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Totally Not A Date
(2013-01-12 - 2013-05-09)
Mercade and Avira go to La Cite Des Cloches to visit the wonderous Notre Dame, enjoy the sights and sounds of the city, and enjoy some fine dining as the sun sets over the Seine. And it's totally not a date.
Mercade Alexander Avira's return to human form brings joy to Mercade's heart. He isn't sure how it happened (he's figureing the cure from Merlin FINALLY worked), but he's not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

But he wanted to hang out with Avira. But not just anywhere. He went looking for places to go...

That's about when he went exploring in the Old Kingdom, almost ran afoul of Riku, and then ran into /RENAISSANCE-ERA PARIS/. HELL YES.

Mercade walks through the streets with Avira, watching the chaos of a living, breathing city. "You know, I never would have expected something like this to be out here. These worlds are amazing. I don't know if I could make sense out of it..." He stops at a bakers', acquiring a couple of small cakes and handing one to his companion with the use of a little bit of coinage. "But it's certainly a wonder."
Avira Hey as long as she's back to normal, right? She hasn't been called upon to do anything for Hades yet so it seems there was no problem, right? It felt nice to get back to being human and back to trying to really better herself! That mutate form was so much stronger but it didn't felt like strength she earned at all.

An invitation to 'hang out' is met with enthusiasm from Avira. Paris? Sure!

"It's kind of surprising." Avira remarks, accepting the little cake. A bright smile is on her face, reflecting the excited tone in her words. "Like we've gone back in time even...this does count as Earth right?"
Mercade Alexander Mercade noms on the delicious cake, walking along the cobblestone streets. The bells of Notre Dame ring in the distance, a musical accompaniment to their progress. "I don't know. This could be Earth. But it's nothing like anything else I've seen before." He smiles, watching people pass by, some dressed in peasant clothing, others in more fine robes and tunics. Guards bear heavy metal armor and look competent with their dangerous medieval weaponry. "I'm so happy to see that you're back to normal, Avira. There's a lot to catch up on." He looks up. "There's that whole thing with the World Shard, and then there's that Shard-detecting metal... And your work with VALKYRI. When is this maid cafe opening, anyway?"
Avira At the faint sound of the bells off in the distance, Avira actually stops, straining to hear and realizing that they come from the magnificent cathedral that this city is famous for. "...let's go see that, Mercade. Let's go see the cathedral." Reaching over, Avira actually tugs on Mercade's arm.

"Well I was trying to stay caught up even as a mutate." Avira laughs defensively as she moves a little closer to Mercade, "But I'm glad I'm back to being human. And with out that...uh...pain. Hmm, oh, thaaat..."

There's a hint of embarassment upon her face! "Well it's only for a day. But it should be opening soon. We need to make sure all the proper people are attending. Whyyyy are you going to goooo?" she teases.
Mercade Alexander Mercade doesn't need any encouragement. He immediately alters direction, heading towards the massive cathedral. It's a Wonder of the World, and like hell is he going to pass up seeing it. Avira wanting to go there is a nice bonus. "Hell yes, Notre Dame. I've never had the chance to see it back home, and well..." He pauses. "I guess there's no time like the present!"

He grins, staying close to Avira as they progress. Festively-garbed jesters entertain some people as they pass, and Mercade tosses them a coin.

"I mean more, you don't have to hide anymore. You can just be yourself." He grins, leaning in a bit. "Though I bet to some people, your normal appearance might be even scarier." He pauses. "The pain is gone? That's good... You really had me worried there."

The teasing causes Mercade to straighten up a bit. "Well... It's for charity, right? I figured I'd show up to see the Shard Seekers applying themselves productively for a change, at least." He seems only slightly evasive. "Maids aren't really my... thing." He shrugs. "I'm more, well..." He thinks for a moment, and then he pauses, looking away and caughing. "Aaaanyway."
Avira "What a coincidence." Avira says, sounding coy, "I've never seen it myself either~" Of course, she's never left the United States before-at least before the whole world ending thing. Still, this doesn't seem to trigger any misery and sullenness for Avira. She's in an oddly good mood!

"It's all so colorful here." she remarks, watching a jester dance himself by, jingling with bells.

"Oh, right, yes. Ahaha-" Don't have to hide anymore wasn't really true. But at least her secret was hidden well, right? "Haha, well, maybe to the weak hearted!" She edges a little closer to Mercade as they walk. "But it is. All that darkness didn't feel...right inside of me, you know?"

A smirk appears on her face when Mercade becomes evasive. "Oh, so you're coming to see the Shard Seekers hard at work in maid uniforms, eh? More of a...what...?"
Mercade Alexander The pair walk into the great plaza before the Cathedral, giving them an excellent view of the amazing statuary across the front. The bells of the Cathedral ring out, extolling good Catholic virtue to those who listen in their own way. Or perhaps they're saying something different? Who can know what riddles and rhymes the bells impart?

Mercade is in a good mood himself, but it probably has nothing to do with never leaving the US himself. "People keep focusing on the misery of these times, but there were a lot of good things too. People laughed, created, wondered and worked. They made good things with their own two hands, and found ways to improve the lot of themselves and their families." He laughs. "In a lot of ways, it hasn't changed at all."

He nods as Avira explains her situation. "I couldn't imagine what it was like. I hope I never have to go through what you did, but... It's because, I think, you never wanted it. You could have taken it and used it, but you didn't. It wasn't really part of you. I know you're stronger than that."

Mercade folds his arms as she presses. "Look, I know you want to see Ivo flailing and completely failing to accomplish anything useful while dressed in a maid outfit."

He looks away, appearing to intently study the front of Notre Dame to hide the expression on his face as he looks upwards. "You don't need to worry about it! Really, everything is fine!" He's bad at this, sometimes.
Avira The language of bells is not lost on Avira. It sounded nice to her-uplifting. Inspiring. As if she would break out into a song at any moment "Ah, everything's wonderful..." she murmurs, lost in the moment.

The words of Mercade seem to snap her out of this moment. "Misery-oh, right, with the Inquisition and plague and all that stuff." Was this plague time, she had to wonder? History wasn't her strong suit and who's to say this place really was Earth anyway with exact earth history? "Isn't there always some misery a part of life?"

She pauses, a look of guilt on her face. She did use the darkness a few times. She did tap into it to enhance her strength and magic. It felt good sometimes and at that same time, it horrified her.

A lighter subject banishes those thoughts, "Ahahah, yes I do. I bet he'll be too distracted to get anything done." Between her VALKYRI and the Shard Seekers females...

Unfortunately for Mercade, Avira is intently studying him. "Ohhh, but Mr. Detective was going to saaaay something." She teases, leaning forward to rest her chin against his shoulder.
Mercade Alexander "Everything is wonderful, right now. Even with everything going on, there's still wonder and beauty in the worlds." Mercade replies, looking back to Avira. "There's always ups and downs. We can't let the downs blind us to the ups." He chuckles. "You keep reminding me of that all the time."

Avira continues to tease and press, and Mercade sighs, reaching over around her shoulder and ruffling her hair from behind. "You're completely incorrigible, Avira. Look, I keep playing detective all the time, what do you think?" He chuckles. "So let's turn it around. What's /your/ type?" Mercade asks. "An adventurous woman of death-defying bravery, a powerful, independant, self-made woman who takes on the world and expects to win. What fires could burn in that heart of yours, huh?" He grins. "I can tell you're certainly popular, based on your friend Ang there."
Avira A bit of surprise settles on Avira's scarred face. Not at Mercade's even-handed treatment of the negativbe and positive things going around right now-but of Avira's own place in it. "Do I..?" she says shyly.

She dips forward from the pressure from Mercade's hand. A short laugh escapes her. "Oh if I had to guess based on that, I'd say you like the classy ladies that come to the door for your help!"

He turns it on to her and Avira looks a little flustered. "Well PLENTY when you put it like that! But I need someone who recognizes all that and loves me in spite of it.
Mercade Alexander "Of course." Mercade replies. "Every time I keep running into tough problems, I keep ending up of thinking what you would say or do to deal with it. You're strong, and the kind of strength you have makes other people around you stronger. I like it."

He grins at the classy ladies comment. "Well, I can't say that it's not nice, but..." He pauses. "I like the style, but not the substance. You see a lot of nasty things as a detective, sometimes. Not all of those 'classy dames' prove that beauty is only skin deep." He looks to Avira, and smiles. "I prefer someone that is strong and beautiful inside. The outside is nice, but it's not what matters most. It's not like I'm some hunk of manly muscled he-manitude myself."

When Avira gets flustered, Mercade chuckles. "I don't think you're going to have any problems with that, Avira. There's a lot of people out there who love you."
Avira Mercade's answer rather surprises Avira. Mercade...looking to her as a symbol of strength? Same with other people. "Really? That'" She smiles gently, "In a way, you too are an inspiration, Mercade. The TDA did not seem like the TDA without you." Referring to that part of time he was missing.

It doesn't stop her from teasing him, though, especially over the whole 'mysterious female' that often frequents detective offices in search of help. "And we both know that half the time, those classy dames are nothing but troublem. Maybe more. The kind of trouble that could seriously endanger a detective." Smirking, she pokes Mercade. "But danger is nothing to you, right?"

A laugh escapes her, "I'll let you in on a little secret. Not all ladies are attracted to manly muscled mans of manitude. Often those types are nothing but that. All muscle. No brain."

She only grows even more flustered. "A..actually...I've certainly started to notice this. And kind of wonder how I would return the favor."
Mercade Alexander "I guess..." Mercade thinks about this for a moment. "I suppose it all means that we really need each other in order to become what we really should be. No one can really do it alone."

He gets poked, and he recoils, laughing. "Hey hey! I wouldn't say that! I'm just some guy, you know? I don't have any amazing magical powers. Things are dangerous, but I'm just doing what I can to deal with it. A lot of it comes from you guys helping!"

Her secret causes Mercade to blink, and laugh. "Well, I guess Magnusson is right out for you, then. He's good and loyal, but I don't think he knows what subtle or thoughtful even means. Still, him and Celina seem to be hitting it off. Next time she gives you trouble, just prod them back about that one. Revenge!" He grins.

The flustering causes Mercade to think, considering things as he looks up at Notre Dame again. "I don't know if I could say how best you'd want to deal with it. I mean, everything is different for each person, you know?" He rubs his chin. "You'd probably need to decide how you want to deal with each person and take it from there. There's a lot of ways to show love and a lot of ways to return it."
Avira Avira actually stops walking for a moment, a distant look on her face. "Yeah..." she says quietly, peering back into her own past, "You really can't do it alone. It's a good thing we all have each other now, right?" Avira's back to smiling, as if that moment had never happened.

"Tch!" Avira pokes Mercade again. "Magic is a tool. Just like my Spine and your guns. Don't pretend that you're powerless, 'cause you're not." Then, dismissively, she waves a hand, "Those two are /so/ into each other, it's hilarious. I'd be surprised if either was still denying it at this point. Well, maybe to avoid ME teasing them but..."

She drifts off, thinking of her own...choices arrayed before her. "Then I have a lot to decide...I've never really dealt with this kind...uh...choice before. Prior to becoming...well, Avira, I really was just a nobody."
Mercade Alexander Mercade waits as Avira thinks over things, and smiles back. "We aren't alone. That's important." He looks away as the bells continue to ring out, heralding the evening hours as the sun begins to set. "Wow, how long have we been here?" Mercade laughs, and looks around. "We should find something to eat. Get a nice view." He begins to lead the way again, walking towards a market square.

He waves a hand as Avira insists about tools. "I'm still working on reassembling my weapon arsenal. Will's got my shotgun and I kind of feel bad about taking it back from him now, you know? I've got some ideas... I picked up a couple things in Goug, and then there's that laser gun I got from the Baron attack recently..." He scratches his chin. "I'm still getting everything together. Still, It's just guns. Anyone can pick up a gun and point it at someone and shoot them. It's not an amazing trick. I have skills, but I guess they don't quite translate to punching Heartless in the face so much." He grins, then tilts his head as Avira brings up Tom and Celina. "I don't think they are at all. They're just taking things slow until Celina decides it's time. Because sure as hell Tom isn't making the decisions. I just wish they'd stop meddling in everyone else's so much."

He wanders among the vendor stalls, picking up some hot meat pies and a bottle of wine, some cheese and bread. Avira's admission causes him to look over his shoulder. "You are anything but a nobody, Avira. You've always been able be like this. I know it's a terrible situation, but when other people might have crumpled and given up, you blossomed and found a way to handle it. I think the same thing would have been the case if... Well, none of this ever happened."
Avira "...quite a while I think." Avira doesn't wear a watch and she doesn't bring out her phone to check, so she just guesses. "Let's...I'm getting kind of hungry, actually." So they're going to have dinner together? Didn't that qualify as a...

Uh. Dinner outing?

"Mercade, you're selling yourself short." Avira huffs, taking one of his hands in both of hers. She manipulates the palm and fingers, forming them up as if he would hold a gun. "Point and shoot, sure, but point and shoot and hit a target? Point and shoot and hit the right target? Point and shoot in the middle of a fight when I gigantic Heartless is baring down on you, claws extended, ready to rip your heart out?" Avira looks up at Mercade, pouting at him just slightly, "That takes /guts/, Mr. Alexander. Willpower. Nerves of steel. You've got something-" she lets his hands go and pokes him in the chest, "-right here. And because of that, you are not powerless."

That aside, a small huff escapes her. "I wish they'd stop teasing /us/."

Following along, Avira admires the wide array of cheeses, occasionally bothering Mercade to get small pieces of the interesting-looking ones for their dinner. "I..I dunno about that...I'm not sure if my life would have gone anywhere if any of this had happened." A smile forms upon her face, "But I have no regrets now. I like where I'm heading. Speaking of..."

Avira tugs on Mercade's arm, "Let's go eat by the river."
Mercade Alexander Dinner Outing. Totally.

God, there's like a dozen people who would be sitting there snickering if they were watching this from afar.

Mercade blinks when Avira takes his hand, pausing for a moment and reddening slightly as she makes a salient point about the requiements of gunplay in an active combat situation. He scratches the back of his head with his other hand, chuckling self-depreciatingly. "You just won't let me be modest around you, will you?" The chuckle because a short laugh when he gets poked in the chest. "No matter what happens, as long as we've got that, it'll work out, eh?"

He shrugs. "They meddle. They do it because they care. It's kind of funny, but very embarassing."

After food and drink has been acquired (and a large number of cheese pieces have been acquired for Avira and himself), he nods. "My thoughts exactly! We should enjoy the view!"

So it is that they find themselves on a bridge with a pefect view of the Seine, able to sit down and enjoy their meal while watching the people. The bells of Notre Dame ring in the distance, singing out their endless tones while Mercade pops open the bottle of wine. "No point in worrying about it now, but I still know that no matter what happens, Avira, I know you're going to make the best of it. You're an excellent person, and you will succeed at anything you put your mind to."
Avira Which is exactly why Avira has told nobody who she is with right now. TDA and VALKYRI alike would tease her all night! And that's no good.

"I think you're being a little too modest." Avira laughs, then releases his hand a little so it's no longer held as a gun. Avira keeps the contact for a few seconds longer before letting them go too.

When she said by the water, Avira was not expecting a bridge, so this turns out to be a pleasant surprise. Once seated, Avira leans towards Mercade, putting all of her own weight down on an arm. "Awwww...Mercade..." Avira sighs inwardly. Where was a hug like this a years ago?

This scene contained 18 poses. The players who were present were: Mercade Alexander, Avira