Facing Demons

Newlight
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6:03 PM - Jul 19, 2015 #1

Red Stars was nice tonight. The music wasn't up too terribly loud. The place wasn't too overcrowded. There wasn't a lot of dancing going on, either. Of course, it was early in the evening. The place had time to heat up. But for now, it was perfect. Roma and Zoe walked in holding hands, as had become their habit. Roma was dressed in a black long-sleeved top and an old pair of jeans. Her sword was strapped to her left. It never left her side these days. The two girls paused at the threshold, until Roma spotted a good place at the end of the bar and led Zoe over to the vacant seats.

"Two martinis," Roma said when the bartender looked their way. A very intentionally nostalgic choice. Roma didn't usually drink martinis. They weren't her favorite, and most of the time she just took straight shots instead of settling down with a drink. Her purpose was usually getting drunk as quickly as possible, not relaxing with someone close to her and having a chat. But tonight was different.

The two drinks were set before the two girls, Roma and Zoe. It was the drink that had started their pact long ago, back when they decided not to bury their hatchet, but to team up and turn it on someone else instead of each other. It didn't occur to Roma that it might remind Zoe of her guilt for how everything with Ken turned out. Roma didn't feel guilty. She felt that thinks came out even. Besides, Ken wasn't dead. He was stable in the hospital. Unconscious, but stable. And right now, he was the furthest from her mind. For Roma, the drink only reminded her of their transition from enemy to partner in crime, to frienemy, to friend, dear friend, best friend, and...well, after tonight, hopefully more.

Zoe was making more progress these days. She was finally feeling well enough to go out a little like she used to, and that was a big step. Roma had her sword back, so she wasn't constantly in the red all the time. That also meant that she didn't have any excuse to keep tiptoeing around her feelings for Zoe. The Russian beauty was strong enough to handle a drink now, so she was strong enough to handle some complication in their already odd friendship. There was nothing really holding them back...but Roma was still apprehensive. This could only go one way or the other. A yes or a no. Either Zoe really did return her feelings and they would start something. Or she didn't, or she didn't want a relationship, and Roma would be gently turned down. And now that they lived together and were kind of stuck with each other...that would make things pretty awkward.

But Roma was tired of making excuses and putting things off. Tonight she would stop pussying around and face her petty-ass fears! She'd faced monsters, hell snakes, malevolent ghosts! This was nothing! The great Roma Mariano, feared and despised, was shrinking away from the task of confessing her feelings? DISGRACEFUL! Man up, woman!

"See? This is nice. Not so bad," she said. It had taken a bit of coaxing to bring Zoe out tonight. "Like old times, right?" Roma chuckled once, but took a stiff breath. She was avoiding eye-contact. Something she never did. She lifted the small glass in her fingers, raising it to clink it against Zoe's before taking a sip.
"My brain makes the best decisions for everyone except me."

~ The Dude
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Aithne
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Aithne
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6:18 PM - Jul 20, 2015 #2

"Like old times, right?"

Zoe quirked an eyebrow as she gazed at her companion. If anything came of this ordeal between the girls, it was Zoe's extensive knowledge of Roma's body language. She spent most of her day with her. They lived together. They walked hand in hand to most of their daily activities. Roma liked to believe she was closed off from the world, but from the delicate Russian girl beside her, there was no hiding.

She did not say anything, lifting the martini to her dark painted lips. Her blazing lavender eyes glanced from Roma's averted ones, to the olive floating on the toothpick. It bobbled gently as she spun the liquid lazily.

Roma was right, Zoe had been improving immensely. She felt more comfortable moving around the school grounds and Domino. However, she would never venture beyond those borders. Trekking into human territory was not a feat she wished to challenge at this time. Zoe's hair was done in loose hanging curls around her pale amethyst skin. Though she had not kept current with fashion's new season, she had not given all her clothes away. Tonight was a tight fitting Gucci dress. A very low neckline, the straps were pinched at the arm pit, and made a v-shape over the shoulder. It was a falcon grey, made of sleek chiffon material. She wore tall white pumps in satin. Though she might not have the allowance she once had with Ken's credit card, the clothing she wore wasn't very old and still looked stunning.

"What is it, Miliy?" Zoe asked calmly. By now, Roma would know enough Russian to understand Miliy was the male form of darling. Zoe had been using it to tease her, knowing the girl would not know the difference. Now that she did, Zoe continued to call her that, as they both had a good laugh about it. They had been so petty in the past, it was musing to look back at their two atrocious behaviors, all over some man.
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Newlight
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5:13 AM - Jul 21, 2015 #3

wrote:"What is it, Miliy?"
Roma sighed and chuckled a little. What could she do? There was little she could hide from Zoe these days. The girl could read her like a magazine. But how exactly was Roma supposed to go about this? She should just be blunt, just come right out with it and ask. But it just...it wasn't that easy. It should have been. Especially for someone like Roma. Roma usually preferred to be blunt. Beating around the bush did nothing but make room for misunderstandings. She had put this off for so long. Now it was finally here, and she still couldn't managed to push herself into getting it over with.

Roma made herself look Zoe's way, though she still didn't look her in the eyes. Not that there wasn't anything else to look at, of course. Zoe was a knock-out. She had always had a killer body, even more so now that her powers had taken over her shape to lure in potential meals. Roma had once envied that body, and at another time hated it for the competition it was. Now she admired it, lusted after it. Zoe was so good at reading her. Had she detected Roma's attraction to her? Up until now, Roma had done everything to hide it. She had to make sure she knew what she wanted, that she was sure about her feelings. She couldn't have risked leading Zoe on if she changed her mind later. She had already given the poor girl enough confusing mixed signals already.

"Right to the point, huh?" Roma spared an uncomfortable half smile. She resisted calling Zoe 'slutubus,' Zoe's own pet-name that had started as an insult. It was funny how much Roma used to be in the dark about her own nickname and Zoe's that she made up herself. She hadn't known Zoe was a succubus when she gave her that name, and she hadn't known until recently how offensive Miliy was supposed to have been. That Russian lesson had been particularly interesting, laughing about how oblivious she was, but how the endearment suited her regardless and so it stuck.

"Well, you've been doing a lot better. We've been going out more often and stuff." Roma paused, taking a sip of her drink. Damn this pathetic stalling. Why did this have to be so hard?! "Do you think you'll be ready to start dating again soon?"

Damnit, she was making this so much more complicated than it had to be. Roma told herself that she needed to ask that question first, to make sure that she wouldn't be putting something before Zoe that she wasn't ready to handle. But that was bullshit. It was an excuse and she knew it.

"Zoe? Hey, girl."

Roma jumped very slightly and looked past Zoe to see a boy on the other side of her. It was one of Zoe's old contacts, one who had once been a fairly consistent meal. He was leaning against the counter grinning at her. Roma's eyes narrowed a bit and looked back at her drink, waiting for Zoe to dismiss him. The two girls were such opposites. Roma being so reclusive, dressing so casually and regarding strangers with such an unapproachable attitude. Zoe dressed as though she was always somewhere special, and she was such a social butterfly. That had changed after the attack, but she was slowly acting a little more like that old self. And that was good. Roma wanted to encourage it, so she made an effort not to snap at Zoe's old pals that came up to speak with her like she used to do sometimes. That would have only perpetuated the girl's withdrawn state.

The boy spared Roma an acknowledging nod, but she wasn't paying attention. "What's going on? I haven't heard from you in a...Oh, wow, these real?" He pointed at her horns, as though having just now noticed them. "Cool. So yeah, where you been?"
"My brain makes the best decisions for everyone except me."

~ The Dude
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Aithne
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Aithne
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5:18 AM - Jul 31, 2015 #4

"Right to the point, huh?" Zoe quirked an eyebrow, a smirk weakly tugging at her lips. What was the point of beating around the bush. Besides that, what was 'the point' she was referring to? She was questioning Roma's tense demeanor. How else was she going to ask what was wrong, ask about the weather, compliment her hair, order her another drink? No! She'd just come out and ask. Zoe felt comfortable with Roma(and only Roma lately) that she didn't have to dance around conversations.

"Well, you've been doing a lot better. We've been going out more often and stuff." She didn't respond. Instead, she sipped her drink, observing the other girl.

"Do you think you'll be ready to start dating again soon?"
Both eyebrows raised at the question. Her head tilt to the side, a confusion bare in her purple eyes. What brought that on? Zoe was going out in public once again, but only a few weeks ago, Ken had chased her up a building. He smashed Violett into the ground. No one told her, but she knew he'd still come after her once he was out of the hospital. Zoe spent most of her time with Roma. Occasionally, she'd wander to somewhere entertaining, while still located in a metahuman safe area, to find some extra food. Nothing more. Zoe felt her main priority was Roma, despite a majority of the danger subsiding.

Zoe was about to respond, when she heard a noise. It startled her, and she turned to see the boy. Her features quickly shifted to a pleasantly neutral expression.

"Zoe? Hey, girl." She gave a smile, her eyes drifting off to the side, while her hand toasted a drink at him in acknowledgement.

"What's going on? I haven't heard from you in a...Oh, wow, these real?"
He literally pointed at her horns. Mothers tell their children not to stare, where was his mother when she taught him not to openly gawk at something. Pointing at them, wow. Her brow knit slightly. Yet, he did seem to recover instantly. At least he wasn't freaked out by them like some. Those people suspected the source of her horns, she was touched by darkness.

"Cool. So yeah, where you been?"


"Busy, which I actually still am as of right now." she told him, her big purple eyes blinking at him innocently, while her tone said otherwise. That way, if he asked her later why she had been rude dismissing him(if he didn't buy the act), then she could play dumb and laugh off his assumption as paranoia.
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Newlight
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9:40 AM - Aug 02, 2015 #5

wrote:"Busy, which I actually still am as of right now."
Roma huffed a small laugh at the little quip. She was used to Zoe taking shots at people that bothered them, snapping at people to leave her alone. She liked it, because Roma didn't like people. She liked being around Zoe, even before when they were just starting to hang out and scheme together. But back then, everywhere Zoe went she demanded everyone's attention. People would always come up and try to talk to her. They'd either ignore the antisocial Roma, or try in vain to start a conversation with her in hopes of getting Zoe's attention. Zoe had been a social butterfly, and she had been comfortable in a crowd. Roma hadn't been. Back then if Zoe hadn't thought to dismiss them, Roma would wander off and come back after they were done talking.

But after the attack Roma always enjoyed a nice solitude with Zoe. The girl couldn't handle too much company, and she snapped at those who tried to entertain her. She sent them all away, choosing to spend her time only with Roma. Roma had gotten used to this, and she did like it. But eventually she had come to realize how unhealthy it was for someone like Zoe. She needed people. That was her normality. And denying it only delayed her recovery. The more the girl improved, the less rude she was to those who bothered them. Even now she seemed mostly nice about it. Nice by Roma's standards anyway. These days Zoe was even brave enough to venture out of the dorm by herself, and Roma doubted that she was totally ignoring people then. She didn't want Zoe to get used to sending people away when they hung out. It would be bad for them later once Zoe recovered and tried to be social again. She wouldn't want Roma to isolate her then.

So as much as she wanted to Zoe to get rid of him, maybe that wasn't the best idea.

"Oh, sorry. I'm interrupting something?" The boy glanced at Roma, and was surprised to see her look his way and shake her head.

"Nah. Don't worry about it. We were just talking." Zoe may not want to talk to this boy right now, but it would be good for her. A little normal socialization, the kind Zoe used to thrive on. It was nothing to be afraid. Roma stood, slipping her hand out of Zoe's and rubbing it over her shoulder in a supportive way as she stood. Roma knew how much Zoe depended on her and she didn't mind, but a crutch wasn't meant to walk for a person, it was supposed to help a person learn to walk again. She wouldn't be abandoning Zoe here, simply giving her a nudge back to normality. Besides, Zoe went out without Roma sometimes these days. What could a few minutes hurt?

"You guys talk for a bit. I'll be back." Roma gave Zoe a faint smile and wandered away. She lingered at the end of the bar for a few moments, wondering just what to do. Leaving them alone for a bit was a little awkward if she was going to just stand there without a place to go. After a second or two her eyes caught the bathroom door, and she retreated into the girls' room.

"Huh. You know, I think that's the nicest thing she's ever said to me." The boy, Sota, gave a light chuckle as he took a seat next to Zoe. He welcomed himself to the invitation Roma gave him for her, despite her initial dismissing. He figured Zoe had just been shoeing him away to make her reclusive friend happy. And now that said friend had given him clearance, he couldn't think of any reason why Zoe wouldn't want to talk to him. She had done a number on him before the second attack. Charmed him into a heavy admiration for her, and had left him with a faint craving for her touch a few days after each meeting. Every few seconds his eyes flicked to her lips or her hands, the craving reawakened now that the source was so easily in reach.

"I've missed having you around, Zoe," Sato said. "I heard about what happened with your ex. That's really shitty. Wish I could have helped. Americans guys, you know." He shrugged. "You never know what to expect with those."

He waved the bartender over, who knew to give him the same beer he always ordered. He took a sip and grinned at her. "You look fantastic. You know that? God, you look great." He shook his head and took another sip.
"My brain makes the best decisions for everyone except me."

~ The Dude
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Aithne
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Aithne
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2:54 AM - Aug 12, 2015 #6

"Oh, sorry. I'm interrupting something?" Zoe quirked an eyebrow. She wasn't quite sure how he didn't comprehend what she said. Yes, you are intruding, now leave. She wanted to say to he daft boy, yet Roma surprisingly spoke from behind her.

"Nah. Don't worry about it. We were just talking."
Zoe leaned back in her stool so she might observe Roma without completely twisting her head around in a rash motion. Her way was more articulated and less obvious. She eyed the girl, keeping her face pleasantly neutral.

"You guys talk for a bit. I'll be back. Her eyes glinted momentarily, yet her horns obscured the boy's view of the expression.

"Huh. You know, I think that's the nicest thing she's ever said to me." Zoe heard this as her eyes were watching Roma walk away. She wasn't entirely sure what angle Roma was going for. She seemed pleasant enough leaving, perhaps she should take it at face value. On the flip side, Zoe knew Roma generally disliked the men that lingered around Zoe like moths to a flame. Did this have something to do with her 'dating' question? Zoe's face transformed as she turned to look at her would-be suitor. A smile on her face, eyes half-lidded as she observed him, read him like a book and judging how to respond to this without outright rejecting him. She could get a snack though...

"I've missed having you around, Zoe, I heard about what happened with your ex. That's really shitty. Wish I could have helped. American guys, you know. You never know what to expect with those."

Everyone knew what happened with Ken. How could they not? The mammoth dude went raging through the student body, wrecking people all in the hopes of killing her. She had managed to escape into the jungle, Roma having to come and find her. Zoe's smile wavered momentarily, that fearful feeling in her gut rising. She urged it down. This boy was just stupid and insensitive. The smile widened once more as she watched him with mirthful purple eyes.

"You look fantastic. You know that? God, you look great."
She noticed a sudden twitch of his hand. Yup, just as she thought. Some of her victims seemed to overcome the addiction, others sought it out. Her hand reached forward, laid over top of his.

"Thank you...How about another round for some beautiful women, hm?" She asked, her accent thick. The boys seemed to find the voice husky and exotic. She played right into what he wanted, but ultimately he'd be dismissed. A couple rounds of drinks, maybe an appetizer and they'd be leaving for home. He was not invited.
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Newlight
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4:44 AM - Aug 12, 2015 #7

Sato shuddered when she grabbed his hand. He had to take a moment to close his eyes and take it in. He hadn't realized how starved he had been for the sweet feeling until it had been handed to him again. He had he managed to go on without it for so long?
wrote:"Thank you...How about another round for some beautiful women, hm?"
He opened his eyes and grinned at her. "Of course," he said, weaving his fingers around hers. He motioned the bartender over. "Another round for them, whatever they were having."

Sato waited until the bartender had left to look back at her. He squeezed her hand, taking in a pulse of the wonderful feeling, and hummed. He shook his head, a light blush on his cheeks. He was putty in her hand it was a little embarrassing.

"Man, you're so great," he told her. "I've gotta have you around more often. You can't keep me hanging like this." He laughed, squeezing her hand again. "When can I see you again?"
"My brain makes the best decisions for everyone except me."

~ The Dude
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Aithne
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2:56 AM - Aug 23, 2015 #8

"Of course, Another round for them, whatever they were having."

Zoe smiled graciously. Although Zoe curbed her former gold-digging schemes, at least the fool could buy them drinks. Sato squeezed her hand affectionately. She saw the rush of red to his skin. Had she really worked him over so well before? He had been one of those unremarkable faces and personalities that really did not shine through clearly. She didn't remember him very well, but he seemed to think they were the best of friends.

"Man, you're so great, I've gotta have you around more often. You can't keep me hanging like this. When can I see you again?"

Their drinks arrived. She had turned sideways in her chair. One elbow on the bar, hand in his. She raised her free hand, gingerly trailing fingers along the side of his face. It was a delicate brush, the barest caress. A smile on her lips as those glowing eyes were hauntingly seductive. Her head tilted. It was sad how easily human males were conquered by beautiful women. In Zoe's care, he was absolutely powerless.

"I'm here often enough...unless...you'd like to go somewhere else?" She said. It seemed like gentle murmurs, yet had to be loud enough in the boisterous bar. She was baiting him. He probably assumed something more sensual than the Domino entertainment district. It had been a while since she went shopping...She and Roma could have a nice day out on this guy's dime. It was the least he could do after interrupting their conversation...
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Newlight
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8:37 AM - Aug 24, 2015 #9

wrote:"I'm here often enough...unless...you'd like to go somewhere else?"
Sato shivered when Zoe traced her fingers along his face. Every inch of him trembled. He wanted more.

"Anywhere you want," he said after too long of a pause. He gave her a goofy smile, his eyes looking like they were just about to drift shut. "I'm off tomorrow, actually. You want to do something?"

Roma splashed her face with water and leaned over the sink. She took a deep breath, sighed, and reached for a paper towel. The dispenser, shitty as it was, was jammed, and she could only pull pieces off. She tried a second time, then another, and then gave it a smack. Okay...maybe it was more a punch. The plastic flew open, hit the wall, and busted against it. Roma groaned and ripped a few paper towels off.

You're acting like such a child, Tengoku said,It's unbelievable.

Roma glared into the mirror. Tengoku only experienced the world through Roma's senses. It was the only way to really 'look' at her when she was awake.

You're only giving me that look because you know I'm right, she said. You're a warrior. You have enemies. You don't have time to be wasting on that kind of foolishness.

"I can make that call for myself," Roma said.

Oh please. Look at yourself. You're pathetic. There are people trying to kill you. And you're greatest concern is...

"Would you SHUT UP please?! I don't give a shit what you have to say! Fuck off and leave me alone."

I'd like to. Unfortunately we don't have that option anymore, do we?

Roma opened her mouth to say something, then a toilet flushed behind her and a girl walked out of a stall. They awkwardly avoided eye contact while she washed her hands, and spared Roma an odd look just as she left.

This is a distraction, master. You have more important things to worry about. You don't need that succubus to sustain you anymore. You have me to bar the curse now, so move on. The more time you spend around that kind of creature, the harder it is to leave it when you have to.

"Its name is Zoe," said Roma, her eyes burning into her reflection. "And we are done talking about this."

Roma walked out, seeing that Sato and Zoe were still talking. She paused, seeing that Zoe was touching the guy, but then remembered that it was just the way she fed. Okay...well it wasn't like Roma expected her to sit through a conversation with some dumb guy and *not* get a snack out of it. After a calming breath, she headed over.

When he saw that Roma was coming back, Sato smiled and stood. He was reluctant to leave, but he knew better than to test Roma Mariano's patience. It was weird enough that she had just stepped away and let them talk. Better not push it. He wasn't necessarily worried about irritating Roma, but he knew that Zoe wouldn't appreciate it if he did.

"I'll see you then, Zoe," he said, slipping away from her. He gave her shoulder an affectionate rub as he left. He tried to turn a smile towards Roma, but she wasn't looking at him.

Roma took a sip of the new drink before her, waiting until Sato was a reasonable distance before looking over to watch where he sat. He took a table in the far corner of the room, resuming his conversation with the friends he had came with, but still stealing a lot of glances Zoe's way. Roma resisted rolling her eyes and looked back at the drink. It was awkwardly silent for a few seconds. Roma had to get the conversation rolling again so they could get back to where they left off.

"So. He seemed...decent,"
Roma said. She didn't know the guy well, so naturally she gave him the disadvantage of the doubt. She assumed he was annoying and stupid, and couldn't really think of anything nice to say.

"What did he want?"
"My brain makes the best decisions for everyone except me."

~ The Dude
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Aithne
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Aithne
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8:38 PM - Sep 15, 2015 #10

"So. He seemed...decent, What did he want?"

Zoe watched him toddle off before she spun the stool toward the bar. A soft smile on her lips as she gave a side glanced toward Roma. She gave a nonchalant shrug while her manicured fingers delicately twisted the stem on her glass.

"What else would he want." She stated quite flatly. Zoe was well acqueinted with the fact people wanted her for very few things. Her body or the phermone it gave off. Zoe used that to her advantage, playing off people's persceptions of her for personal gain. Most of them could care less about her personal tastes or qualities.

Zoe turned a bit more so she could face Roma. A smile spread across her painted lips.

"We set up a little shopping trip, I had hoped you'd join us...for a little fun on his dime." Zoe had been trying to retify those manipulative ways of her...yet she viewed it as the means to an end. She didn't have a job and wanted to do somethng nice for Roma. Zoe's mental justification for this might be skewed, but ultimately her intentions were good.
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