RP [Serenity] Doki-Doki Channel!

UmbraSight

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A cool wind rolled through the streets, cutting through the haze of heat which clung close to the concrete, humid and thick. The city was slower here, the passing faces only sometimes stopping for a picture, though usually they hurried on moving to the parts of the city which hit their stride only after the sky bled black and the sun lingered on only in the sticky hot air that never quite cooled before the next morning arrived.

Shinju’s jewelry jingled as she walked, checking building numbers as she ducked down the odd narrow alleyways of the old city. The address for the cafe (bar? She hadn’t really gotten a clear idea on which it was online) was on a slip of paper she had tucked between her knuckles as she walked. Hard to say if her new partner would be there already or not, some people liked to arrive just on time, some very early, and some, like Shinju herself, were running about ten minutes late.

The cafe sat under a pair of reddish-yellow streetlights, a neon ‘Open’ sign buzzing faintly. It was down a set of stairs, sunken windows peeking out where the wall of the building met the street. Shinju made her way down at a reasonable hurry, the door below ringing as she pulled it open and took a step inside. She took a look around, a long bar ran along the back wall while small tables sat under the small windows, where a few couples sat sipping drinks. Shinju sorted through the scattered faces, trying to pick out one that looked like the DDC issued ID photo that had been on Moonlight’s file.
 
A faint buzz, a dim light radiating from a dying device. Those were the only things that disturbed the faux tranquility that blanketed the room in the early morning; a room devoided of light, quiet save for the occasional gasp from a heap on the floor. The gentle chattler of plastic and hardwood was answered by a gentle shift of fabric, a hand emerging from the folds of the blankets.

After a small series of blindly patting the floor, the phone was dragged over to the caccoon unceremoniously, and for a few moments there was stillness. A weight settled on queasy limbs, the silence rang loudly, filled with non-existant words; fears and anxiety not entirely her own, each one drowning out the next. What if it was the manager, about some sort of mandatory event? What if it was her parents? What if it was a stranger, or a stalker, and they found out who Moonlight was, and messaged her out of disappointed? Or what if it was just a game notification, or a video notification? Some sort of notification that reminded her that other than Moonlight, she didn't matter.

The hand that rested on the phone slowly retracted into the safety of the blankets. What if it's important? What if it's nothing? She couldn't bring herself to look when everything was so loud in the deafening silence. It isn't hard, just turn on the screen, enter the pin, and check the notification bar. It's not hard.

And yet, hours pass before a will finds it's way into clumsy hands, having gone to reposition on the floor which resulted in rolling onto the hard object. Fishing the forgotten device out from beneath the cloth, Arisa stared at the object in silence. After struggling and failing to remember why the object was where it was, she tested the power button to no result. Dead. It needs charged.

Up. She needed to get up so she could put the phone on the charger. But her room felt so far away, and the floor was right there. Even with an insentive, she had no will or energy to proceed with the self-given task at hand. She should get up and charge it. It's not hard. Just stand up, walk to the room, sit on the bed, and follow along the headboard for the tied cord. It isn't hard, and yet the bundle remained where it was.

A few more hours pass before she gradually gravitates towards her room, placing her phone on the charger as she curls up on the bed. Time didn't mean anything within a place where no sunlight shone, windows heavily blocked by curtains and duct tape; a feable attempt to keep her sanity in tact. She made songs at home, after all, and declined as many in-person events as she was allowed, and then some when it was too much.

Once her phone was charged enough, she turned it on to review the lyrics she had written prior to falling asleep on the living room floor. Before she could open her notes app, however, she noticed the passing red dot attached to the Messager icon. After a long staring contest, and unable to find out the contents of the text past "Arisa, ..." from her manager, she caved and opened the chat log.

"Arisa,

Your partner, the one that was assigned to you that you keep avoiding? She has requested to meet with you at 20:00. This meet-up is considered mandatory, so there will be consequences for a no-show."

Panic started to swell in her chest painfully, settling like a pit that attached her to the bed. 'Mandatory' and 'Consequences' sparked an uproar that drowned out her own thoughts, and glancing at the time made everything worse. 20:23. Late. She was late for something she had to do, or there would be reprocussions. If she went, would her partner be angry? Would they yell? What if she already left? What if she was still waiting?

With each worry, the pit grew heavier and heavier, as if becoming restrained to the mattress below with no strength to fight back. The address following the message was two right turns away from her self-made containment. A 3 minute walk, with no reason to be late other than... for what reason? Laziness, that must be it. Tired and lazy. The same reason she avoided gatherings and live events. They were reasons that made sense to others, ones that everyone experiences from time to time. Things that were easy to fathom.

20:32. Time continued forward as Arisa stayed rooted in place, paralyzed by the yelling that wasn't there. She wanted to disappear, to hide in her own space, so maybe she can cover her ears to block out some of the sound that filled her head, but she couldn't afford to do that, could she? She had to go, where people could stare and judge, and if they found out she was under DDC.

DDC. Right. The same way she acquired these additions also helped quiet them when in effect. Maybe if she went as Moonlight, she would be fine. She wouldn't have to worry about disappointing everyone because of how she is as herself - a hikkomori. And if there were any Grimm, she could take care of it, and it wouldn't be this loud.

With a slow inhale, she closed her eyes and tried to force past the noise that filled her head, conjuring up an image of long, platinum hair and grey eyes standing before her. Arisa reached out her hands as the image grasped them in return, leaning down and letting their foreheads touch. With a slow exhale, the two pushed against each other, and merged with a gentle flash of light.

A tainted version of the image took Arisa's place, the platinum blonde fading to black while the edges of the sky blue dress shifted to a dirtied blue. Two rings of light floated around her wrists as a swirl of light laid suspended from the side of her head.

A sigh of relief escaped Moonlight as the previous noise grew distant, granting some relief from the anxiety and panic it caused as a byproduct. Heading to the closet, she shifted some items around before grabbing a sizable cloak and throwing it over to try and make the light rings less noticable. It was what the cloak was for, after all, as she patrolled.

Looking at the time on her phone once more showed 20:39, resulting in another sigh as she placed the phone back on the charger, heading out to the establishment nearby. Following down the familiar stairs, dodging a leaving couple, she ducked into the building entrance as quietly as the little bell above her head allowed. She glanced around the cafe in silence, unsure if the person she was meeting would still be here or if they left long ago.
 
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t took two scans of the room, and one awkward conversation with the girl working the bar to arrive at the conclusion that she had… arrived first. It certainly wasn’t the first time this had happened, or the second, or the third, but still, she had arrived late, so perhaps Moonlight had also gotten caught up? Right, it was best to try to stay optimistic about these sorts of things, wasn’t it?

Maybe that’s why Shinju found herself at a corner table next to a window, or perhaps it was just she knew that she could bill her coffee to the company and wasn’t one to say no to a free pick me up. Maybe she’d even push her luck for a fried snack, surely the DDC could spare a few thousand yen. What were these partner meet and greets anyway but an elaborate way to make the company buy you dinner. If she was going for it, maybe she should get Aoi something to go as well.

If anyone asked she could say she bought it for her partner or something.

Shinju turned to catch the eye of the girl behind the bar when she had her own attention caught by the sound of the door opening. A woman bundled up poked her way through the door as a couple left. Shinju caught her eye as the woman peeked around the room, and she lifted a hand to give the woman a wave.

Over here, Miss!” Shinju called, with a cheerful smile.
 
With the aided call out, Moonlight's attention drifted over to the raised hand. Noticing that it wasn't to the staff, but to her, she ducked her head slightly in acknowledgement before making her way over to the corner table.

Grey eyes scanned the womans face momentarly before dropping them towards the table. For someone who waited almost an hour for her, she didn't look angry or upset, much to Moonlight's surprise. Another voice whispered that the stranger was probably able to hide such an expression. Once standing on the other side of the table, she bowed deeply in apology before sitting down, hands keeping her cloak tightly closed from inside the cloth.

"I'm sorry for being so late. I had lost track of time, though that's hardly any excuse." Moonlight apologized, giving a smile of her own. It didn't match Shinju's in energy; more of a stiff, small smile that you would give out of politeness. Though they were regarded as partners on paper, in reality they were no more than strangers due to Arisa's constant no-show and avoidance tendancies.
 
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