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[13:59] <Hideki> Date night~
[14:04] <Hideki> The agreed upon departure time was 8 in the evening. Nevertheless, Hideki had emerged from his room early and was now lounging around the dorm's, er, lounge. Gone was his school uniform! In its place he wore a brown t-shirt, a pair of jeans, and a dapper blue blazer. Presently, he was fiddling around with his normal phone, with his feet propped up on a coffee table. -
[14:11] <Hideki> Things since the appearence of the black hatted man had been… not great, but not bad either. Mostly, it had involved a lot of very awkward and delicate conversations between him and Ji-Hu, and sometimes one or two of the other dorm residents. This would probably be an opportunity for a few more of those. Still, it could have been worse, though, right?
[14:27] <Minaplo> [Well, Ji-Hu wasn't dead, so sure.-
[14:28] <Minaplo> [Speaking of which, she now emerged, wearing a light pink sundress over which she'd thrown a red silk jacket.-
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["Sooo. What is it tonight?"]
[14:32] <Hideki> "A movie!" Hideki announced, hopping cheerfully to his feet. "Followed by a romantic stroll in the park."
[14:33] <Minaplo> ["Oho, I see. And what movie is this?"]
[14:34] <Hideki> "The mysterious Dorian Gray~"
[14:45] <Minaplo> ["Wait. Isn't that your Persona?"]
[14:47] <Hideki> "Well, yeah," he admitted with a little grin. "I'm curious to see how he looks in the movie. And since you know about all this stuff now, I figured it'd be good if we both saw it!"
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["Hmm… Yeah, I was talking with Sachiko about this kind of thing."]
[14:56] <Hideki> "About movies…?"
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["Personas."]
[15:09] <Hideki> "Oh. Right! She gave you the basic rundown, then?"
[15:09] <Minaplo> ["Yeah."]
[15:14] <Hideki> "Did she tell you about the flashy costumes too?"
[15:17] <Minaplo> ["Flashy costu- wait. Let's not get distracted. I wanted to talk about your Persona."]
[15:26] <Hideki> "Alright." He rolled his shoulders a little. "I think we've got time for a little Q&A. What's on your mind?"
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["So… How did you get yours?"]
[15:31] <Hideki> "Uh… well, a group of us - the dormmates and me, that is - got lost in a weird dream place under the school and we got separated."
[15:32] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, I know that part… But it was different for each of you, right?"]
[15:38] <Hideki> "Yeah…" he said slowly. "Can't say I know all the details about the others, but I don't think any of them were attacked by ghosts the way I was."
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["Ghosts…?"]
[15:42] <Hideki> "Yeah. Hundreds of them! I think. There were a lot of mirrors around, you know? Anyway, they were after my virile life energy. Tried to fight them off, but they were ghosts, so it was kind of hard to punch them."
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["Your, er, 'virile life energy'?"]
[15:46] <Hideki> "Yeah. Like. The stuff that keeps you alive. I guess the ghosts were jealous of it."
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["You're thinking of vampires."]
[15:59] <Hideki> "Vampires…? Ghosts are into that stuff too, though."
[16:00] <Minaplo> ["Are th- wait."-
[16:00] <Minaplo> ["You're trying to distract me."]
[16:03] <Hideki> "From what?" Hideki gazed at her with innocent eyes.
[16:05] <Minaplo> ["That's what I want to know." She crossed one leg over the other and stared at him. Hideki had always said that her eyes were uniquely piercing, and now he was feeling it…]
[16:10] * Hideki bore it stoically at first, but it wasn't long before his front started to chip away. He glanced around the room distractedly. -
[16:12] <Hideki> "So. Let's talk about the term 'virile life energy'."
[16:14] <Minaplo> ["This is a sexual thing, huh."]
[16:15] * Hideki heaved a long sigh. "Yeah."
[16:15] <Minaplo> ["Go on."]
[16:16] <Hideki> "Do you know what 'orgone' is?"
[16:17] <Minaplo> ["It's an old pseudoscientific idea. Some old guy riding the LSD wave thinking there's a great life force or something."]
[16:20] <Hideki> "Is that where it's from…? The ghost said it was universe-binding 'sexy energy'."
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Well, it has an erotic element, sure."]
[16:31] <Hideki> "Right. So that's what they were after. They had me cornered, and then all of a sudden my Persona popped out."
[16:33] <Minaplo> ["All of a sudden?"]
[16:38] <Hideki> "Yeah, it's not like I was expecting it! He was all like…" Hideki frowned, trying to remember. "'Nice job, but these ghosts actually suck. I'm awesome, so let's party.' Only I heard it in my head."
[16:39] <Minaplo> ["I see…"-
[16:40] <Minaplo> ["So what do you think it all meant?"]
[12:51] <Hideki> "Isn't it just some subconscious Freudian thing? I'm been studying psychology, but this is way beyond me."
[12:51] <Hideki> ^I've
[12:53] <Minaplo> ["Jungian, actually." Said Ji-Hu. "I can tell you more."]
[12:53] <Hideki> "Oh yeah?"
[12:57] <Minaplo> ["Personas are a projection, a kind of translation between your true identity and the social reality you operate in. It's both a shield that conforms to expectations placed on you, but a way to safely express your inner reality."]
[13:04] <Hideki> "So you're assuming our Personas are like that too?"
[13:05] <Minaplo> ["Everything else fits." Said Ji-Hu. "I said to Kurata that they were kind of like internet avatars… People tend to pick avatars that express themselves, but they're also using it for protection."-
[13:06] <Minaplo> ["Were… They hurting you? The ghosts?"]
[13:08] <Hideki> "They were starting in on it," he admitted airily. "Why?"
[13:28] <Minaplo> [Ji-Hu frowned. She rose, walked over to Hideki and sat on his lap. "I'm so sorry, honey… That must've been terrifying."]
[13:40] * Hideki folded his arms around her and nuzzled the top of her head. "C'mon. That was the exact reaction I was hoping to avoid," he chuckled. "I haven't been thinking about it. Deliberately. So don't you start worrying about it yourself. Anyway, old man Gray jumped in before it got really bad."
[13:48] <Minaplo> ["Still… I uh, I know how scary these things can be." Said Ji-Hu; she tucked her head in under his chin. "Especially when there's a sexual edge to them. So I'm here if you wanted to talk about it…"]
[13:59] <Hideki> "I hear you. Thanks," he said quietly. "Maybe one of these days. But today… let's think about some other stuff."
[14:00] <Minaplo> ["Let's go take our mind off Personas by watching an adaptation of the story of your Persona?"]
[14:01] <Hideki> "Yeeaaahhh, that doesn't exactly work out too well, does it?"
[14:06] <Minaplo> ["Hehe. Oh, well. I guess I'll use it as a way to learn more about you."]
[14:09] <Hideki> "Sure. I guess there are upsides to having this guy as a Persona. The movie's probably going to reflect that."
[14:10] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[14:14] <Hideki> "Yeah. He's flashy and not all that nice, but maybe the movie will show him having a heart of gold that was hidden to the world. Depending on how you look at it, it'll be an opportunity to empathize with him or myself."
[14:24] <Minaplo> […-
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["So."-
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["Dorian Gray is kind of a dickhead, huh?" Said Ji-Hu, five minutes after the film had ended. They stood in Satomi Lane Cinema's foyer.]
[14:29] * Hideki hung his head. The hopeful gleam in his eyes had died fifteen minutes into the film. Now all that was left was shame. -
[14:30] <Hideki> "You know I would never ruin or murder innocent strangers, right?"
[14:39] <Minaplo> ["I mean…"]
[14:48] <Hideki> "I wouldn't," he said seriously. "I would be nice to them. Because that's the sort of person I am on the inside." As if to prove it, he turned to a group of of passersby who were heading towards the consession booths. "Enjoy the movie, folks!"
[14:57] <Hideki> ^concession
[15:14] <Minaplo> [They looked at him, a little startled.-
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["But your inside wants to look like a callous playboy!" Said Ji-Hu.]
[15:19] <Hideki> "Hey, he wasn't so bad at the beginning. You know, before the whole eternal youth pact. Maybe that's the version of him my insides resonated with."
[15:20] <Minaplo> ["Does your version have the portrait?"]
[15:20] <Hideki> "Y-yeah…"
[15:21] <Minaplo> ["Then it's not that version, huh?"]
[15:21] * Hideki hung his head even further.
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["Hmph."]
[15:30] <Hideki> "Hey… let's walk around the park like we'd planned, ok? Get some fresh air…"
[15:34] <Minaplo> [She nudged him in the ribs. "Oh cheer up."]
[15:44] <Hideki> "…it's not like I'm sulking," he mumbled. "I was just hoping there'd be a not-dark side to him."
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["I mean, he was innocent at first. He just got corrupted."]
[15:55] <Hideki> "Corrupted by the need to party it up. Forever." Hideki nodded. "Ok. That's relatable."
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["Which means…?"]
[16:02] <Hideki> "It means that next time we should see that party monster movie. My Persona yearns for it."
[16:03] <Minaplo> ["Which means you oughta avoid getting corrupted, buster!"]
[13:18] <Hideki> "Oh! R-right. No more temptation!"
[13:29] <@PersonaGM> ["And what tempts you…?"]
[13:31] <Hideki> "Do we have to get into that?"
[13:33] <@PersonaGM> ["Well if we know what it is, you know… Know you enemy, know yourself."]
[13:41] <Hideki> "I already know what it is, though." He winked at her. "For example, I'm really tempted whenever I see you in a short skirt…"
[13:52] <@PersonaGM> ["Hm~"-
[13:52] <@PersonaGM> [She leaned over towards him. "So you know what that means?"]
[13:54] <Hideki> "What?" He leaned towards her as well, eagerly.
[13:55] <@PersonaGM> ["That I should do the noble thing and not tempt you anymore." She said, her eyes wide, her expression pious.]
[13:59] <Hideki> "…" Damn. But there was clearly a silver lining in all this. "You know, I'm also tempted by you not making out with me."
[14:03] <@PersonaGM> ["Tempted to do what?"]
[14:06] <Hideki> "To, um. Not kiss you? Which means that we should kiss. A lot."
[14:15] <@PersonaGM> [Ji-Hu paused… Then started to laugh.-
[14:15] <@PersonaGM> ["Dummy."]
[14:16] <Hideki> "Hmph. You can't blame a man for trying!"
[14:18] <@PersonaGM> ["No, I guess I can't~"-
[14:19] <@PersonaGM> [Ji-Hu reached over and wrapped herself around his arm. "Don't worry. I'm not going to read too deeply into your Persona. It wouldn't make sense to project something you wanted to hide to the rest of the world, would it?"]
[14:27] <Hideki> "Thanks for being fair," Hideki pulled her close. "And kind. I bet if you had a Persona it would be some kind of justice goddess."
[14:31] <@PersonaGM> ["That's Yoshino. I bet I'd be some kind of femme fatale."]
[14:33] <Hideki> "I could see that~"
[14:36] <@PersonaGM> ["Actually, do you want to hear something funny?"]
[14:37] <Hideki> "What?"
[15:37] <@PersonaGM> ["When I was younger, I used to go by Fujiko Mine on message boards."]
[15:47] * Hideki snorted with laughter. "That's brilliant. Why'd you like her so much?"
[15:53] <@PersonaGM> ["Why wouldn't I? She's wicked and knows how to make the cut in a competitive field."]
[15:59] <Hideki> "You got me there. Ambition's your middle name."
[15:59] <@PersonaGM> ["Haha. Of course."-
[15:59] <@PersonaGM> [But her expression became serious as they left the cinema.]
[16:01] * Hideki definitely noticed. "Everything okay?"
[16:01] <@PersonaGM> ["Yeah. Well…"-
[16:02] <@PersonaGM> ["Ambition… It's true that I'm ambitious." She said. "But I have to admit, being targeted for death kind of… P-puts a dent in that a little."]
[16:12] * Hideki gave her a warm squeeze. "It's scary," he said quietly, nodding. "But no one can say if you'll always feel that way. You're strong. One of the strongest people I know."
[12:18] <@PersonaGM> [Ji-Hu leant into his side. "Thank you. I'd like to bounce back. Truth be told, I've been throwing myself into helping and researching because it gets my mind off being scared. But as long as I'm producing some results…"]
[12:37] <Hideki> "Results? What kind of results…?"
[12:38] <@PersonaGM> ["Research, ideas… Things to help you guys."]
[12:40] * Hideki nodded. "Well we appreciate it, no matter what the reason behind it is."
[12:43] <@PersonaGM> ["Well. There's other reasons. I do want to help. I don't want you to die."]
[12:54] <Hideki> "Heh. That goes without saying. Um. To be fair, we do end up in a lot of fights."
[13:01] <@PersonaGM> ["You do."]
[13:08] <Hideki> "Also, I don't think any of us really want to die. So thank you."
[13:09] <@PersonaGM> ["Haha, you're welcome, darling."]
[13:14] <Hideki> "And we want to help you too. I want to help you. So if you need anything or just want to talk about stuff, come to me, ok?"
[13:19] <@PersonaGM> ["Okay."-
[13:19] <@PersonaGM> ["Haha. You know, if I had to have a boyfriend who was wrapped up in strange otherworldly events, I'm glad it was you."]
[13:26] <Hideki> "Thanks! I'll do you proud."
[13:56] <@PersonaGM> [ The Star Arcana strengthens…]

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