Becoming Human Again

<Kioku> Akemi stretches out on the floor in the shrine. Daniel's already left after their enchantment session, and they've pretty much finished cleaning up, so she's alone here with Malissa for the moment.
<Endorb> Malissa hums a tune as they finish cleaning up. "So, I lowered the prices of some of my artifacts. Hopefully that gets some sales, eventually."
<Kioku> Akemi smiles faintly and gives a small nod, eyes closed and head resting on a pillow. "I did the same recently in the same hopes. It's not like most of the materials are all that expensive, even one or two sales will cover quite a lot of them before it becomes profit. Even better if it spreads awareness, like I hoped that 'crystals for everyone' thing might do."
<Endorb> "Yeah. I told this one person that if they spread word, I'd give them a few giggle fits. As long as we sell, right?"
<Kioku> "Mhmm. And all the better if it gets to people who can really make good use of it. I don't mind giving away to my friends as long as they pay in hugs, too~" Akemi laughs gently and stretches more before sitting up. "Pity so many of my spells and power applications are unsuitable for just anyone to have. Difference between a trusted list and normal, I guess. Hey, got anything to do for a while? My first class was canceled for today."
<Endorb> "Not anymore~" Malissa giggles. "Especially if it's something that can help me pay for some perfume~?"
<Kioku> Akemi gives a questioning hum. "Oh? You're wanting more of that~?" She giggles and pats the floor next to her. "I was just maybe wanting to talk for a while. Might be rambling, might be sounding board, might be friendly conversation. What do you say?"
<Endorb> "Sure. We can always talk about that later, right?"
<Kioku> "We could, but please, feel free to while it's still in mind!"
<Endorb> "Well, how much do you want for it again? We could trade magic again, since I'm saving for that expensive jacket… I'm thinking of finding a job, even…"
<Kioku> "We could trade, especially if you're saving up. Right now I'm actually trying to consider whether it would be possible to recycle some of my older creations into the current standard. I swear, the first curses I made are only half as powerful as what I could make now. Probably could make a bit better perfume too, come to think of it, but…" Akemi shrugs. "It's not really a priority right now. Why don't you tell me how many you'd like - I
<Kioku> have… I think six made already, same quality as what you already have, but it'd be easy to make more in the coming week. I'll try to sort out if there's anything in particular I need, that would make a good trade~" She winks.
<Endorb> "Just one or two. I'll give you any spells you want. Including pain, if you really want."
<Kioku> "Break is still the most potentially useful one for me, but I could think of some uses for Giggle Fit, Pain or Tongue Tied… I wouldn't mind having a few of each on hand, though I already have Tongue Tied and a few Breaks. Let's work out the exact details later, shall we? Now that I know I have as many as you'd want already made, and it won't be a rush order~" Akemi grins and leans back to lay down again. "Just don't go using it if
<Kioku> something like the quarantine happens again~ Wouldn't need you being even more of a vector than you already are~"
<Endorb> "Why would I? I don't want to be sick! I actually went the whole thing safe. Although… If you were around, I'm not sure if I could've made it… But I imagine it would be worth it."
<Kioku> Akemi giggles. "How did you manage to avoid getting sick? I went straight in the moment I heard about it. I knew there was no chance I'd be able to follow the rules, and I was probably already infected… plus I'd have immediately infected nearly anyone who so much as saw me, and everyone who stayed in the same room for more than a minute~ They just wouldn't be able to help themselves~" She sobers up a bit. "It's… don't worry, it's
<Kioku> super mild, but I can /tell/. I feel how I affect people, I know right away. Mild or not, it would have been enough to trigger the illness."
<Endorb> "Yeah? I'm so sorry about that, Akemi… It must be an awful thing to think about…"
<Kioku> Akemi rolls onto her side. "Yeah… kind of… it's not something I can /completely/ turn off, block out, suppress. It's who I am, and it's uncomfortable enough to hide as much as I do all the time. Hey, tell me how you do it? Does your aura 'want' to be out more than its minimum, or is it more of a strain to push it than to keep it down?"
<Endorb> "Honestly, it's kinda weird. I mean, if I keep it high for so long, it tires me out. more than being out all the time, though, it usually wants to focus on whoever I'm looking at, you know? It's weird…"
<Kioku> "So it focuses on who you're focusing on, it doesn't like being left more general to catch more people? Is that why it wasn't as potent when you used it on Suzy and I at the same time, you had to split your focus to make it work?"
<Endorb> "Kind of. I mean, I can focus it on a person that I'm not focusing on, but I can't make it as strong on multiple people. You probably think there's a big gap between my normal, and when I focus on a single person. But if I'm not careful, It'll just latch onto people on its own." Malissa sits down on a pillow where Akemi can look over at her without trying.
<Kioku> "Mmm, I do understand that. Latching onto people on its own." Akemi smiles and does lazily look at Malissa since, well, she's talking to her. And easy to while laying on her side. "It still got me thinking… maybe I should try harder. I never wanted to, it feels so /weird/ to even try to go past this point and I don't know if I can at all, but…"
<Endorb> "Well, I'm willing to help however I can. Maybe some dust for your first time, if you need?"
<Kioku> Akemi laughs. "Seems like that would be a bit counterproductive. How do /you/ clamp down on your aura? Make sure it doesn't affect anyone, at least as much as you can? Maybe it's different and the viewpoint would help?"
<Endorb> "It's not that hard for me. Think of it like a machine lock with a slider. Once you pull the lock, you adjust the slider, and when it's where you want, you put the lock back on." Malissa does gestures to help get the point across. "And then there's this set of buttons over here that help me control where it goes. You know? This make sense?"
<Kioku> "Yeah. Makes sense." Akemi sighs. "You could say mine is more like… maybe a slider with a spring on one side. It tries to push it to be let out. Pulling it lower is easy up to a certain point, and it'll stay there with minimal effort, but then pushing it further gets harder and harder and too much of a slip-up would let the spring tension out and push it back to open, or at least halfway open or so. I've had a /lot/ of time to practice
<Kioku> keeping it 'closed,' so maybe you could say that the spring has lost some of its potential tension there? But it remains, I still can't really push it down the rest of the way…"
<Endorb> "Are you sure you don't want dust to see if it helps? I mean, what counts as lucky is dependant on what you want, after all." Malissa reaches for the bag, not pulling it out yet.
<Kioku> "Well, maybe, if you really want to offer." Akemi smiles a little from her previous pensive look. "I just… there's got to be /some/ sort of… I don't know what I'm missing here."
<Endorb> "I hope there is, but if there isn't, that should usually be fine, right?" Malissa pulls out the bag with over a cup of dust. "I don't know how much you want…"
<Kioku> "I wouldn't want to put you out at all~ But if this helps me figure out the solution, you'll be getting one of those perfumes for free. Or in trade for the dust, whichever you prefer." Akemi winks. "I'm just going to try to… focus, I suppose, on the feeling of… I don't know. Maybe it's related to the feeling of when I turned my tails corporeal at first. In some way. Worth a shot."
<Endorb> "Alright. I'll start you off with… 8 doses sounds about right, right?" Malissa pulls about that much out, and sprinkles it on Akemi, focusing it to the duration.
<Kioku> "You're the expert," Akemi murmurs. Her aura is let out a bit, and then seems to waver as she tests the feeling of focusing different ways. Her body shimmers and blurs, tails disappearing, then reappearing a few moments later with another blur and shimmer. Her face forms into a frown.
<Endorb> "Maybe I didn't give you enough? I can give you the rest of the bag, if you really want."
<Kioku> "N-no, that's alright. Actually, if you could put your hands on my shoulders or something… I need to relax to think this through, I thought I felt something but it slipped away."
<Endorb> "Okay." Malissa does that. "Don't be afraid to use the dust if you feel you need it. Heck, just dip your whole hand in there, if you want a lot. I don't mind."
<Kioku> Akemi manages a small smile before she closes her eyes again and stretches her neck in a circle and moves her shoulders with a few pops. Where was it, what was it… The tail disappearing act happens again like before, but she doesn't bring them back this time. "What's the trick here," she murmurs, face scrunching up in discomfort.
<Endorb> Malissa just keeps her hand there, paying very close attention to Akemi and how she made her feel. She was worried the slightest movement would negate Akemi's work.
<Kioku> Akemi stays like that for a good two minutes or so, mind racing, before she hits a breakthrough. \Maybe… maybe I have to really want to… blend in. Be seen as totally human, normal, and not… everyone's focus. Urgh, I don't know if I can do that, really be willing to part with people's attention. Actually want to interact like a human does. Asami, I need your help, I can't put on /that/ serious of an act on my own and still toe the
<Kioku> line, be myself. Act like a human version of me. Of us. You would have been so much better at this, with your shyness back then…<Endorb> Malissa watches intenselly, waiting for things to click. ~How long will this take? Is she getting closer, or further? I really wish I were in a slightly more comfortable position.~
<Kioku> Another half minute passes, then suddenly Akemi takes a sharp breath and her eyes fly open. And they're blue. Deep, sapphire blue.
<Endorb> Malissa doesn't want to say anything yet, in case it messes her up. She just watches, very wairy of what goes on next/
<Kioku> Akemi squirms in place a little, but her gaze is locked on Malissa's eyes. Then she blinks. "… Malissa? You're still here… how long was that? It felt like /hours/…"
<Endorb> "I don't know… Probably just a few minutes. Your eyes, they're…" Malissa changes her eye color for a moment to match Akemi's. "Did you do it?"
<Kioku> Akemi blinks again. "I… I'm not sure. I feel different. It's weird."
<Endorb> "Yeah? Is it hard to keep yourself like this?"
<Kioku> Though still beautiful beyond human standards or natural capacity, the allure and relaxing effects she always gives off don't seem to be present. She furrows her brow. "Sort of. It's hard to explain. It's… not nearly as bad as I expected, so maybe I did something right. But it's still /really/ weird; it's not hard, or painful, but it's unfamiliar and /really/ disquieting."
<Kioku> "It feels… /wrong./"
<Endorb> "Oh? Well, it works. Maybe it's just like that because you're not used to it?"
<Kioku> Akemi squirms more. "Maybe… I don't know if it /actually/ worked though, the feeling is sort of different from when I usually hold myself back…"
<Endorb> "I'm pretty sure it worked…" Malissa removes her arm, and moves to be more face-to-face with Akemi. "So, you did it."
<Kioku> Akemi sits up, and looks a little dizzy. "Nnrm. Great. Yay. … What was that about my eyes, you said?"
<Endorb> "They're this color." Malissa shows that color again, not letting it leave for a while, but trying not to move and accidentally cast a spell. "Are you sure you're okay?"
<Kioku> Akemi's eyes widen and she seems short of breath. "T-they're…" She leans in to get a better look, then scoots away, almost hyperventilating.
<Endorb> "Akemi?! What's wrong!?"
<Kioku> "That was… I didn't…" Tears edge at the corners of Akemi's eyes. "They haven't been that shade since…"
<Endorb> "Are you okay, Akemi?" Malissa reverts her eyes to gold, and goes to comfort her.
<Kioku> Akemi curls up a little. "I-I'll… I'll be fine!" She leans against Malissa heavily and shivers. "It's just been years… they changed when I was eleven, when… I guess that was when my powers first really showed themselves."
<Endorb> "It's okay, Akemi. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. Everything is fine now, right?"
<Kioku> Akemi shudders and nods. "Right…" \Wait… that's what's so wrong! I can't hear her! No… I can, but it's… differnet, distant, distorted, difficult. As if being like this didn't feel dissonant enough… this has never happened when was normal!\ Her eyes seem to glow violet for a few seconds, and the aura comes back during that time, until it fades and they resume their blue gem imitations.
<Endorb> "If you're sure you're okay…"
<Kioku> Akemi looks down and nods rapidly. "Y-yeah, it's… it's just a lot to take in." She swallows and smiles, looking at Malissa - one can't even tell it's forced, she's always been good at putting up any fascade she needs to. "I'll… consider the implications later. For now, I think I owe you for helping me through this~" She squeezes her eyes shut and then lets out an explosive breath as if she'd been holding it all this time and the
<Kioku> tension in her body just disappears. She falls sideways through Malissa, head ending up behind her and torso intersecting the pixie's. The aura is out rather strongly, and if Malissa got a glimps, her eyes are back to their normal violet shade once again.
<Endorb> Malissa shivers. "Quite a way to repay me~." Malissa is definitely fine with the effects of an Akemi half-inside her.
<Kioku> Akemi lets out a slight laugh and rolls to stop being through Malissa before picking herself up. "Much better. Gah, that was weird, but… but at least I think I could do it again if I had to. And actually, suppressing myself doesn't feel quite as uncomfortable or demanding now. I'd still rather stay out more though~"
<Endorb> "I'd rather it too."
<Kioku> Akemi gives Malissa a sly look and hums happily. "Alright~ Maybe I'll be myself a little more when it's just us~" She winks and gets the rest of the way to her feet, then leans down to offer the pixie help up.
<Endorb> "Maybe that's a good idea~" Malissa takes the help up, and smiles at Akemi. "So, not too traumatized, right? Can we skip a trip to the infirmary?"
<Kioku> "Mm, I'll be fine. Let's get you that payment for your favor, shall we~ Oh, and just so you know… I certainly wouldn't mind if you wanted to let out a little more of your aura on occasion too~"
<Endorb> "I do that sometimes already~. But I can do it more for you~. So, just one perfume for 8 dust, right? I'd be willing to pay more, if you pushed me."
<Kioku> "I'll give you a second one for a Giggle Fit and a Pain," Akemi replies, implying that she feels more than enough has already been exchanged for at least one. She starts for the door of the shrine, stepping out and waiting for Malissa to walk beside her.
<Endorb> "Okay. Deal~" Malissa indeed follows the Akemi. It was so natural to follow her, after all

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