. Okay I'm probably not still asleep... she thought as she checked off enough facts about her day to ensure a solid recollection of it. As she came to the conclusion that this was indeed real and actually happening she realized that she must of have been staring at him and not saying anything.

Heart pounding in her chest she looked up at his face, her cheeks a rosy pink from the cold or perhaps embarrassment. "Is there something you need help with?" she blurted out in that feminine yet lower pitch of hers before rubbing the back of her neck. "Sorry.. that probably came out a little brusque," she started as she tried to work up the courage for what she really wanted to ask him.

Her brain wracked itself trying to recall information from the "dream," did he have a name? A moment of realization hit her as a flash of their meeting after her broadcast was located within the recesses of her digital mind. Her face got really pink at that point. She could remember talking to him as they walked, and then the grabbing the table but after that it was just bits and pieces. However she knew the dream wasn't a dream at all anymore. It was actually her own memories, "I'm so sorry!" she said in trade before muttering, <"This is so embarrassing"> in Yamataigo. Still she couldn't find the wherewithal to actually ask him if she was the same man from last night, even though she knew in her heart that he was.
For a long time they stared at each other and said nothing. Takashi felt like he should perhaps demonstrate more than a single syllable vocabulary but he was completely at a loss. Under normal circumstances, he would at least be able to follow the formal etiquette he had been so strictly taught. However, when he looked into her eyes his mind simply went blank. Later when he thought back to this moment, he was grateful at least that he no longer felt tired or cold.

"Is there something you need help with?"

Takashi's heart sank, and though he knew he should say something to the effect of "I'm sorry to have disturbed you, I thought you were someone else," the words just caught in his throat with an audible glottal stop. Is this the person I met last night? She seems so familiar to me, but the feeling doesn't seem mutual.

"Sorry.. that probably came out a little brusque," she continued and he felt only slightly better. For a moment, he imagined himself simply turning and walking away. It would be an utterly unforgivable social act, but in all likelihood he would never see her again and it would very effectively remove the both of them from this uncomfortable situation.

"I'm so sorry!"

Noticing that she gave some non-verbal signs of recognizing him now, his heart finally stopped sinking, though he felt no less awkward. Suddenly he realized that he ought to do something with his hands. He put them into his pockets. No, that seems disrespectful, he thought. He hooked his thumbs into the waist of his pants. No, that's worse! He crossed his arms. No, that makes it look like I'm scolding her. Finally, he settled on holding his arms rigidly against his sides, almost standing at a sloppy attention.

<"This is so embarrassing">

Embarrasment, Takashi thought, finally a feeling I understand. Without hesitation, he bowed and spoke.

<"Excuse me. I am being impolite. I am Sonoda Takashi. I'm glad to see you again."> His Yamataigo was fluent and he spoke in the Kyoto dialect, but stressed some words unusually, a habit he had picked up from the science teachers he had spent the most time with growing up. Without pausing, he switched back to the Trade language, in which he had no discernible accent. "I am so happy that we arranged last night to meet here, Kozakura."

Shame washed over him as he referred to her with such familiarity and perhaps let slip a hint at the fact that he couldn't remember her last name. Feeling his cheeks warm, he realized that his own abashment was likely showing in the form of a deep blush. Despite this, he was tentatively pleased with his wording at least, which he hoped would not cause her further embarrassment if she had as much trouble remembering last night as he did. Despite his discomfort, he continued speaking and this time gestured to the building out of which she had just walked, trying to drop another hint about what she had divulged to him last night.

"How was your day at work?"
<"Excuse me. I am being impolite. I am Sonoda Takashi. I'm glad to see you again.">

Kozakura smiled, his name coming back to her as it joined his face, the two together seemingly putting back some of her lost memory.

"I am so happy that we arranged last night to meet here, Kozakura."

"It's nice to meet you once again Sonoda-kun," she replied with the choice to use his family name but, with a more familiar less formal suffix than san or a rank. Speaking of rank he was in the military right? She seemed to remember something about that but couldn't quite place it. Still more of her memory was regained, and she did remember telling him about her work and to wait for her here. Why she had though, she couldn't remember.

"How was your day at work?"

She paused for a moment, looking back to the doors to the building. "It was a hassle," she laughed, "but that's what I get for drinking so much more than I usually do." Looking back to Takashi now she added, "You look kind of cold, do you want to go somewhere warm?"
"Ah," he replied and looked at his hands. They were starkly white from vasoconstriction reducing the flow of blood to his extremities. He touched his thumb to each finger on the same hand, then did the same with the other hand before looking up with a kind of half-grin that he wore when he realized he was doing something foolish. "Not quite numb yet, but it does seem prudent to seek warmth together."

Takashi started to turn but spent another half-second looking at her before he actually looked around, as if afraid she might not be there when he looked back. The area was roughly familiar to him. There was a ventilation exhaust grate down an alley a few blocks away, where he had spent a cold night during his brief foray with homelessness. However, that didn't seem like a very nice place to bring someone who made him feel so excited.

"I'm rather afraid that I am quite useless in matters of places to go or things to do." With this, he paused, tilted his head to one side, then looked into her eyes again with the same half-grin from earlier. "Unless you want to assist me in some biological experiments back at my hotel room."

Takashi was referring to a series of swabs he had taken of various flora in a nearby park which he was planning on streaking across a variety of growth media in Petri dishes with the intention of isolating different microbes.

"But I can't imagine you're interested in that," he continued obliviously. "Do you have anywhere you might suggest?"

"I could really go for some,"
and he hesitated before saying tea. The thought of which dredged up memories of his parents and turned his stomach sour. "Coffee, perhaps?"
"Not quite numb yet, but it does seem prudent to seek warmth together."

"Maybe we should get you some gloves, or pocket warmers." she replied half seriously while watching him observe his hands.

Though when he asked if she wanted assist in some biological experiments back at his hotel room, her first reaction was to get angry and embarrassed. She'd had guys interested in her before, what remotely famous girl doesn't? However all that they'd ever wanted was to try it with someone weird, someone different. For a moment she thought he was just another guy like that, even if his way of asking was more unusual than them. However she'd barely had time to process her gut reaction when he added that she wouldn't be interested. That left her feeling mostly embarrassed. A small part of her wondered how serious he'd been and that left her feeling like she may have judged him too quickly. Her face softened slightly, returning to its normal serious looking resting position.

"There's a café around the corner from here that we could try?" she offered, being rather deferential despite the fact that he seemed to want her to take the lead.
"A café," Takashi repeated with excitement. "Sounds like a great place to get coffee. Lead the way!"

"And maybe we can get gloves afterward. It's useful to have all the feeling in my fingers,"
saying that made him vividly remember touching her antlers last night. He glanced at her and then tucked his hands under his arms. "In general, I mean."

Finally noticing Kozakura's expression, Takashi began to suspect he was being rather dull in terms of company and tried to think of something that he could talk about.

"I'm embarrassed to admit that I spent most of my life here in Kyoto. Well, I guess it was Geshrinopolis when I was born. I was lucky that my family and I were visiting a friend out in the Ice Queen Mountains when it was destroyed. I don't really remember much of that though, I was just a boy. I just remember playing in the stream by Kinoshita-san's house." Takashi felt like he was babbling and suddenly had a flashback to doing the same thing while drunk last night. His cheeks reddened, but then for a moment he was distracted thinking about how he felt drunk again now but he was sure all of the alcohol was out of his system. He shook his head.

"Anyway, my point is: I've been within walking distance of this very spot for most of my life, and have never been to a café before. I basically spent all my time at home or school." Satisfied with wrapping up his rambling, he brought it back to her so he could listen to her talk for a little while. "Did you grow up around here too?"
"Sounds like a great place to get coffee. Lead the way!"

Kozakura nodded and began to walk, she wasn't the biggest fan of the Ypperlig Café but it was very convenient and close. As he spoke about his youth she just smiled, and listened for a time. Those pointed ears of hers picking up everything even as a distracting chill threatened them. She sort of found it mildly amusing that they had a bit of opposite childhoods in that she lived the first few years of her life outside of the city.

"Not at first, though I was born in a hospital within Geshrinopolis as that was the only way for my moms to well, have a child together. Though after I was born they took me back to Kamakura." She paused for a moment, thinking of what to add before saying, "It's a small village to the south of here, a sort of anachronism where everyone works for the community with raising livestock, crops, and making everything themselves. Though after Geshrinopolis was destroyed my parents decided to move into the new Kyoto and help rebuild things but they just sort of never left."

She smiled at that, "I missed playing in the woods, but it was always fun to play with the neighborhood boys. Though admittedly I lost touch with most of them once I started school."
Takashi listened and nodded along as Kozakura spoke. He wondered about the specifics of her mothers carrying her to term, but after a moment of thought decided not to ask about the details. It seemed simple enough to combine the gene sequence of any two animals but Takashi knew that there were always interesting things to learn if one drilled deep enough.

As she described a community working together, he pictured in his mind a village composed of people just like him and his parents where nobody interacted with each other and everyone just worked at home or studied at school. The scene became increasingly bleak as he fast-forwarded through time and watched as nobody took care of the livestock or crops, or repaired anything when it broke. He imagined his parents trying to get ahold of someone to replace a broken piece of clothing, but everyone else in the village ignoring them.

Takashi shook the images from his head and tried again. This time he pictured a village from a movie he had seen. In the movie, a village of peasants was being extorted for the fruits of their labour by bandits, and they had to enlist the help of warriors to protect them. The soon-to-be scientist imagined the village but removed the peasants and warriors. People worked together to produce food that would last them through the next year, at which point the cycle repeated. At first, it seemed boring, but he realized that this too might become more interesting as one zoomed in on the particulars. After a moment's thought, he nodded to himself.

"I have many questions," Takashi warned her but continued into them before giving her a chance to object. His questions came with increased fervour as each one made him realize there was so much he didn't understand, which excited him and led to thinking of more questions. This formed a dangerous feedback loop in his mind. "Was there some kind of hierarchy of command, like in the army? Were some people leaders who would tell each person what they were doing each day? Was there any form of specialization among the labourers? Did you perform any kind of crop rotation? Was someone in charge of calculating livestock herd immunity? How did you preserve your food over the winter? What happened in years of excess? Was there some longer-term method of preserving produce? Perhaps something involving fermentation?"

Takashi began to ask another question but stopped himself. His heart and mind were racing, but he knew he had asked a lot already. In the distance ahead, he saw a plain sign on the pavement with black stenciled text on a white background that read "コーヒー 酒 coffee alcohol" which prompted one final question from Takashi.

"Is that the café?"
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Kozakura simply nodded, when Takashi said he had questions. Many people often did when she spoke of her first home. She did her best to listen and catch what questions she could. Though before she had a chance to answer he pointed out the sign for the café. "That'd be the place," she said with her best efforts at smiling. "It can be a little chaotic inside though, just a fair warning and all."

As they entered inside it wouldn't be that busy just yet, it was after the afternoon the rush and before the night shifters arrived to get their fix before heading to work. Still with the round walk up central bar and no form of a line it might still be difficult to get their orders in.

"As for your questions though um let's see... there wasn't really much of a hierarchy besides a sort of elected mayor. Otherwise it was just sort of like the old folks who delegated work. Hmm and I was pretty young so remembering is sort of hard since it was before I changed bodies.... I think people were generally good at what they did most often so like we had a baker and such. Some of that other stuff I don't really know about, but I know we used to have a lot of jars in a big storehouse."

She rubbed the back of her neck lightly for a moment, feeling a little embarrassed that she couldn't answer more of his questions.
As Kozakura spoke, Takashi silently nodded along and felt a rush of new questions occur to him with every one that she answered. When she finished, he felt strongly compelled to begin a new round of inquiry but managed to stop himself. He watched carefully as she rubbed at her neck and wondered for a moment what the gesture meant. Once again, he gave his half-grin of acknowledged foolishness.

"Perhaps we should go in and order before I continue the interrogation,"
he said with a laugh before he turned to look at their destination.

The Ypperlig Café and Izakaya had a notably unremarkable storefront. Aside from the roughly stenciled sign outside promising coffee and alcohol, there was nothing that demanded attention. As they entered, their eyes immediately fell upon a circular bar directly in front of them with no stools at which to sit. Customers stood nearby to order, then seemed to disappear into the maze of semi-private booths that filled every square meter of floor space that wasn't otherwise occupied by the bar.

A few small groups of people were currently in the process of ordering. Rather than lining up, each person found an empty slice of the bar and spoke their orders to the baristas at the same time. The baristas, without any obvious acknowledgment, performed a sophisticated dance that always seemed to result in an order being filled and a customer disappearing back into the maze of booths.

The café workers were a flurry of movement as they performed highly-technical work involving different machinery that seemed like it was cobbled together from spare parts from other things. One such device had a spherical pressure vessel that might have been intended to store hazardous gaseous or liquid materials but was now welded to a series of pipes that terminated in some mysterious apparatus that allowed the baristas to pull shots of espresso at a record pace. The groups ahead of them quickly dispersed, having had their orders filled, and the baristas hardly seemed to slow down as they transitioned smoothly into performing maintenance tasks on the various machinery.

Takashi was visibly agitated while several people were talking at the same time, but seemed to relax as things quietened down. He stared for a moment in awe, then seemed to realize where he was and walked cautiously up to the bar.

"One coffee, please," Takashi announced with confidence.

These three words caused the baristas to look at each other while continuing their maintenance work until one of them put down what he was doing and walked over. The man who walked over had blue hair shaved quite short on the sides, but left long on top and pulled into a ponytail in the back. He was wearing a red turtleneck sweater.

"You're going to have to be a little more specific," the barista said and pointed to a menu explaining that they served 2 types of beans prepared however the customer wanted.

"How many ways can you prepare coffee?" Takashi inquired, somewhat confused.

"Espresso, drip, pour-over, cafetière, cupping, siphon," the barista started to explain. "We have a funny vacuum press device that's kind of a hybrid approach between the cafetière and a low-pressure espresso. We also have cold brew and Kyoto drip, but those are more popular in the summer. Being as they're cold and all. And that's not to mention what we can do if you want some kind of milk involved."

Takashi blinked slowly for some time as he tried to absorb all the new information.

"What was the first one? Espresso? I guess I'll start by trying that. I'll take 4 espressos in identical cups, 2 of each bean." The barista nodded, then got to work. Takashi turned to Kozakura with a curious look. "What are you getting?
As Takashi ordered just a coffee Kozakura couldn't help but smile, it was a small blunder that many a new member of the SANDRA office had made. Though she wasn't a coffee drinker herself, colleagues often came here for lunch breaks and sometimes dragged her along for quote 'her own good.' Thus had she been party to many a newbie's first time at the café. Though when Takashi changed his order to four espressos with the usage of the two different beans she couldn't help but chuckle slightly. "Experimenting to find out which one you like more?"

When he asked her what she would would be getting she just sort of blushed and said, "a glass of milk."

"That it lass?" a barista that had just finished another order asked as he approached the two of them.

Kozakura nodded before adding, "Unless you have the coco powder for hot chocolate, I'll just have some milk."

The barista nodded and walked off to do his thing. Kozakura meanwhile turned to steal a look up at Takashi though if he happened to glance her way she'd blush lightly and look away for a moment.
"Precisely!" Takashi exclaimed, excited at the opportunity to make an experiment out of trying coffee. The scientist thanked the barista as he produced four espresso-sized disposable cups with cute little paper handles and explained which cups contained which coffee. Takashi pulled a pen from his coat pocket and lifted each cup into the air, labeling the bottom with either a 1 or a 2. Then he turned back to Kozakura and continued. "In fact, I'm curious to know if I can even tell the difference."

By that point, Kozakura's barista had placed in front of her an asymmetric mug that must have been someone's first attempt at making pottery, which had "コーヒーが必要" inexpertly scratched into the clay before it was glazed. On top of that, it looked like the handle had broken off at some point and been repaired by soldering the pieces back together. The contents of the mug were a creamy brown liquid from which a little steam wafted gently.

"I couldnae do it, lass. We dinnae have the powder,"
the barista explained, rolling the "r" sounds in his words. "But we have a chocolate syrup that ah've mixed with yer milk and heated up with the steam wand from the machine."

The barista gestured to the cobbled-together mess of pipes and pressure vessels that looked like it belonged in a scrapyard.

"It's basically a mocha, hold the coffee," the man smiled as he began to dry a wet mug with a towel. "Ah hope it's to yer likin'."

Takashi looked at the hot chocolate with envy.

"That looks lovely. Perhaps I should have conferred with you before ordering," he wondered as he produced a few KS notes from his coat pocket and handed them to her barista with another thank-you. "I'll get this since it was my idea to grab coffee."

With that, he picked up his four tiny cups with both hands and span around. Down one corridor, he saw a curtain that was open.

"I spy an unoccupied booth," he announced and made a gesture towards it with his head before walking over.
Kozakura couldn't help but chuckle at the irony of what was written on the mug versus what was in the mug. Something about it just hit her the right way and she probably looked a bit strange as she just suddenly gave a quick laugh when she saw the mug. After she calmed down through listening to the barista and taking a quick glance towards the machine used to make her drink she replied much more calmly with, "It probably will be, thank you," and a soft smile. However as Takashi moved to pay for her drink her smile grew a bit wider. It was something which she hadn't expected in the slightest, and she saw as a nice gesture.

Following beside the man she eyed the booth in question as he gestured towards it and followed him to it. Taking a seat within she sat towards the middle, but off center towards the inside since she didn't know where he wanted to sit. She wasn't really used to this whole dating thing. Taking a moment to blow on her drink she took a small test sip, and shocker it was hot still. Kozakura quickly swallowed and set the cup down. "That was a lot hotter than I expected..."
Takashi sat down across from her, as the idea of sitting beside her didn't even occur to him. He placed his four cups on the table and pulled the privacy curtain closed. He studied the curtain for a moment. It was just a piece of thin cloth hung from a rail at the top of the booth down to roughly the table's height. Anything below the table was still visible to people outside the booth, but Takashi wondered if it was perhaps to prevent onlookers from knowing exactly who was within or maybe to prevent reading lips? He began to wonder what kind of café this was.

When Kozakura spoke, he looked at her with concern.

"Oh no, are you alright?" He had a sudden but vague recollection of eating something last night with her. It was crispy on the outside and remarkably hot on the inside. Had he been burnt? Without opening his mouth, he explored with the tip of his tongue and found no sore, tender, or numb places. Had she burnt her mouth? He started to remember that he devised a method of breaking open the food and letting the heat out. When his mind inevitably turned to thoughts of her mouth, he became quite distracted and felt himself blush. Focus, he ordered himself, just maintain eye contact and act natural.
Kozakura just chuckled softly, "Mostly, it was pretty hot but I didn't drink much so it was easy to just swallow it." However as she spoke to him she noticed his blush and found that it was slightly contagious. Her own face growing a little pink, she glanced away from him for but a moment as there was nothing to look at. within the now isolated booth. Eyes now returning to him, she searched desperately for something to talk about. "So um, your parents... were they ever in the Star Army?" she asked, not really remembering much of the night prior which was a tad embarrassing for her. Whether they had talked about the subject or not she couldn't exactly remember.
"No," Takashi replied quickly. He was grateful to talk about something that didn't make him feel so warm in the face. Though he suddenly realized that he was still wearing his outdoor jacket and that it probably wasn't helping matters. His fingers fumbled as he tried to unbutton himself a few times before he succeeded, then flailed around a bit as he awkwardly pulled off his jacket from within the confines of the booth. Under his jacket, which was extremely similar but just barely distinct from his uniform jacket, he wore a plain white button-up shirt. Once his jacket was put aside, he unbuttoned his cuffs and folded up his sleeves until they were comfortably above his elbows. Then he seemed to give the question a second thought.

"Actually," he trailed off, his eyes wandering to the corners of the booth where the walls met the ceiling before he met her gaze again. "Now that you mention it, I realize that my parents don't talk about the past much. Certainly never with me. They only ever wanted to talk about my progress and what I was doing to get ahead."

The young soon-to-be-scientist cast his eyes downwards as he recalled meeting with his parents last night. He felt a different kind of warmth rise up within him, and he realized that the warmth he felt when thinking about kissing her was actually quite pleasant even if he wasn't quite comfortable with it. Thinking about his parents and their questions made him angry. He shook his head and inhaled sharply.

"Whenever I overheard them talking with each other, it was usually my father explaining something going on at his work to my mother. I don't think he ever really wanted to have a conversation about it, he just wanted to get things off his mind and she would indulge him. I think that's how she likes to show affection, by listening."

You absolutely need to change the topic, his voice of self-awareness ordered, you're on a date talking to a woman about how your mother listens as a sign of affection.

"Uh," he faltered and scrambled to think of anything else to talk about. "What about your mothers?"
Kozakura felt sort of bad for Takashi as he spoke of his parents and how they only ever asked him about his progress or were busy simply talking at each other. But she also realized that her own parents were radically different from his. "No, they never decided to join but they spent many years in the construction industry after receiving some government sponsored training that was available after the destruction of Geshrinopolis."

She paused, looking down at her eccentric cup of 'hot chocolate.' "I sort of wish that we had spent more time together in my youth but they were always very busy and then before I knew it I lived at school. Still even through it all they were incredibly supportive, if it wasn't for their both their encouragement and their commitment to working I wouldn't have been able to go to the school that I did."

Looking up from her drink now she just smiled at him, "It wasn't all sunshine and roses, in fact they hated it when I modified my body to be the way that it is but we worked it out in the end. Now I can't get them out of my hair, they call all the time worried sick about me."

Now that some more time had passed she took a cautious sip of her drink and simply smiled as the warm liquid no longer burned. Setting her ironic cup back down, she looked into his eyes with a smile before glancing away. "Do you have any siblings? I'm an only child myself."