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[03:11] <Hideki> Hideki lingered in the dilapidated old club room long after everyone else had left. The next period would start any minute now. He could already picture everyone settling into their chairs in the third year science room, and yet he had no real desire to join them. With a flourish, he picked up his dusty school blazer and faced the sun streaming through the door. -
[03:11] <Hideki> No. His afternoon would be spent elsewhere…
[03:48] <Dinah> Dinah wasn't in any real hurry to get out of the club room, not for any other reason but that class didn't seem all that appealing with the headache that was forming. Of course, not a whole lot seemed appealing with that. So instead of heading toward her class, she moved for the doors outside again, her phone in her hand, with the card in the other. Tapping in the information on it was quick to bring up some info that she wasn't really all that interested in now, though she flicked something to save it for later before pocketing both items. As she ended up outside, her hands went reflexively for her pack and yet she stopped. For once, smoking probably wouldn't help. Caffeine, though, that was a thought.
[04:34] <Hideki> "Already hard at work, huh?" -
[04:36] <Hideki> Hideki hadn't gone very far. Indeed, now he was lingering by the door, scrutinizing the lay of the land. There were no other students drifting around, or even teachers.
[05:37] <Dinah> "Sooner I get used to the idea, sooner it's over." She sniffed with a shrug as she cast a sidelong glance his way. Thumbing back the way they'd come, there was a little bit of amusement in her tone as she spoke up. "Ain't your classes back that way?"
[04:38] <Hideki> "You really think I'm gonna be able to focus on classes today?"
[06:34] <Dinah> She took a glance over at him, a brow lifting like he'd asked something stupid or silly sounding, though softened a bit after that. "Out of any of us, I'd figure you could." She shrugged, moving away from the wall then with a nod. "Fair enough, though. Where we going?"
[12:22] <Hideki> "'We', hm?" He hid a small grin, tucking his hands into his pockets. "Are you sure about this? I wouldn't want to lead a dilligant younger student down the wrong path."
[12:25] <Dinah> "I don't see any of those around here." A shrug of her shoulders again as she turned, walking away yet with a gesture for him to come with. "Besides, this is probably the first time you've ever skipped. If anything, I'm the bad influence here."
[12:32] <Hideki> "Then you must have some suggestions about what to do." He followed without much more prompting. "I was thinking about going for a jog. But I guess we could do something requiring us to lay low and stare at some screens. Movies. Video games…"
[12:44] <Dinah> "I need some caffeine and to move a bit so the arcade sounds like a good bet to me." Walking along, it was clear that this wasn't the first time she'd done this, likely to the same location as well. Surprisingly, she didn't really wear the usual scowl that she had, even if it was just replaced by a near-permanent wince from the oncoming headache. "Your girlfriend ain't gonna go after me for this, is she?"
[12:49] <Hideki> "Doubt it. You and her are generally pretty okay, aren't you?"
[12:53] <Dinah> "I haven't really talked to her a whole lot. Dunno that she knows much about me aside from….y'know." A hand gesture meant 'the usual' or 'the stuff everyone knows' to finish her thought before she kept on. "Not that I mind much. Just kinda know that she's got a temper on her and it's not like I don't know how that is."
[01:02] <Hideki> "You'll probably be okay. She's pretty reasonable. It's just that when she senses injustice, she just can't help herself sometimes."
[01:15] <Dinah> "I mean, no offense, but I could probably take her." A sniff and another hand gesture. "I just don't wanna have to deal with that."
[01:17] <Hideki> "She carries a butterfly knife, you know."
[01:21] <Dinah> "I learned how to disarm people back in the States. Had to work at a little grocery store for a bit. The Manager took us all out for self-defense classes an' shit, said it was a 'team-building' thing. Wasn't wrong about that."
[01:25] <Hideki> "I see. An entire grocery store staff just beating up shoplifters together…"
[01:28] <Dinah> She scoffed at that, arms folding in front of her chest as she almost looked annoyed. "I wish. Never had a single problem with the store. Still, it was fun throwing some of the guys around. They didn't think I could."
[02:01] <Hideki> "Do you still get that attitude from guys in that club you're in?"
[02:02] <Dinah> "Since Adrien showed up, yeah."
[02:16] <Hideki> "Oof. Well that's frustrating."
[02:20] <Dinah> "Yeah." They were starting to see some of the hustle and bustle of the area nearby by now, likely drawing a glance here and there because of their uniforms, yet if anything, the protests and the heat from it likely made people want to pay even less attention to them for fear of getting dragged into all of it. The Arcade wasn't too far off from now. "So…you wanna talk about the whole little brother thing?"
[02:23] <Hideki> "Ehhh, I'm not sure where to start, really. It's complicated. Is there something you had a question about specifically?"
[02:26] <Dinah> "Not really. I figure this was either going to be a venting thing or a completely ignore it for now thing. S'how things usually go." She shrugged, gesturing around them. "It's why I waited til we were closer to ask. But I guess…" Clicking her tongue, her head moved a little, like she was trying to shuffle the questions around in her head to get the best one to drop. "Did you two ever get along?"
[02:30] <Hideki> "Sure. We were normal, as far as brothers go. We annoyed each other, but it wasn't, like, bad. Things got rough when he started middle school, though. Maybe even a little before then."
[02:33] <Dinah> "Think it's just the normal….y'know, stuff or something else set him off?"
[02:36] <Hideki> "Stuff. But it was a lot of stuff."-
[02:41] <Hideki> He tilted his head back a little, "When he started middle school, he started coming here, to Sophia, for the first time. I think maybe that was hard on him too. He said he needed space, and I gave it to him. I figured he was going through a rough patch, and needed time to sort it out, and then he'd mellow out and things would get better."
[02:51] <Dinah> A little 'hrm' sound came from her as she nodded, crossing her arms again. "Kinda hard to think he'd come here and not want a familiar face around. Usually, that's the problem when you get to a new school, that you don't know anyone."
[02:54] <Hideki> "He spent his entire first year publicly pretending we weren't related."
[03:07] <Dinah> "I'd say that was pretty harsh if I didn't do the same thing to my little brother. But our situations are a bit different, I'd think."
[03:10] <Hideki> "Different how?"
[03:16] <Dinah> "Well, I say little brother but I really mean half-brother."
[03:17] <Hideki> "Did you guys grow up together?"
[03:22] <Dinah> "Yeah. Mom was pregnant pretty soon after she broke it off with my dad." There was a definite bitterness in her tone there for all of the obvious reasons one might imagine, especially if they saw the timeline. "So, y'know, that wasn't great."
[03:44] <Hideki> "Oh. Shit. I can see how you guys might be kind of… distant."
[03:51] <Dinah> "Yeah." She almost spat the word before taking a good inhale through her nostrils and shaking her head. "Anyway, not about me. Like I said, I don't figure things are the same for you."
[04:42] <Hideki> "We didn't have the same circumstances as you and your bro," Hideki admitted. "But there are similarities with how we're treating each other. So if you ever do feel like talking about it, I can listen."
[04:55] <Dinah> The anger had already started to build somewhat from going back to that mindset and bringing those thoughts to her head and yet she seemed to try shaking it all off as she glanced over to him. "Thanks. We're talking about you, though."
[12:14] <Hideki> "Right. Questions about me, then. What else've you got?"
[12:24] <Dinah> "Well…." She hummed, obviously trying to get her mind off of her family and the issues that came with it. "Your brother doesn't like you. I mean…let's not ignore it. Gun to your head, do you like your brother?"
[12:27] <Hideki> "Sure do. I just wish he was less of a grumpy asshole, is all. Kid barely smiles, you know?"
[12:28] <Dinah> "Sounds like you like what your brother could be."
[12:45] <Hideki> "I hope there's more to it than that. Truth is, I feel like I barely know him nowadays. But I still want him to be happy."
[12:51] <Dinah> She nodded a bit and rolled her shoulders. "I just meant that I asked you if you liked him and you said yes but the first thing after that is what you'd change about him." Glancing his way, she lifted a brow. "Not that I don't blame ya and I'm not trying to be a bitch. But we're gonna have to look at his mindset now and that kinda stuff might be part of it."
[01:01] <Hideki> Hideki groaned, but he nodded. "Ok. Bit too late now, but next time I'll start out with something positive about him."
[01:14] <Dinah> "There you go. Why don't you do that now?"
[01:20] <Hideki> "I think I will! First positive thing: he's got a determined streak a mile wide."-
[01:22] <Hideki> "When we were younger, we had this chair. It was a ratty old desk chair, but it was comfortable. Perfect for playing games or watching TV. Only, one day, during summer break, he caught wind of our mom's plan to get rid of it. So he vowed to spend the entire summer in that chair so she wouldn't get the opportunity."
[01:28] <Dinah> She stopped by one of the various vending machines as he talked, pulling out a few bills to put in it. Pressing a couple buttons, a vanilla cola dropped that she moved to retrieve, stepping back after with a gesture to him. If he looked, he'd notice there was enough credit on it for something else. "Did it get thrown out?"
[01:37] <Hideki> "Well, he kept it up for a while, even sleeping in it and everything. Eventually, on the fourth day, the situation forced my mom to negotiate. She'd watch him, scooting around in the thing, and mutter to herself that 'this isn't normal'. So, out of motherly concern, she let us keep it for another summer." He picked his own drink - iced tea! - and collected it with relish. -
[01:38] <Hideki> "She wised up, though. Bought an even better chair to draw our attention a few months later, and then gave the older one the boot. Adults aren't to be trusted."
[01:41] <Dinah> "That is dedication." She let out a little chuckle before opening the top of her soda with a refreshing 'hss' after it twisted open. Taking a sip of it then, the cap was replaced by the time she was moving, the Arcade not far from there. "Was he upset about it?"
[01:45] <Hideki> "Hell yeah. He could've had -two- chairs. One to sit in, and one to prop his feet up on. It only occurred to him after the old one was gone, though."
[01:51] <Dinah> She took another drink, bringing the bottle up to the side of her head after capping it again so that the cold could help the caffeine try to will her headache away. It was only for a moment, however, as they walked on. "Sounded like you two were pretty much together in that, though. 'Sat before he started changing?"
[01:54] <Hideki> "Yeah. He was like 7 at the time, so pretty young."
[02:09] <Dinah> "Ahh, I getcha. When's the last time you think you two really got along?"
[02:17] <Hideki> Hideki slowly rolled the iced tea bottle between his fingers, dripping condensation on the pavement. -
[02:21] <Hideki> "He came by the dorm a little while ago. Maybe three weeks back. He was dropping some stuff off for me, so we had tea and talked. Compared roommates and dorms, and he told me to be a good boyfriend. It was… non-hostile. That was a good conversation. Progress?" -
[02:24] <Hideki> He shrugged. "Maybe you meant a time before things started going sour. Like, before he left home to come here."
[02:33] <Dinah> "I kinda just meant whatever came to mind first. Three weeks ago isn't bad at all for you guys to be civil." Another drink, another little hum. "But I mean, I guess if you can remember the last thing before you started feeling him get hostile, that'd be good to have in mind too."
[02:53] <Hideki> "Maybe two years back? It was in the winter. I'd dropped home for a few days, and we hung out. He was trying to convince our dad to get him a drone to play with. But it wasn't actually for playing. He was planning to use it to get out of chores like walking our dog and taking out the garbage and stuff."
[02:58] <Dinah> "…How did he figure a drone was going to walk a dog?"
[03:05] <Hideki> "By tethering one end of the leash to it. Look, it was a flawed plan," said Hideki delicately. "We spent some time researching it together. Like, how much they could carry, flight restrictions for residential areas, and how easy it would be for an energetic dog to rip one apart or drag it out of the air. In the end, he abandoned the plan because it was too much trouble, and tried to figure out how to pay someone to do the chores for him. Which was also a lot of trouble, because he had no income."
[03:15] <Dinah> "I was gonna say, I have a dog back home and it would destroy a drone before it got to the sidewalk. Points for inventiveness, I guess, but…" Her shoulders lifted and then fell, her hands moving out in a gesture as well. "I dunno, I got nothin'." There was silence for a few moments after that before she sniffed, bringing her drink to her lips but not drinking yet. "I wonder if we'll be able to talk to him, get an idea of what's goin' on. With Asaka, it wasn't gonna happen, obviously. This is a lot different, though."
[03:19] <Hideki> "Depends on who's asking. I'm not getting anything out of him, but maybe the rest of our little team'll have more luck."
[03:33] <Dinah> "Yeah, I figure about any of the rest of us could talk to him. Even Ji-hu is an option if we can't for some reason."
[03:38] <Hideki> "The best idea would be to send in a pair. Maybe Ji-Hu and one other person. That would look more natural than all of his brother's dormmates showing up at once in a group."
[03:42] <Dinah> "True enough. Is Yoshino the only other one that knows him?"
[03:44] <Hideki> "I think so. He'll know about you and Kurata, though, thanks to the reporter who talked to us today."
[03:54] <Dinah> "Which seems like all the more reason that we should not be the ones to go with her."
[03:56] <Hideki> "I guess that means we only have one option."
[04:12] <Dinah> "Pretty much, yeah." She frowned, pausing for a moment to the point of stopping right outside of the Arcade. "You think you have any idea who Adrien's new partner is?"
[04:15] <Hideki> "Not a clue." Hideki shook his head. "I can't even tell if it's someone who goes to our school."
[04:18] <Dinah> "I guess that is a possibility, too." A little grumble left her, drowned by another drink of her cola and then a sigh. "Y'know we're gonna have to fight them at some point, right?"
[04:38] <Hideki> "You say that like it's a done deal."
[04:48] <Dinah> "It pretty much is."-
[04:53] <Dinah> She sighed, turning to face him fully then, a stern look in her eyes. "He wants an Egg. We all know how to find one. Last time, he gave up without fighting us. Probably because he was feeling fucked up from what happened. This time, he's got someone else with him, maybe others. He's not just gonna step aside, not after the lengths he's gone to."
[02:56] <Hideki> He gave a sigh of his own.-
[03:07] <Hideki> "So I'm not gonna defend the guy. I can't, because I don't know what he's thinking right now. None of us do for sure, because we got all our starting intel about his motives from one shady as hell guy who looks like he's getting a kick out of manipulating us. That's why I'm trying to keep an open mind."
[03:13] <Dinah> "It's not even about that." She frowned, staring him down. "What's he making another team for, separate from ours, if not to go for the Eggs that he was going to go after before I took it? That he tried to manipulate you all into getting from me to give to him?" Taking his arm to pull him a little more away from the crowd, she bit back her tone in volume but not harshness. "We have the same endpoint for entirely different goals. We're gonna cross at some point. And that's not going to end without a fight."
[04:00] <Hideki> "Why did you even bring him up? Or his new partner?"
[04:04] <Dinah> "Because we're at the point where we need to start planning. For everything. Besides, you're the only other one that's seen him since the split so far, right?"
[04:25] <Hideki> "Sure. And he wasn't all that nasty about it. Obviously, you had a completely different experience."
[04:30] <Dinah> "Yeah." She scoffed, grumping a little about it obviously but shaking her head. "When you saw him, the situation was a lot different. Look, even if you don't believe me fully….just keep the idea in mind. Be ready for it. Because if I'm right, he'll already be in the mindset. He'll have the edge. And considering his abilities….Well, we need to be as close to even ground as we can be."
[04:46] <Hideki> "…Fine. No harm in being cautious. And being open-minded means also being open to that possibility too."
[04:57] <Dinah> "Whatever works." With a shrug and a flippant move of her hand, she gestured to the Arcade. "Ready to shoot some Zombies or something?"
[05:05] <Hideki> "Naturally!" Hideki rolled his head from side to side, as if he was warming up for a baseball game. "Whoever loses has to treat the winner to… something. A hamburger?"
[05:07] <Dinah> "You're on."
[06:35] <Minaplo> The Magician and Lovers arcana strengthen…

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