Closed RP Please Don’t Steel

This RP is currently closed.


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It was an oddly quaint experience wandering the aisles of a physical store. Nat spent more money in online transactions than he cared to admit, but it was a rare occasion for him to visit any sort of physical location beyond his near daily visits to VULTURE and the occasional trip to Joe’s Arcade. Even more unlikely he found himself thumbing through racks of clothing, the higher end of retail with an entire store dedicated to… whatever kind of style they claimed it to be.

Nat supposed it was likely the popular style, but he really couldn’t tell. There were plenty of other people his age wandering about, so he had assumed it would be safe to shop there. He wanted to look casual, on that Wednesday he was so anxiously awaiting, but he had no idea how he was supposed to look casual and impressive at the same time. Steve said he had to get something cool, something stylish.

And so he thumbed, eyes wide at the sheer volume of thread that passed in front of his eyes. Some of the clothes seemed ridiculous; brightly colored and flamboyant with throwback features to earlier generations. Other clothes were simple and hardly indistinguishable from what you could find in your general retail store aside from their price tags. He had already looked through three other racks of clothing, the expression of defeat written on his face deeper for every option.

It was an act of desperation when he grabbed a silky red shirt and a pair of black pants with tight legs and a lot of apparently pointless zippers. His frantic eyes searched the customers nearby, and settled upon the nearest girl. His approach was just as frenzied, a quick shuffle bringing him alarmingly to her side as he held up the random choices in his hands.

”Please, help me!” If he had heard someone so desperately pleading on the streets Nat’s mask would have instantly found his face, but he was the one crying out and the girl he begged wasn’t likely to whip out a mask of her own. ”I have no idea what Im doing!”

Was he talking to her?

Mina looked over her shoulder. There wasn't anyone behind her. There were other people in the store, some of whom probably even worked here. She didn't work here, but, like... at some point you had to be a decent human being, right? Not that she was. She was a supervillain on the inside. Well, kinda. But on the outside she was just Mina Claret, high school student and... she also had no idea what she was doing, but she had a better idea than that. She turned back to the boy - she was talking to a boy? Well, she wasn't yet, but she was about to be. There wasn't anything wrong with boys, it was the talking that was the problem. Mina wasn't bad at talking. Mina was great at talking. It was stopping that was generally the issue.

"Um, are you going to be cosplaying as a JRPG hero?" Yep, there was that talking. "Because if you are that's, like, spot on. Maybe with a few extra egregious belts somewhere? You could put one around your bicep." She wasn't sure where the bicep was. Was that the upper arm? She didn't think so? Maybe it was?

Really, she should know this, she worked in a gym. Except she worked as a janitor and, like, sometimes the front desk, and her job was more "you got what on the treadmill?" and "did you have your membership card?" Biceps didn't factor into it.

The point of this diversion was that he was probably going to need a really small belt, and she didn't know if they made them that small. "Not that I'm judging- I mean, I'm totally judging, actually, why did I say that? But it's fine! It's fine if you want to be a JRPG hero! In your offtime! Or in your main time, I don't judge - no, wait, I just did, I- Look, let's forget I said any of that. Please. Um. Maybe you should think about something a little less... um. A little less. Maybe blue jeans? They go with everything. Except that shirt. Please put that shirt back, it is not you. I don't think it's anyone. Actually, no, I know one guy. Who would wear that outfit. Oh god. Please put it back and find the blue jeans."

It was just gratifying to have his cry for help acknowledged. Nat blinked at the rapid response, blinked at the clothes he held, at the girl who spoke honestly, if not favorably, of her opinion on what he had chosen. He found himself nodding, studying the shirt and pants as she continued rattling on. She was right, it was extremely outlandish, though he could think of someone who might find it to their tastes. Though he put the shirt and pants on the rack next to him he made a mental note of their location. Mr. Kosuke could probably use a pick-me-up.

”That- that’s sound advice.” Nat pulled a pair of the suggested pants out, a frown coloring his expression as he saw all of the rips and tears. ”Is this the thrift section?” Nat looked at the price and scoffed audibly. ” I’m sorry, what?” Who would buy jeans that were already worn out?

”Oh, right I’m being rude. Thank you, so much. I’m Nat.” He held his hand out toward the girl, a slight warmth rising to his face as he realized he was holding the ripped jeans out. ”I don’t really… shop, ya know? I just wear whatever. Honestly most of my clothes were given to me by a friend.” Steven wasn’t exactly a social pariah, but his clothes were never a topic of conversation. ”Ive got a date, or something like it. I don’t know, I want to look nice but…”

Nat’s face fell with the pants as he lowered them, his obvious distress dragging down his usual exuberance and humor. ”I know you don’t know me, but could you help me pick something that a girl would like? I mean, you’re a girl and…” Nat snapped his mouth closed before he could make the conversation any more awkward, though he was the one who initiated the discomfort.
What kind of person didn't know what distressed jeans were? Obviously this guy, but... he sounded like her mom. The whole I am not paying for something that's already worn out conversation was one you were supposed to have with your parents, not with your peers. But if ripped jeans weren't his thing, then ripped jeans weren't his thing.

Mina was wearing ripped jeans, and suddenly felt self-conscious about it, which was stupid, because everyone wore them. She was also wearing a T-shirt with a very obscure band on it, and a red hoodie that covered most of the T-shirt. "Hi, Nat?" That was supposed to be a statement, but it had come out as a question. "I'm Mina?" Also, meant to be a statement. Maybe it was just that this whole thing was confusing.

He mentioned a date, and she relaxed. That was good. Mina had enough weird people trying to hit on her at work that she was, like, so not interested. At least Nat wasn't like, 40. People were gross.

"Ohhkay..." What was she getting herself into? "So the first thing is that you're a girl and bit? Never say that bit. That's the bit you keep in your head. And second? It depends on the girl, I don't know what some other girl's gonna like. Maybe she likes JRPG heroes. Maybe she likes ripped jeans. But... we can probably find you some decent clean blue jeans, I guess. And a T-shirt that you like, because that says a little about you. And a hoodie over the T-shirt, because you don't wanna say too much."

Hey, it worked for her, right?
With cheeks flushed Nat chuckled awkwardly, shoving the ripped jeans back onto the rack without offering his hand again. He could tell he was off to a bad start, not only in shopping but in his impression. This Mina was no acquaintance of his, and already within the first few seconds of meeting her he had managed to be both awkward and off-putting.

”Nice to meet you, Mina?” the way he spoke her name was a perfect reflection of her own intonation, the nervousness in the interaction tangible on her side as much as it was his. Nat busied himself thumbing through the clothes while he racked his brain for a way to rectify his social ineptitude.

”Do you go to school around here?” He kept his eyes on the clothing, though the interest in his voice was evident. He didn’t recall seeing her around his own school, though he wasn’t friends with the entire student body. What a coincidence it would be if Mina happened to attend the same school he did.

Without preamble he turned back to the girl, a shirt held over his torso with a picture of a ship apparently made of pepperoni pizza. In bold white letters the word “DREAMBOAT” was emblazoned above the image. ”Too silly?”

He had decided to work his way through her suggestions from top to bottom, partially because he had struck out on two attempts to find pants already. ”I really do appreciate your advice. I have a friend who gives me advice all of the time, but his isn’t as sound I’m afraid.” He could practically hear Steve’s voice in his ear now, encouraging him to flirt with a total stranger simply because of her gender. Steve was an encyclopedia of bad ideas, and Nat was often pressed to do the exact opposite of his suggestions simply to avoid a world of drama.

Wow, this was awkward. Mina was delighted. Usually it was only her who was awkward, so having someone else who was just as awkward as she was was kind of refreshing. She probably shouldn't have been relieved, but she totally was. Oh, well.

The shirt he picked out was ridiculous. Mina shrugged. "I dunno. I mean, there's some people who could make that work - I can definitely think of a person who would wear that, although they wouldn't be able to see what it said, so maybe they wouldn't? Or maybe someone would tell them and then they would pretend they didn't know when someone asked them about it - oh, God, they would totally do that. Um. Anyway. The point is, it could work if it's you, but I don't know if it's you. You don't strike me as silly. Sorry. You could be, if you wanted to be? With some effort. But I think maybe work up to it."

The comment on advice was so familiar, and yet so very not. "Oh. I have lots of people who give me great advice. I have so much great advice. I could be so responsible, like, all the time. I have all the tools I need to do it! Yay!" Mina did not sound like she really thought this was a yay situation, more like she felt it was expected to be and was just rolling with it. "Honestly I could use more bad advice. Maybe I should meet your friend Steve. I'm at North Central High, by the way. Go Tigers. I don't actually like tigers that much. It seems like every school is the Tigers or something. I wish we had a more interesting mascot. Like a nudibranch. Did you know they breathe through their butts?"