Title: One Devil or Another
Raen Mars - December 27, 2011 02:18 PM (GMT)
((Monday, December 5th, 3571. Evening.))
Raen hated the mall almost as much as she hated the people who frequented it. Some of them brought their dogs, which was disturbing in and of itself. It was worse that they tended to be shrunk to size, and stuffed into their equally tiny purses as they roamed here and there. If there was nothing else that she liked about her job, it would have been that such people rarely entered her workplace unless they were looking to buy something for someone else.
She pulled another sleeve the size of her palm from the rack, muttering under her breath about how nobody seemed capable of putting things back where they had found them. It was easy to act grumpy, but of course, she enjoyed that she had a job at all. The alternative to sorting the music chips for hours on end was sweeping or wiping off tables - or worse... tending the coffee.
It was probably for the best they didn't serve too many baked goods, or she was certain Ushriya would smell it on her when she went back to the dorm and follow her to work every night thereafter. It wasn't hard to imagine how that would go for her. Her coworkers (shudder) would adore her sister. She'd become one of them and their efforts to gang up on her would finally be a success. The Martian halted, hand frozen in midair as she tried to come up with a name, just any name, of someone she worked with (or even one of the regulars) who wouldn't bother trying to torture her if given the opportunity. None came to mind.
The only upside to work lately was that it was an excellent escape from everything else. She had felt Amina trying to get closer to her at school during the latter half of the week, barely managing to mutter excuses to those around her as she up and dashed away. Scrambling wasn't her strong suit, but she'd done it well enough regardless. She had successfully avoided bumping into the Venusian time and time again.
Not feeling her presence so near for the first time in a week was almost a relief.
She went back to her sorting, little cases on the floor around her as she flipped them around and put them back. Alphabetical order by their language, genre, and artist name. It wasn't that hard, really. Any monkey could have done her job. Considering that she was the one they were paying, Raen could only be thankful for that. "So, are you going to come talk to us, or are you just going to keep on sitting there looking like someone shot your puppy?"
Oh, crap. Violet eyes shot a quick glare to her coworker (and, coincidentally, boss), watching as the Plutonian smirked and raised her hands and wiggled her fingers. "The last one, then? Suit yourself, Raen. We're all over there if you want hugs."
"No thanks," she muttered, looking almost ill as she went back to her work, cross-legged on the floor. Yeah, they were definitely good at making her forget Amina, school, and everything else - by being just that annoying.
Amina Venth - December 28, 2011 06:17 PM (GMT)
There was something to be said about raging headaches, whether they came from a successful study session, an all-nighter sewing for a final project or having an all out-drag-out brawl with past lives until they explained how to block soulbonds. It was a bit more work than the normal 'block off part of the mind and know that the other person just won't go where the block is because they're too polite' way that Minako and Rei had hid presents and surprises from each other. The harder block was actually part of the reason for her headache.
If it got her the results she wanted she wouldn't complain. It was a good thing, her lack of height compared to Raen's lack of height compared to the height of the shelves for music. Meant that if Amina played her cards right, she wouldn't be seen until she wanted to be seen. With the bond blocked and a different perfume - heavier than her normal, even Han admitted he originally hadn't realized it was her - Amina figured she would have enough time to set everything up to her wanting.
Cafe Buzz was about what Amina had expected, from hearing Raen talk about it (the little she talked about it). Better than the picture Raen had portrayed of it, with a decent staff, if not precisely the friendliest bunch, they still got the job done. Amina had to grin at the tongue-lashing the little Saturnian barrista was giving the Uranian in front of her, especially when he finally had enough and just up and kissed her. A teasing memory of Hotaru and Johannes having a similar exchange drifted through her mind, as prompted by Minako. She chuckled at that, deliberately pitching her tone huskier than normal and wagging her right eyebrow at the pair as they sprang apart, blushing. A Plutonian glared at them until the Saturnian yanked her boyfriend away from the counter and off towards the racks. Oh dear. Hope Raen didn't come across them, that would - well, it might spoil the mood Amina was going for, or it might make it even better.
The short Venusian promptly found herself eyes-to-breasts. Oh bloody arrows of Eros,
she muttered to herself before pulling her eyes upwards and meeting appropriately Venusian blue. She pushed a prewritten note across the counter and glared the pink-haired girl to quiet as her familial ring became evident. No squealing and hero-worshiping and ruining her plans, now. Later, sure. She needed an additional model for her final presentation. As it was she would have to try to convince Raen to model some of the same clothing to show how it works on a shorter, less busty body, unless she bit the bullet and took the deducted points to model it herself.
A few additional notes and some sign language got her exactly what she wanted. Amina sighed as she sat down in the little chair in the out-of-the-way corner, the empty plate in front of the second seat screaming for food to be placed on it. Her coffee was good, whatever was in the Rocking Latte would make it worth coming back here even if it wasn't for Raen. A bit of cinnamon, something sort of chocolate, almost maybe raspberry too... it was yummy. Amina absentmindedly licked the foam from her upper lip as she reached into her purse and pulled out the plastic-wrapped package inside. Raen could probably smell it from the minute she pulled off the plastic, but she still wouldn't know it was Amina. Less than a minute later a raw steak was sitting prominently on the open plate and Amina was back to sipping at her Latte.
She'd keep the bond closed and let the smell of the steak do it's work to draw Raen back to her little corner. The owner of Cafe Buzz - the Plutonian, Dura - seemed nice from the notes/sign language Amina had used to talk with her. At least nice enough to let her do this, which made it all worth it, really. Dammit, Raen wasn't getting away from her easy this time.Outfit
Raen Mars - January 11, 2012 07:17 AM (GMT)
It was easier to sit on the floor and just pretend that she didn't hear the sounds of that Saturnian woman bickering with her boyfriend for what had to be the sixth time that week alone. If it hadn't been Monday, it might not have been so bad. Someone chuckled at them and she huffed, rolling her eyes from her place behind the shelves. She was content to stay hidden away, just sit there and pretend that none of this was actually happening.
Of course, things were never quite that easy. Within seconds, her peace was shattered, the goofy-looking Uranian hauling his girlfriend with him as the pair stumbled precariously close to where she was. She stood (sat) her ground for a moment longer before hastily shoving the few music cases she had on the floor beside back onto the shelves as Angaas promptly threw himself onto her coworker. She cringed, immediately disliking the sound of tongue on tongue and lunging straight upwards.
No, nope, definitely not staying there. She shook her head in disgust, pretty sure that she heard the woman in question tell her to lighten up before she and her boyfriend promptly knocked over some of the shelf she had spent so long rearranging. She'd get it later - right then, she simply wanted to escape to another row, or out of the store. Whilst cleaning the bathroom wasn't something Raen tended to make a priority, she was willing to go scrub at the sinks if it meant a moment away from the sounds of them.
She swore under her breath in her native tongue, pondering how the act of 'making out' was even that appealing to people as she began to pick a new area to work in. Didn't they realise how many bacteria they were swapping? They couldn't have, surely... then they might have refrained from - wait.
The Martian stiffened, ears picking up on the telltale sound of a cut of meat being flopped onto a plate just moments before she smelt it. Steak. Someone had brought fresh, raw steak into the café with them. She caught another quick whiff, salivating nearly instantly. But who would be bringing that sort of thing there? She frowned, trying to find some composure as she checked for any signs of Amina. But nothing there smelt like here, and she hadn't heard the Venusian enter. There was no prickling at the back of her neck to warn her that the woman was coming.
Further investigation required.
She drifted for a moment, seeing Dura raise an eyebrow as she hastily snatched a broom from behind the counter, going to sweep around the tables. It wasn't really that necessary. The floors were pretty clean, but she could stand to catch a glimpse of whomever was bringing in fresh meat. She wondered vaguely if they were at all aware there was someone there who could smell it. Maybe they had a Martian friend?
But whomever it was was sitting alone in the shadows at that one pesky table in the back. They'd been meaning to replace the light, but as per normal, had gotten caught up in other things. The place was shadowy enough without one bulb letting go. Frustrated, she took her time, casually sweeping her way closer and allowing violet eyes to roam the steak greedily, drawn to it like it were prey and she a predator. Maybe if it had still been alive. But the fact that it was there didn't sate her curiosity (or, truthfully, her appetite). Why was it there?
Probably the best question she'd come up with that night.
Amina Venth - February 2, 2012 11:42 PM (GMT)
Amina was content to wait, smirking to herself as her Raen grabbed a broom and tried to concentrate on that task while shooting glances at her little table with the not-so-little steak. It was only a matter of time before Raen's curiosity and hunger got the better of her. Much like any sort of lure she would have set to trap one of her siblings during a game, this would take patience. Amina was willing to wait.
Minako was telling her all about her work with Setsuna-chan, at Setsuna's fashion house. She'd have to get together with Esuna, see if the Plutonian had any ideas, wanted to design some pieces for Venth. That could be fun, the two of them working on a sub-line, especially because she did have to show she could collaborate, and didn't feel like working with any of the annoyances in her class. Stuck up pricks, most of them, or those who merely took two-year-old Neptunian styles and rearranged the fabrics to make it 'new'. Ugh.
There was no way to completely create something new in fashion today, but they could at least put in some effort to recreate things, like she was, with taking silhouettes from the 1950s and updating them for the current 3570s fashion-styles. Sheer swinging skirts over pin-up style garments, that sort of thing. Allowed a modest look, if you replaced the sheer skirt with a solid skirt, and worked with any size of bust. Pin-up girls, for all they were famous for their curves, actually weren't that large, especially compared to the current Venusian fashion.
Her work using the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s silhouettes were already selling beautifully, considering she was taking one or two of the classic styles and updating them, not doing everything from each decade. She didn't know if they would be her ticket to fame - or if she really wanted the fame if it came, what with her new life - but they would certainly assure the Venth House fame, which was always good.
She stared in dismay at her now-finished latte, and had to grin as the pink-haired Venusian, Raavaan, she thought she'd said her name was, came up with a freshly brewed one and a slice of what looked to be a delectable chocolate cake.
"On the house," the other Venusian declared, conspicuously leaving two forks.
"Raen, if our guest here wants anything, be sure to tell me, okay?" The secretive twinkle in the other woman's eyes made Amina roll hers. Eeesh. Maybe they were as bad as Raen portrayed them.
Raen Mars - February 2, 2012 11:56 PM (GMT)
This was cruel.
The Martian could think nothing but, it becoming something of her mantra as she swept around the back end of the café/shop. It was cruel, it was sadistic of the other person (if they knew what they were doing), and it was just plain masochistic of her to be hanging about. She could have been doing something, anything else. Should have been, truth be told. But the music was filled with the sounds of the Saturnian and her buffoon of a boyfriend, the counter... no, she just wasn't going to stand back there with the rest of them... and that only really left bathroom duty or the steak-tables.
It was too late, anyway, she reasoned. It was just sitting there, left out in the air for too long for its smell to be anything short of overpowering. Raen cursed her weakness, trying to ignore how Rei chuckled as she worked her way closer, making room for the Venusian who came bustling by. It wasn't totally unusual for them to serve certain tables, quirking an eyebrow, however, as she was given an instruction to basically take care of that one. As in, 'I am going back to the counter, you watch this'.
Buh? She didn't usually... ever talk to customers. Not that Dura hadn't wanted her to... she just wasn't a social creature by nature. The brunette frowned, gripping her broom a little bit tighter as she watched the wad of bubblegum on a very shapely stick that passed for a human being prance back to her original station. "Uh... sure."
She felt compelled to apologise for Raavaan. Compelled meaning sorry that she's making you my business, I swear I had no intention. But the steak called louder, and suddenly, Raavaan had given her a brilliant excuse to talk to the steak-figure. She scooted another step closer, knowing that this was ridiculous. And then another, Rei ducking back into her mind to brood about something else, apparently done having fun at the little brunette's expense.
"Um... can I help you?" That was the usual opening line, right?
Amina Venth - February 3, 2012 12:11 AM (GMT)
She could almost see the cogs turning in Raen's mind as she swept. Oh, this was precious. It was so damn cute, her trying to avoid the steak. Amina kept her giggles mental, sipping at her refreshed latte.
The Venusian set the last bit of her stage deliberately, knowing that Raen wasn't being lured by the cake (in fact she hadn't expected the cake at all - a little alarming, but maybe they were just being friendly. If they'd spiked it, she'd deal with that later). She pulled the cake closer to her, but still left it towards the middle of the table, a fork on her side and on Raen's side.
It was a deliberate move, throwing her hand out senshi-quick to latch around Raen's wrist gently, letting her ring show in the light. Her pocket burned with the box inside it - not that it would get to that stage, probably - and she crooked a smile as she leaned forward towards the light.
"Yes you can help me, sit down and eat this steak before it goes bad. I've missed you. Please?" She looked up into violet eyes beseechingly, letting loose just the slightest bit on her control, letting the very littlest bit of how much she missed Raen show forth.
Raen Mars - February 3, 2012 12:20 AM (GMT)
She had never known her mind to have little red lights and alarms, though every single one seemed to be going off at once, swirling and blaring and demanding that the Martian find a way to escape before it was too late. The hand on her wrist said it already was - trapped. Her flight or fight response had her yearning for the former like a gazelle in front of a lion, though her teeth bared and nostrils flared in typical signs of Martian confrontation as a growl ripped from her then.
How on Earth had Amina managed to hide her scent? Her voice, the way she walked, the way she made her mind light up whenever she came near? There were usually so many warning signs that she practically had the whole day to get out of the way of the incoming Venth, and yet, this time, she had had nothing. No slight inkling that she needed to run, find a place to hide.
In retrospect, it likely should have occurred to Raen that if the other woman was really dedicated to finding her, her workplace would be a natural choice. She couldn't escape it as easily as she could any place on campus, or the park that she knew like the back of her hand. In fact, it was likely the only place that she was so restricted, so trapped.
The real problem in that moment, however, was that she was making eye contact, which meant the brunette couldn't run or look away. Not without relinquishing dominance, and the right to end this conversation as quickly as was possible. Something told her Amina knew as much. "I'm working, Amina," she ground out, heart still pounding with the shock of being grabbed, of being tricked.
The wrong thing to do would be to stay. The nightmares... no. She wasn't going to. She'd get out of this, somehow, even if it was just in the form of her boss coming over and shuffling her off. It would be the only time she'd like her coworkers.
Amina Venth - February 3, 2012 12:45 AM (GMT)
There was a hearty mental chuckle at Raen's surprise. Okay, sure, it was perhaps wrong of her to start up her wannabe-lover's fight-or-flight response, but at least she now knew she was there. Amina kept her eyes on Raen's as she stroked her hand down the Martian's wrist to loosen her grip with that hand on the broom and lace their fingers together to tug her closer to the chair and the steak.
"Dura told me you're due for your half-hour break, Raen. That's all I want, a half-hour of your time. Sit, talk with me, have a steak, then go back to work." She cajoled, running her thumb over the back of Raen's hand. It had to work, if it didn't... if it didn't, she didn't know what she would do. Beyond kidnapping, kidnapping was an option, if it came down to it.
"Please, Fajra?" It was a longshot, that her mental request would help the issue and not harm it further, but it was all she could think of. Yes, she had a plan, but so much of it was fluid, depending on how Raen responded to her initial overtures. She could only hope it would work. It had best work, if it didn't... she would prefer to not need to kidnap her Raen, that would probably just lead to more hurt. She just - she had to be able to talk to her, to understand why she was avoiding her so much. Nightmares were nightmares, memories were memories, they would be better if they worked through them together. Just because Minako and Minu were better with her about that sort of thing didn't mean she slept soundly every night herself.
Raen Mars - February 3, 2012 01:34 AM (GMT)
Damn it! Damn it, damn it, damn it! Dura immediately dropped back onto her list of people she didn't like, swallowing hard as Amina's hand moved to hold hers, broom clattering to the floor beside her instead. She hated the way that everything inside of her seemed to light up just because they were touching, trying to keep it out of her glare. Her fingers curled up around the blonde's deftly, a movement practiced in other lives.
No, no, no. She wasn't allowed to be holding her hand, or maintaining eye contact. Raen squirmed uncomfortably, reluctant to let go because as much as she hated to admit it, she had missed her, too, and reluctant to stay because she knew what this was. That she didn't have a choice occurred to her, violet eyes still staring hard into blue-grey as she felt something inside of her all but demand that she relent. She was fighting a battle she couldn't win.
Not that that was going to stop the Martian from trying. "Fine. Half an hour." Because there was steak, she promised herself. She wasn't going to give up steak. Not that she could even enjoy it, not under circumstances like these. She took the chair without breaking eye contact, still ever-aware that it was the only thing allowing her to keep any control in this as she blindly grabbed at the fork by the steak with her free hand, but not biting as of yet.
"What do you want?" No, it wasn't polite, but polite kind of felt like it had been abandoned before the stalking-her-to-work thing.
Amina Venth - February 3, 2012 02:15 AM (GMT)
Huzzah! Amina kept the grin to her thoughts, small and in that part still blocked away from Raen. So far, so good. She'd have to see about getting Cafe Buzz's beans shipped to Venus for the House, maybe design them official uniforms that were both fashionable and allowed for her Raen to not feel so self-conscious, something.
It was with relief that she watched Raen sit down and reach for the fork, taking comfort in the hand still wrapped in hers. She kept up the eye-contact with ease after all the times she'd done it during childhood, standing up to some of the older boys when they tried to bully the younger ones, to the point of coming to serious blows with a few of them that had been most recently adopted, but their masters hadn't lived on Venus so it had been their first time around the pheremone-laden air. The pair of boys had been forced to breed with their fellow slaves so many times that they didn't know how to properly act around Martian females, and the air was making things even worse. That had not been a fun day, but Tye and Nua had depended on her to save them, so she did. Kif and Mey had borne the scars of her attack until they died, actually in proper relationships with Tye and Nua.
"I have nightmares too, you know." Amina said simply, keeping things slow.
Raen Mars - February 3, 2012 02:50 AM (GMT)
She shouldn't have been surprised that she knew about the nightmares. She woke up screaming or shocked to the point of ripping off her clothing in an attempt to find the battle scars, or shooting down the inexplicable link she had with Amina to make sure that she was still alive. That nobody had been killed, that she wasn't going to have to keep feeling whatever Rei or Ariana had in their moments. The pain wasn't worth it.
The Martian's eyes narrowed, blinking a bit slower for any relief from being stuck staring at the blonde. She didn't need this. She didn't deserve this. She didn't want this, to feel like this because the two things inside of her said that she should. There weren't words for it. It was just... it was just there, nagging.
'Have you considered that any part of this is you?' She stopped, just breathed for a moment in the silence between them, her fork hovering above the meat as she pondered. She had felt this before she had known that Amina was a senshi. Before Amina had been a senshi. Not as powerfully then, no. The butterflies had upgraded themselves several times over since that first, accidental meeting in the park, and the ones that followed. Even after she had known... it hadn't changed the feeling.
Nothing she had done had done anything to make it smaller. It had just grown larger, and like a fool, the brunette had protected it. She'd kept her feelings to herself, minus that one time she had spilled in the hallway and tried to tell Ushriya... but she hadn't ever thought that... ugh.
"In every life," she started, nostrils flaring for a moment with the idea that she had to be careful at the forefront of her mind, "We die. I fail, somehow. You die. It's going to be the same, this time." Raen was quieter than usual, not daring to break eye contact when she felt like she was so close to making her point. "It's not just nightmares. It's knowing that I can't change things. It's... it's Seeing things and not understanding them. And knowing that in the end, you still die."
Amina Venth - February 3, 2012 05:54 AM (GMT)
While the response she was getting was exactly what she had hoped for, it was still words from the normally near-mute Martian. Amina could work with this, could make sure they both came out on top of the situation.
"Everyone dies, Raen." Yes, probably a bit too blunt, but she forged ahead anyway, "It doesn't matter who we are, it doesn't matter what the crystals do to extend our lives. We are still human, ultimately. We will die." She sipped at her latte, licking at the foam that again stuck to her upper lip before continuing to speak.
"Just because you see things doesn't mean they will come true. What you're seeing are possibilities, things that may happen but may not, depending on our actions, our words, who we talk to, even something as simple as oversleeping. They are not set in stone. Yes, it is set in stone that I will die. So will you, so will everyone in this room, so will everyone in the galaxy. Death is a part of life. Just because you see me dying one way doesn't mean I will die like that."
Amina waited a moment to let that sink in before speaking again; it was a lot of information for Raen to get at once, but it needed to be said.
"And you can come to me when you have a nightmare, when you See. I'm not going to abandon you and leave you alone, I'm not going to give up on you. You can talk to me, we can take steps to keep the bad ones from happening, or discuss the good things from the past that you might not dream as easily." She ran her thumb across the back of Raen's hand slowly, continuing their eye-contact.
"Shutting me out won't keep me any safer, but letting me in might." Maybe it was low, but it was true, if she had some idea of potential futures, steps could be taken to prevent them, depending on what was seen.
Raen Mars - February 3, 2012 06:44 AM (GMT)
She didn't like where this was going. Some part of her wanted to check the clock, see if somehow, magically, their half-hour had passed. Not that she had known when it had started anyway, caught in a deadlock, Amina's eyes practically glued to hers. Sometimes, she really wished that the Venusian hadn't had so many Martians in her life. She knew them too well, and Raen was used to having people's ignorance on her side. Were this anyone else, she likely would have won already.
But it wasn't anyone else. It was Amina, like it always was. Like it always had been. She frowned, forcing herself still as the blonde's thumb continued to trace patterns against the back of her hand. Why were they even still holding hands? Why was any of this happening? She pulled back, tried to get her hand back, tried to get some control back in their current situation.
The idea that staying close was an easier method of protection had occurred to the brunette before. It had to have, when considering her options. But there was still... no. She wasn't them. "I can't be around you. It makes it worse," she offered as bluntly as was possible, feeling like a broken record with the underlying message so in the open. "Doesn't it bother you? That... that we keep getting pulled through this?" The living, the dying, the things that happened during the former. Like inevitably finding one another.
But why, why did it even have to be like that? "I'm not Ariana or Rei, you know. I can't be them for you." Couldn't, wouldn't, it was all the same. The Martian frowned, barely keeping eye contact as she struggled to find a reason. "It isn't just Seeing. It's you being you and me being... I don't know." How were you supposed to say that you knew all about how you'd loved someone two lifetimes over, and now you weren't sure if those feelings were yours anymore?
How were you supposed to deal with that notion at all?
Amina Venth - February 20, 2012 12:54 AM (GMT)
She could feel her wanting to pull away, and let it happen. Unwillingly, but she loosened her hold on Raen's hand so that the Martian could pull away if she really did want to. Amina enjoyed the sensation of her love's hand in hers, but didn't want her to feel trapped.
"It bothers me a little," she admitted frankly, using her free hand to stab at and pick up a bite of cake, putting the bite into her mouth and chewing all without looking away from Raen. Part of her laughed at herself - she really had been around her siblings too much.
"All the same, though, there is a reason we're getting pulled through it, and none of us know the reason. I would rather go through it with you than without you, love." She scooped up another bite of cake. Not bad; not particularly impressive, but for a cafe, rather than a bakery, not bad.
It wasn't that she didn't understand where Raen was coming from, or thought the conversation was that boring, that she was instead ruminating on her food. It was just... sometimes thinking of the useless things allowed her true words to spill forth easier, without worry of Minako or Minu accidentally-on-purpose giving their view instead. Admittedly, they were good about not doing that, but there could always be a first time.
"I don't want you to be Ariana or Rei. I'm certainly not Minu or Minako. It's you I fell for, Raen. Do you remember that campus tour you took when you were a senior? I saw you then, and had already decided that if you came to TelU, I would try to seek you out. The fact that we managed to meet before that was just as much a surprise to me as it was to you. But it's always been you, no matter what, you and just you. If you forgot everything about your past lives, or if you weren't theirs, you would still be mine. I love you, Raen. I don't love Ariana or Rei. You." It hadn't quite been what Amina meant to say, it addressed nothing of Raen's concerns, but it... it was the truth. Chocolate cake could work miracles.
Raen Mars - February 20, 2012 01:29 AM (GMT)
Her hand retreated, fingers dancing along the edge of the plate holding the ever-present steak in an effort to distract herself just enough. It was taking an abnormal amount of self-control to keep her from devouring it, if only because it was a trap steak. She grimaced a bit, both of her hands pulling onto her lap instead as she desperately wished that it had been a half an hour already.
The brunette squirmed once, and then stilled, trying not to seem half as shocked as she sat through the Venusian's story about how they'd apparently (sort of) met over a year ago. "But without us being... us, who's to say it would be this way?" she tried, still vainly trying to get over the fact that every fibre of her being just wanted her to eat the steak and go back to Amina's apartment for the night. Even if it meant nightmares, or things that she didn't want to see. She guessed that was a pretty usual feeling, given the situation. It had to be.
"It feels like I don't have a choice. I want to have a choice," she lamented, grateful that her hands were under the table as she felt them ball into fists in her lap. "Does it even matter? If I love you and you love me, but we're not... us..." She trailed off, headache impending as she begged for some kind of distraction that could get her out of this situation for good.
As if on cue, there was a clatter from back at the counter, Raen momentarily forgetting that she was currently locked in a staredown as she winced, curling in on herself as she shot a quick glance over her shoulder, then hurriedly tried to refocus on Amina's eyes. Maybe she had broken eye contact over that as well? She could only hope. She wasn't ready or willing to back down. "My break's done." Close enough, anyway.
Amina Venth - February 20, 2012 01:57 AM (GMT)
She got right to the point, avoiding any skirting around the bush. Blunt was her middle name, after swearing. Or maybe before swearing. Regardless.
"Does it matter? We were friends, good friends, or on our way to getting there when you went away for the summer. Things would be different, certainly, but we would still be us. We may not be having this conversation, but we'd still be talking, I'm sure you'd still be staying over the apartment."
Amina paused for just a moment, then kept right on talking. Sure, she was probably steamrolling her love right now, but it was what she needed to hear.
"You have a choice. I'm grateful that your choice includes loving me, but think on it like this. Fate, or what have you, couldn't determine who your mother was, what happened to her or what happened to you or what family you were fostered by. Fate couldn't determine what parents I was born to, the life I was given, nor could it to you or anyone else. The additional 'us' of us is just that, additional. It adds to what we are, it doesn't shape what we are or who we are, or define us. It can't."
Amina had seen the awkwardly stacked plates out of the corner of her vision, so she wasn't surprised when there was a loud clatter. She sat back slightly anyway, giving into the urge and pulling the box that wished to burn a hole through her purse out. She didn't say anything about it, just set it on the table.
"At least eat the steak before you go, Raen. I'm sorry I used it like I did, but I was running out of ways to get your attention." She made no mention of the fact that there were at least ten minutes left to Raen's break. Better to let her love leave now, she supposed. She could always track her down again, if it came to that.
Raen Mars - February 20, 2012 02:22 AM (GMT)
Why was she fighting about this? She didn't understand. It didn't make any sense. Amina seemed like she understood one second, and then like she didn't the next. Or maybe she did, but she wasn't willing to accept the truth? Regardless, it left her with little to say or do that she hadn't already tried. The Martian frowned, brow furrowing as she tried to come up with some way of putting it that sounded half as put-together as the rebuttals being tossed her way.
She paused, inhaling without letting it go for a moment as she tried to see if maybe that was something that would help her headache. The idea fell short, as had her others thus far. "How can you be sure?" she tried, not moving in spite of her earlier declaration that her break was over. In spite of the fact that there was nothing to actually, physically stop her anymore.
Raen cursed herself then, for wanting to stay. She had told herself that this was going to go away, with time apart. At the very least, her nightmares would stay away as well.
But what was it worth when it wasn't working? Michaela and Ushriya seemed to bring the dreams all the same, with the occasional waking nightmare to push her so far out of her mind in class that she couldn't do anything but groan and hold her head in her hands. If she was anything but a Martian, she'd likely have garnered a few more strange looks than she already had.
She couldn't deny that she wanted the steak, though, her stomach bursting into a growl louder than she might have been verbally capable of at the mention of it (she was pretty sure she heard someone laugh about it, but she could deal with that later). Violet eyes drifted over to the box being placed on the table instead, cautiously picking up her fork in her left hand as she eyed it like it was another trap still, her gaze shooting between it and Amina as she gave up on staring her down anymore. In her mind, she had already won this, somehow. "What's that?" Minus the part where she was still too curious. She could have used her so-called gift to pry into the blonde's mind, figure things out for herself, but...
Well, it was probably easier to distance herself from anything involving that. Anything that could possibly make her See, she wanted no part of.
Amina Venth - February 20, 2012 07:53 PM (GMT)
Amina bit at her lip, thinking abstractly about chocolate cake and sweet-tasting lattes and maybe a red dress or shirt with various sleeve-lengths and a nice black jean, similar to what the basic uniform was now, but somehow... gussied up. Not too impractical for being around hot beverages, but something a little nicer, with a little more edge, than what was the uniform now. Something more fitting to what the cafe sold, music and coffee, not just coffee.
She heard Raen's question and pondered it as well, finding somewhere between the rejection of a black-with-red-piping shirt and the contemplation of a red-with-black-piping that she had her answer.
"I can't be entirely positive, no one can about everything, even you, with what you See. Things can change, and it's not like Fate is a person we can just walk up to and ask questions. But what I do know is that neither of them would have punched Khonsu, neither of them would be able to hide like I did from you. They aren't me. I am Amina Talutah Venth, not them."
The Venusian steeled herself, answering Raen's second question as she went on; it was the only way she could get it out.
"You are Raen Mars, you are not either of them. It is Raen Mars I ask, then, as Amina Venth, if she would accept these gifts." She opened the box slowly, to show the gold-heart navel ring and the...other ring nestled within.
She wouldn't, she couldn't, say that what she was doing was as good as a marriage proposal. Not yet.
Raen Mars - February 20, 2012 08:15 PM (GMT)
She didn't understand why Rei and Ariana seemed so amused - and amused was a term she used lightly, particularly in the case of the latter. She couldn't help that they were witness to all of this. They were as much a part of her as her planet was, something that was meant to shape and define her, at least to other people. But she supposed there was more than a kernel of truth in what was being said, with the Martian Queen who lived in her mind confirming that, no, her Minu never would have punched Artemis. Something about protocol.
It should have been simple to realise, really. Had she let Mars define her? If not, then why would she have let them, after only having formally known them for a little over two months? Raen frowned. She wanted to be able to think on it, she wanted time to do more than poke at the offered steak with her fork and tried to ignore the way her stomach was twisting and knotting through Amina's speech.
Rei faded, quieted to the point where she was less than a whisper, she was gone. The brunette almost panicked, looking for her, before Ariana followed in a puff of smoke, making her exit a bit more noticeable as if she thought it might startle her less.
Violet eyes raked over the gold heart first. Since her first transformation to Sailor Mars, she'd had to become rather well-acquainted with body jewellery. Though, little of what she had was actually hers. It was easy to assume that the Venusian just wanted her to stop borrowing, that she was trying to provide some alternative. It didn't explain the other ring.
Gifts, they were being called. She stared at both intently, finally taking a bite of steak and chewing, rolling the taste of raw meat around her tongue before swallowing. She thought better on a sated stomach than a totally empty one, anyway. What was the harm in saying yes? If... if half of what was being said was true, it couldn't hurt. It couldn't hurt as much as avoiding her and having to suffer for it just the same. "I... yeah. O-okay. Thank you?" That seemed about right, and with no sounds of protest or approval in her mind, it was a decision Raen could say she had made on her own.
Amina Venth - February 21, 2012 01:52 AM (GMT)
She hadn't realized she was holding her breath. Amina smiled and let it out slowly, so not to make it obvious that she had been. She'd said yes. Admittedly, it hadn't been an outright yes but neither had it been in any way an outright will you marry me? so it could be excused. If Raen wanted to bring her up on coercion charges later, she could, Amina didn't care.
The Venusian carefully monitored herself, making sure her smile wasn't too wide, hoping her eyes weren't too bright - the best she could do, really - not wanting to tip off by her breathing or her expression that they were more than just gifts.
"You're very welcome." She took another bite of cake and sipped again at her lukewarm latte, discovering that the two did work quite well together.
"They're yours now, for as long as you want them. Do you want me to bring them back to the apartment with me, or?" Amina let the question hang, having a little more of her cake. The ritual phrase, the one that really mattered in her culture, had been said. Minu and Minako were throwing a quiet party in the back of her mind, but still they waited. It didn't matter if she took them now or later, beyond as a salve to Amina's pride.
She knew she had chosen well for the ring. Since she was the first of her immediate family to choose a lifepartner, she had needed to design it herself, there was no standard ring. Like all spousal-rings, it was only a single-finger ring, not a double-finger, so she'd modified the two spikes to face outside, not up. Yes, she was sure there were those that would dislike the sight of a Martian wearing anything spiky, but there could be no damage done with the spikes in the arrangement they were in. She'd shrunk the emerald, so that it didn't overpower the ring, made it small and round, so as to make it representative of a planet, not necessarily Earth or Mars, so that her brothers and sisters could use the same ring, regardless of who their lifepartner was, what planet they came from (if they even chose one). The black enamel covering the rest of the top of the ring was to represent space. The main metal was rose-gold, like her own ring, like her siblings' rings, for as always color gave the clearest sign of which family. She'd managed to make the emerald stand out far from the body of the ring, so that even if the spikes couldn't be weaponized, it would still hurt to get hit with if someone punched.
Raen Mars - February 21, 2012 04:56 AM (GMT)
Well, she seemed... happy. It was a stark contrast to the nothingness in her mind as she tried one last time, in vain, to see what Rei or Ariana thought of this. Perhaps it hadn't been so much that they had been forcing themselves on her as it had been that she had been seeking them out for their opinions. They were both quick to answer things when asked, in their own way. Their answers were oftentimes vague, but it was something.
Some part of her recognised that being given a ring shortly after someone confessed that they loved you wasn't exactly just some gift. But she was willing to assume that Amina only meant what she said she did. Gifts.
Minus the part where they looked really expensive. She almost felt bad for accepting, but some part of her knew refusing would have been worse. She wondered vaguely if any of this would have happened if she hadn't tried to avoid fate. The only times she had actively attempted to pursue a normal life, this one had found her. Generally violently, she reminded herself, thinking back to Khonsu's fairly deliberate attempt on her life back in September with a short grimace.
"I can probably wear the ring now... um, the other... kind of need to be in private... to change..." No way was she ripping up her shirt and doing it right there. The Martian spared a glance back towards the counter, where there was... something not sanitary and not entirely "rated PG" happening. She might have groaned, were she not so used to it already. "I could just leave here and go back with you, though," she offered, not keen to answer to the ones she caught shooting her the occasional questioning glance.
They'd probably give her the night off if she played it right, but she liked having money. Besides, she was probably going to have to buy Amina something in return. "Dura will probably let me go." Not because she was anxious to make up for a week's worth of lost time. Just because she wanted out of work. Right.
Amina Venth - February 28, 2012 03:10 PM (GMT)
Raen wanted to wear them! She wanted to wear them, she'd completely accepted them... she'd heart the ritualistic phrase, that they were hers for as long as she wished them. Divorces were quick things on Venus if a couple was only married by ritual, not by Regime law. That was, she admitted, half the point in how the ritual marriages were set out. They would last as long as each partner decided, ended whenever on account of one or another in the marriage wanting out. Things became a bit trickier if there were children involved. Even if there was so much child-sex-slavery and just child-slavery in general on the planet, they were still integral parts of the family unit, and ritual marriages were made all the harder if one of the spouses got pregnant. Even in homosexual couples, a child involved made the ritual of leaving take more steps than just returning the ring.
Amina didn't know those steps by heart, but as she had no plans of ever leaving this marriage, they didn't matter. She just sat there, knowing she had a secretive little smile on her face as Dura came over before Raen even had to leave, brushing aside the Martian's concern about her pay with a blunt "Fa is still getting paid when she sucks face with Angaas, I can damn well pay you when you're at home." The Venusian tossed back the rest of her latte, gathered her bag and coat while Raen skittered off to get hers from the back, and had no qualms about forcefully looping her arm through Raen's as they walked, taking pleasure in the ring glinting from her new wife's right hand. It was good, it was right, and once she saw the gold ensconced in Raen's navel, it would be absolutely perfect.
The navel ring would mark her on a secondary level, for even those in ritual marriages would stray on Venus, it was regarded as "just a marriage". The navel ring marked Raen, as it marked her herself, as officially only for one, that the vows were sacred, her heart and body were given to one person alone, there were to be no others. This unwritten law, much like that of treating right the prostitutes and whores, even those with gemstones denoting certain actions, were strictly held. There was a different breed of justice that happened for breaking those laws; it was not Regime-driven, but purely Venusian. She'd taken great joy in giving that Uranian bastard whatfor after Oletta had told her what had happened this summer. Great pleasure indeed.
She covered up the wave of possessiveness that rode through her on arrival home - Raen had promptly ripped her shirt up to replace her navel ring - by walking into the kitchen and putting a bag of popcorn in the micro, then yanking a steak out of the fridge. Maybe she could convince Raen to watch a movie with her, even attempt to cuddle. The cuddling probably wouldn't happen, but at least they'd enjoy a movie, Amina hoped.