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Cloud Nine
(2013-01-19 - 2013-01-20)
Truth, Justice and Pie. Isn't that what Kingdom Hearts is made of?
Riku The door to the street opens. Although it never rains in Traverse town, water drips onto the floor from a tightly woven cloak still wet from the consequences of an evening storm somewhere. Riku stands at the edge of Cloud Nine, a boot placed in the doorjam to keep the door in place as he stares at the sign over the door, shifting his gaze to the smaller one to the left of the doorway. There is a flyer in his hand that he neatly folds and tucks away in a back pocket. His nose wrinkles at the 'half boiled style' and he snorts faintly, hands trembling faintly as his foot pivots.

Almost he strides right back out onto the street. He should at least have come here as.. No. He was doing things in the wrong order again. There would be time for that, but that time was not yet.

The floor squeaks as the teenager shifts his weight enough for the door to completely close behind him with another soft chime and a muted click.

Riku reaches up, fingering the hood before sliding it down and running gloved hands through his hair with agitation. This.. this was a very good way to get shot.

He had to do this. His thoughts kept returning to the same places, to the same people. The teenager wasn't sure he could bear it if this.. this whatever it was lasted forever. His eyes roam the interior, aquamarine and bereft of the luminous yellow that frequently haunts him. "..Hello?"
Mercade Alexander It's quiet in Cloud Nine tonight. The place is only just getting advertised as being open, so there isn't a great deal of crowd. Just a couple people here and there being served by a serious-looking blue-eyed guy.

But there's also a man in a trenchcoat sitting at the bar, looking down into a glass of soda as if it was some whiskey.

Mercade didn't like drinking late.

Eyes shift at the chime, and the sound of the familiar voice cutting through the low music. Perhaps no one else would have really considered it a major thing, but Mercade knew that voice. He knew who was there.

He looks over his shoulder, as if to verify what his ears were hearing, and he pauses. "Riku." He says... And then he looks back at the bar. He gestures to the seat next to him at the bar, being empty. "You wouldn't have come here if you didn't have something you wanted to say. Let's hear it."
Riku Riku glances over at the other patrons briefly before he makes his way over to the bar. He takes the gloves off his hands, tucking them away in a pocket as he sits down.

He puts a hand on the counter, studying the grain of the wood as he says to the counter. Riku takes a piece of paper from underneath his jacket. He studies it for awhile before placing it on the counter. He pushes it over towards Mercade with two fingers.

It's a slightly battered picture of the TDA, around Thanksgiving. "Will gave this to me in his.. well.." he gestures as if in exasperation. "The thing that he does." he sighs faintly. "I still don't understand why he doesn't hate me like everyone else has managed. I thought after a while I would understand, but I haven't-- not really, so maybe you should have this back." he pauses, then continues. "But.. I still need help. I appear to have mislaid my friends. And--" he drops his voice lower.

"And I know it's not something that I can never take back, but Sora is still out there. I know he is, and I know he's in danger. And Kairi.." he frowns. "She needs to be rescued. Even from me. --What must I do for you to curb your scorn long enough to help me?" he shrugs. "I am.. in need of a detective." he gestures to the surroundings. "--even one whom I have driven to drink."
Mercade Alexander The wood is a fine polished mahogany. Tifa pulled a good chunk of change from Xanatos when she made her deal with him, and they took advantage of it to make the Cloud Nine a nice place. That said, Mercade made sure the rest of the building was TDA-funded. It felt wrong to him to keep depending on Xanatos to make or break it, especially in these situations... And regardless of the true nature of Xanatos Industries.

The Detective listens Riku as he approaches, and he looks over at the photograph. He picks it up for a moment, holding it in two fingers as he takes a drink of his bubbly soda. There is a glint of something in his eyes, and he looks away, rubbing at his face.

"Is it hate you want?" Mercade asks. His voice shakes slightly, as if he is trying to hold something in. "I thought I could hate you, Riku. But hate grates on me. It felt like it was... hollowing me out. It wasn't a pleasant feeling."

He sets the photo back down. "I might not say I fully understand what happened, but I will say this: Will is desperate. He looked into the abyss and found it not just staring back, but laughing. He is afraid of that thing inside him. More afraid than even you were. He can't hate you because he understands what you saw. And I can't hate you. Not anymore."

He turns, looking to Riku. "I've gotten over my grief, in no small part to learning some things from some good people. I don't have scorn for you anymore. You're going to be carrying this, no matter what happens, for the rest of your life. But what you do about is up to you. It always has been."

He pushes the photo back to Riku. "This belongs to you. Will was telling you something when he gave it to you." Mercade gestures to the bartender. "Get him a drink. Or some food. Whatever he wants, put it on my tab."

Mercade looks back to Riku. "In case you were wondering... I haven't stopped looking for them. Nor will I."
Riku Riku silently pulls the photo in front of himself and looks down at it. "Hate would be something I understand." he replies, voice quiet. "I live in a place that echoes with it. Hate and malice and.." he frowns slightly. "and desperation. And apathy. I am surrounded by those who don't care who they hurt. Some claim they are only protecting themselves. Others say it is for the love of a country." he picks the picture up and turns it face down on the counter, laying his hand on top of it.

"Some might still be saved or see something worth saving. Others build as much as they destroy." he slowly turns in the stool to look over towards Mercade. " I've seen the harm.. the pain I've inflicted on you and your people and, I don't belong with them." he sighs, leaving the rest of that statement unsaid. "Did he go on his own after all, huh?" Riku shakes his head, very lightly drumming his fingers on top of the picture. He slides it off the counter and carefully tucks it away. "I can understand looking for answers. I hope he finds the ones I didn't. "

Riku looks up towards the ceiling, trying not to sound very hard like he was trying to keep his voice from shaking. "..and you haven't found anything have you. No. Of course not." The teenager closes his eyes slowly and sits there in the stool, completely still.

"Unbelievable." he mutters the words irately to himself. "You stupid, brain dead excuse for a--" he trails off and just punctuates his last remark with an explosive sigh of frustration. "Sora.. "
Mercade Alexander Mercade nods as Riku describes his situation. "He'll look for answers. He'll look better with some help. We're giving him what we can, but I don't know if I can follow him everywhere he needs to go."

Mercade doesn't smile right now. It's not smiling time. The ship doesn't need to run right now. "I dnn't worry about them. Right now, it's you I'm concerned about. that you're here shows a certain level of self-examination that they seem to lack in general."

Riku's frustration causes Mercade to shake his head. "I can't imagine what he's doing out there either." He does know that look. That's the 'dammit Sora!' look, "But right now I just hope he's safe. We'll see him again, and I'm sure you both will have a lot of catching up to do." From how Riku looks, Mercade is sure that a good amount of that 'catching up' will put dents in walls.
Riku Riku rubs the bridge of his nose, his frustration giving way to resignation. "Maybe." he lets his eyes trace the room, quietly ordering and receiving a soda from the bartender that he seems to have acquired only for the purpose of looking into and examining rather than drinking it.

He picks up the glass, staring at the reflected light as he shifts his hand back and forth. "Again I seem to be getting something for nothing." he shakes his head as if discarding the notion.

"No. Not nothing. Mercade, do you believe a system can be changed from the inside? Or is that something people tell themselves when ideas change them instead of the other way around."
Mercade Alexander Mercade drinks some of his soda, and thinks about the question for a bit. "Are you really? Or is it more that I'm not the one who's charging you?" He smiles, finally. "Don't worry about it, Riku." The question comes up of systems, and the Detective thinks. "If your idea is strong enough, maybe you can find a way to change them. I don't know what system you're seeking to change, but if you have a plan, give it a try. What's the worst that can happen?" Well, we've already seen that, but it can't possibly be that twice, right?

Or is Riku working on the title of King of Bad Decisions?
Riku Riku gestures around at the bar as if to point out a silent answer to that question. He makes a gesture in the air with one hand as if to mime something exploding but just doesn't articulate it into words.

He takes a long drink of the soda, muttering. "At least you're not singing this time. That was it's own punishment." into the glass as he puts it down on the counter carefully.

He closes his eyes, screwing his eyes shut as his shoulders tense with suppressed energy. The teenager forces his muscles to relax one group at a time, head tilted slightly to the side as he fights against a knot of trapped and semi-hysterical panic.

He was not being facetious when saying he did not understand the situation which Will had begun and now.. and now it seems Mercade has lapsed into. Perhaps they were simply better at being people.

"I am done with them. I am done with /her/. I am.. once Kairi is safe, I am leaving this behind me." he chuckles, although it is more a reason to expel the horrible tension he's built up than a sound of amusement. "I'm sorry. This.. feels too much like before, and since it can't be that, it must be a trap." he says this in a flatly self depreciating tone, his face frozen in an annoyed expression. "Which tells you a little more than I wanted to say about the company I keep."
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart was hiding in the back store for a while. Opening a bar also means making sure there's nothing missing. And keeping busy, time sure flies. Suddenly its the middle of the night. She only noticed because she realized she was getting a bit tired and looked at the time. "Well, that should be enough for one day..." She states to noone in particular really. She's used to talking alone, really.

She hears some voices from the bar as she steps back toward the main room. She hms, and leans against the doorframe of the stockroom, just listening in for a moment. She doesn't want to disturb the conversation, really. She knows of Mercade's voice, but she doesn't remember the other one yet.
Mercade Alexander "You've always been super-serious, haven't you?" Mercade replies to Riku. He chuckles. "Sora must drive you insane, and I guess hanging out with us wasn't that much better in some ways. Things get kind of wacky." He pauses. "Though not nearly half as much as the Shard Seekers, I bet."

Mercade turns on the barstool, leaning up against it as he continues. "You're certainly... were? I suppose that's the right word for it. Were... the only Shadow Lord with a conscience I've seen, Riku." Mercade says, looking over to him. "It's why I keep wanting to trust you. It'll never be like it was before... But then, everything changes in time."
Riku "You have no idea." Riku snorts in response to the comment about Sora. "But I learned early on what I should have figured out with Reize, who is even worse than him. You can't beat sense into someone who has jello for brains. It will just absorb the shocks." he gestures with the soda in frustration before taking another sip.

His moments slow until he is staring thoughtfully at the corner. He looks at Mercade sideways and corrects him. "Am. Mercade. It's not going to go away because I bury it and try to ignore the darkness." he tilts the soda, swishing the remaining liquid around as he oberves the movements. "Someone.. offered the help me. To.." he shakes his head.

"I don't agree with much of what they are doing, but ignoring this ended up with storytime and cheeseburgers, but erred more on the side of mental breakdown than not." he grumbles. "I've had enough of that certainly. If I ever see that boat again, it will be /far/ too soon."

Riku realizes far past the threshold value of no return that he's talked more in this one conversation than in any double handful in memory. He used to think he was better at deflecting than this. Riku blinks twice as if confused or just realizing this, then shakes his head slightly as if to dispel the nagging fear. What did it matter anymore. All he could do was pretend, pretend.. and it was better if it lasted just a little bit longer.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart decides to make her presence known around that time, walking through the door. She moves over to the two, taking a rag to clean the spll from Riku's soda wriggling motions. She smiles doing so, just taking care of her work "Wielding darkness is not the problem in itself, its what you do with it." She states simply. She doesn't elaborate, but a girl like her not being a 'pure hearted' usually clues that she's hiding something of her own. Most people don't pay attention to that kind of detail though.

"Before you break down, that's why you talk to people and seek help. Its those that decide to be alone in their misery that are lost in the end. As long as you can get the support of people around you, there's always a way out."
Mercade Alexander "Thankfully, Reize doesn't need his head to get the job done." Mercade laughs... But then he pauses as Riku mentions his situation. "So you've been offered help to do... what? You're leaving some important things out. Who's offering to help you to do what, and why don't you agree with them?"

Tifa makes her presence known, and Mercade waves to her. "Hey Tifa!" He calls, and then looks over to Riku. "See? That's some good advice."
Riku Riku starts to frown as Tifa comes through the door. He looks from her to the spilt soda and his expression calcifies as he quickly raises the glass to his lips and finishes off the remaining soda. He carefully places the glass back on the table, rising from the stool and gathering his cloak around him.

A flicker of anger passes across his eyes, just a flash of yellow here and gone in an instant. "I wasn't aware I was speaking that loudly." he notes in a suddenly weary voice. The teenager wanders over to the jukebox, laying a hand on the top and pretending to be looking over the selections while he gets his temper back under control.

When he returns, he smirks lopsidedly at Mercade. "Is it? Well well." he snorts faintly. "Maybe it is." he takes a seat again. " ..maybe the whole truth this time. Shock and amazement." he says these two words so dryly they practically draw moisture out of the general atmosphere. "But not here. When I go and where I go has already been.. unpleasant for me when people catch up."
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart shakes her head "You weren't talking that loud, but I was right next to the door to catch the tail end of it." She's not one to pry really, but she's trying to help. She picks up the empty glass, putting it over to clean later.

She glances over to Riku as he speaks like that. Well, that sure seems to be a troubled youth there. "How about you leave where you went behind, and concentrate on where you're going next then? Its not like we can change the past, but we can do the best we can with the hand we're dealt..." She looks a bit down at that too. She has her own story after all, one she didn't tell many people yet either. And yet she's almost always upbeat and keeping a positive outlook somehow.
Mercade Alexander "Fair enough." Mercade says, suddenly feeling the need to drain off his soda. Damn, that was dry as hell. "Unpleasantness isn't going to keep me away, Riku. I'm tired of running away." He says, and then continues. "Anyway, whenever you're willing to talk, Riku, I'll be here. And Tifa too, if you want, or whoever else. There's something I wanted to ask you about, too, regardless." He pauses, looking over at his empty glass.

"We're working on recovering the Shards of Manhattan. They're out there, waiting for us. But we need help. We don't know where to go to find all of them. If you happen to find out... Would you be able to give us a hand? I already know you can go where we can't."
Riku Riku gathers himself up and offers Tifa a thin lipped smile. There is still anger leaking around the edges of the expression but it seems more self-directed than anything. "Yes. That's the theory, at least."

He looks over at Mercade and nods.

"And yes. I will help you get your home back. It won't make up for taking it away, but.. it's a start." he snorts, taking the gloves out of his pocket and putting them on.

"Funny how I always seen to run just fast enough to stay in the same place." he smirks, pulling the hood over his face. He inclines his head to Tifa politely, scanning the room a last time before turning to leave.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart waves to Riku as well "You come back whenever you want, if you need someone to confide into. That's also the job of a barmaid after all." She smiles kindly "Oh, we also try to give out good advice, but it doesn't always work, we're only human after all." She kids a bit, but at least she offered to be a good listener.

If she could only apply her own advice sometimes, she'd probably be alot happier.

This scene contained 19 poses. The players who were present were: Riku, Mercade Alexander, Tifa Lockhart