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Hunting For Frenchmen
(2013-01-23 - 2013-02-12)
Jihl goes hunting for Max, in one of her first few forays outside her world. Hilarity ensues.
Jihl Nabaat A few days later...

There has been a day-long vacation request put in. Jihl Nabaat, is simply, 'going off planet, for some personal research'.

This is both duly terrible and terrifying, and Yaag Rosch probably had a temporary heart attack when he sawn Jihl walking out of Palumpolum in a black dress with orange trimmings, black hose, and her normal heels... and her saber attached to her hip.

(It's permanently attached, one PSICOM soldier jokes where he thinks he can't hear her. The next day, the soldier is assigned to permanent sanitation duty.)

"I'm out." She drawls, before disappearing into portals...

Eventually, she's wandering the French countryside. She's ditched the heels, holding them in her non-primary hand, idly meandering towards, well, something... somewhere.

Maximilien The French countryside is a lovely place for a walk. It's big, it's open, it's lacking in all those modern concepts like /cameras/ and /cars/ and /surveillance/ and /people/; just stretches of open space, rolling hills, beautiful sky, warm weather, and a village and a forest. The old kingdom is really the sort of place for people who get away from it all.

Makes it perfect for a thief.

It's not that Maximilien Amadeus Renaud-Sylvianne lives here; he doesn't really /live/ anywhere. That sort of permanence, attachment, setting down roots, is the sort of thing that leads to captivity, to imprisonment. It's the kind of thing Max got over some time ago; he has no home, not anymore, and he doesn't really want one. A home is a thing for other people; it would just get in his way.

But if he DID have a home, it would be the French countryside.

He hates the French countryside. It reminds him of home, in all the worst ways - subtly not-quite-right, in little ways instead of big sweeping ones. It was so much easier to deal with and accept a world that had dragons and demons and fanciful nightmares; a world that was so close to your own, but just so wrong, with a map that looked a great deal like yours with all the names different...that, the mind just couldn't help but reject.

But still, it's the closest thing he has to a home, and so it's no surprise that he's heading back towards his own little cabin (one of them) in the woods (one of them), a loaf of bread tucked under one arm, a basket of food in the other. There was nothing quite like small vllage food; he'd even paid for all of it legitimately, stopping off to give the sick little girl half his loaf of bread before resuming on his way.

What is a surprise is Jihl's presence here. Max just blunders into her, lost in his own mind - he bumps into her directly, managing to stay up only through his own grace and dexterity. His free hand immediately snaps out to grab her and stabilize her before she falls, reflexive, without thinking; when he sees who it is, his lips spread into a grin.

"Ah, bonjour, ma chere; comment allez-vous? I confess that my day is now lovelier having seen your face~...but what are you doing so far out of your home? You do not strike me as the wandering type."
Jihl Nabaat Jihl is quite capable of walking around stretches of open space and hills, and she's perfectly built for the weather as well, in her light dress and light tights. She may have idly aimed herself for Max, and of course...

They promptly run into each other.

He reaches out to grab her via her shoulder, and she stares back at him for a moment, before a slow smile curls across her lips. (It doesn't quite reach her eyes.)

"Good day, Max." She says. "Just the man I was ... hoping to run into."

"I do like wandering, though."
Maximilien "Oh? Were you hoping to run into me, ma chere?" Max's hand goes from her shoulder to her arm; even with the bread under one arm and the basket in the other, he's perfectly capable of spinning her against him as he did when they first met. He tosses the bread up into the air, sliding his now-free arm around her waist; a little rather impressive flexibility applied a moment later, and the basket comes up over his head, snags the bread, and goes back to its place on his arm as he does so. "I am flattered to hear that, of course; I do not often get lady callers out here. So few people even want to see me, I is so depressing, is it not?"

"So to what do I owe the inestimable pleasure of your radiant beauty?"
Jihl Nabaat Max promptly spins her around and against him, and Jihl promptly throws her head back against his shoulder to watch the bread fly into the air, the green in her eyes sparkling as she tracks the bread falling down into the basket, and then the basket sliding back into place on his arms.

"Well. I'm /slightly/ impressed." She drawls.

She pulls her head back straight, shaking it so that her mussy hair falls back into place.

"You came into Palumpolum, my French thief. I figured it was time a Eden warrior came into your world."
Maximilien "This is not my world, ma chere," Max replies cheerfully. No. No it certainly was not. "But I am pleased to see you nonetheless. Did you simply miss my touch, then, or is there some higher purpose to which I might attribute this visit?"

He tightens his arm around her waist; his fingers brush against her side, checking her for weapons even as he works his affectionate magic. Mustn't be too careless, after all; taking needless risks is how people get killed. "Perhaps you are looking for more than simply some face-to-face with a handsome thief, mmm? Perhaps you are looking for something more..."

Jihl Nabaat "Perhaps not. But yet, with it's rolling hills and beautiful forests, it has a sort of charm to it that... reminds me of you, nonetheless." Jihl says this just as cheerfully back, even as she tilts her head as his hand runs down her side.

"One thigh sheath containing my gun, upper thigh knife holster, sharpened stiletto heels, and my MateriaDrive attached to a holster on my back to my bra." Jihl just rattles it off cheerfully.

"Oh, and one iron-cored wooden baton, with some ... extras."

That done, she tries to slip out of his grip, whirling around to face him. "Oh, no. I couldn't."
Maximilien Hm. A strange look passes over Max's face as she says that bit about the are reminding her of him; it's there so fast and gone again that she might think she just dreamed it, if she even saw it at all from her place against his chest. Still, as his hand confirms her list, it returns to its place against her stomach; as she tries to spin out, he goes with her, pressing against her so as to look down at her, hand wrapped now around her waist. "Funny. Your world does not remind me of you; it is cold, hard, organized and angular...and you are...certainly not cold, hard, or angular, that much is for certain."

"Could not what, ma chere?" Max inquires, his voice dropping into little more than a whisper, like he was asking to share in some clandestine secret, some hidden knowledge for just the two of them to know, out in the middle of the French countryside. "Could not what?"
Jihl Nabaat Jihl, facing away from Max, misses the look that crosses his face, which is ... probably, oddly, best for both of them. His hand does find that the MDrive on her back is something gauntlet-shaped, with a circular bit on the end. Except for the hard disk, it is mostly soft and pliant, like it's made of leather and then some electronics of some odd sort.

She looks up into his face, still dangling her heels in her left hand, her eyebrow arched in a almost odd way as she considers his question(s)...

"I couldn't be so tantalized." She murmurs, her voice wickedly smooth and somewhat... coy as they stand there in the middle of the French countryside.

Which is getting a second show in as many days, it seems.

"It would be so ... wrong." The word 'wrong' is wrapped in an enigma and a mystery. Her smile quirks into a much larger one, finally reaching her eyes behind her glasses - mischevious.
Maximilien Max files that bit about the Manadrive away for later inquiry; he wasn't actually sure what a MANADRIVE was, but he could make a relatively educated guess and then confirm it later. His fingers crawl up her back slowly, masking his curious equipment search - he knew she knew, it was just sort of a reflex he'd picked up from other searches he'd done against less intelligent people. His hand settles against the small of her back, and he gives her a little tug as she replies. "I think you already are," he replies quietly. "I think you are already mine, in your heart, and your mind is simply letting itself get in the way of all sorts of wonderful things."

"But let us talk business, first...tell me about mana drives, ma chere, that we might put business behind us and move staunchly into enjoying ourselves."
Jihl Nabaat "They're called - Manadrives, but they're actually something known as AMP - a antimatter manipulation principle. It's a foundation for our technological capabilities, and why we can use magic - although it it snot natural magic like ... yours, I suppose." Jihl explains.

"Manipulating the AMP allows us to do thing like survive immense jumps with no damage, use powers similar to magic, and the things like that."

He tugs her, and she lets out a sharp breath at his words, rising to her tiptoes - he is much taller than her, and it is sort of funny in its' own way.

"I think you're overestimating your charms, my phantom thief."
Maximilien Mechanical magic. Fascinating. Max listens to her explanation, his eyes focused on her lips; she talks, and he listens, his own mouth moving in time with hers. If he was talking, he'd be repeating her words; as it is, it's just a clever trick of anticipation, people-reading, and being very, very interested in her lips. When she finishes, he breathes out a little 'I see'; the information was tucked away somewhere else, because right now it really wasn't important. He could steal one from Cocoon later and find out about them, take it apart, play with it, add it to his cane, who knows; right now he had far more immediate things on his mind.

"I think you are lying to yourself," Max replies cheerily.
Jihl Nabaat "I think we're lying to each other."

Jihl then smiles, and notes; "The Manadrives are under my protection, dear thief; you're not getting one, unless one happens to fall out of my hands to someone else, who you then steal one from." The smile she wears quirks a little bit more, raising an eyebrow at him.

Ball is in his court.
Maximilien "I already put business beind me, ma chere," Max replies quietly, "I will figure out what I wish to do when I get to it. For now, my mind is on far more pleasant things..."

Max murmurs something quietly, his fingers tapping against the small of her back. There's a quiet rush of magic, a light breeze rushing past them both, rustling his opera cape around his shoulders, and then all of a sudden he's lifting her with his one good arm, picking her up off the ground and firmly up to his height. "A little FLOAT spell does go such a long way," he observes. "I am, after all, not a strong man, but with a little creativity, I can even have you up in one arm."

"The question is, what should I do with you now...?" Max purses his lips thoughtfully. "After all, I have Cocoon's shining jewel all to myself, right now..."
Jihl Nabaat Jihl is scooped -

- and she does not appreciate this.

She reaches out and slugs him in the shoulder, her green eyes sparkling in something close to anger, but also amusement. She figures he probably knows that if it was anyone else in the world, they'd likely be unconcious on the ground right now. Instead, she balances in his grip, and quips:

"I can see the world from up here!"

She then pauses, raising an eyebrow. "I don't know, but I'm not very comfortable being off of my feet." She drawls.
Maximilien Max, on the other hand, finds this absolutely hilarious, because Max is the kind of world-class jerk who thinks that picking up one of the most powerful people in a nation in one arm thanks to a little magic trick and disorientation is funny. He smirks at the punch - or rather, he resumes smirking, because that's really sort of his natural state of affairs.

"I, on the other hand, am quite comfortable in this position, and could remain like this for several hours, so long as I remember to re-cast the spell every so often and do not run out of power." He chuckles and starts walking, the Lieutenant Colonel in one arm, the basket of groceries in the other. "Plus, I have groceries to take back to my little icebox, so..."

He liked the icebox, really. Refrigerators were much more convenient, but...well, there was something special about that little box he stored his food in. He'd actually taken to putting an icebox in most of his hideouts; he knew how to cast magic, after all, he could just refresh it on his own time, instead of waiting for the ice man to come around. He actually had a house in town with an icebox, too, but he was rarely there, preferring his solitude to the noise of the village.

"I suppose perhaps I will just be keeping you for the time being, non?"
Jihl Nabaat Jihl stays perched on his arm - when not in her normal outfit, she's rather light and fit. She Steadies herself against him, one hand curling up on his jacket top, the other one slightly held out to keep herself balanced as she blinks ...

"SO, I guess I'm getting kidnapped."


"Oh no, I'm getting kidnapped, how terrible. Whatever shall I do."

"... look, really, what /should/ I be doing?" Jihl asks, all dry wit and amusement.
Maximilien "Stolen," Max corrects cheerfully as they walk, "You are being stolen. You are, after all, a magnificent treasure; it is my job to steal you." He briefly considers just taking her all the way to his hideout...but no, actually, Max turns around mid-step, changing directions without a second thought. He didn't actually TRUST her, after all, no more than he TRUSTED Cirra; sure, he might like both women more than was entirely healthy for him (and who could blame him, given their similarities?), but he really didn't trust either of them further than he could throw them without FLOAT.

"I could not say. I have honestly never been stolen before; a pair of exceptionally beautiful and extraordinary women have taken my love, but I have never personally been stolen physically before, so I do not have much advice to offer, I'm afraid."
Jihl Nabaat "Stolen... but I'm a human being, so really, 'kidnapped', but..." Max turns around, and Jihl's eyebrow raises sharply. "Did you change your mind on our desired place of coexistance for the rest of today?" She inquires.

"Still don't trust me, do you, hmm~?"

Jihl then sighs. "Who is this other 'exceptionally beautiful and extraordinary woman', hmm?"
Maximilien "Non, ma chere, I do not trust you, no more than I trust anyone else in this world. It does not pay to be a trusting thief, any more than it pays to be an honest one - but I do not have to trust to be honorable, oui? So yes, I did in fact change my mind, though I think my house in the village has a much nicer guest area anyhow. Much more presentable and lived-in looking, far less secret." That was, in fact, true; his cabin was a little one-room cabin in a horrible stretch of area that nothing ever came near, his house in the village was a pleasant, charming little abode with a warm fireplace and more than one room to appreciate. "And I think you would take better to being stolen if I put you in a house, and not a shack, mmm?"

"As for ma autre chere, she is much like you; a stern, beautiful military woman, incredibly intelligent, incredibly dangerous, and all but married to her job." He found it funny, really, how much they were alike; he'd have to introduce them at some point, maybe if he ever got Cirra to come around and stop trying to murder him, or at least actually like him enough to not want to kill him. He was having a heck of a time choosing between the two, too; the unapproachable beauty was tremendously appealing, after all, but so was the woman who actually halfway reciprocated.

"And, I imagine, you look as phenomenal in a dress as she does, and I would very much like to see it."
Jihl Nabaat "Are you trusting of anyone, Max?" Jihl has to ask, as they start making their way back to the village that Jihl had found a few hours earlier. The woman lets herself rest in his grip, before she idly raises a shoulder, her green eyes sparkling in amusement.

"You mean you don't want me to find one of your probably many hidey-holes scattered across worlds and universes..."

She does not seem too particularly surprised by this, although the various Frenchisms that get tossed in as he talks take her a few minutes ot puzzle over before she finally - mostly - gets them. She looks down at him, raising one slim eyebrow. "So you found my twin sister from another world?"
Maximilien "Oh, about two inches taller and with far whiter hair...and far, far angrier than you. But oui, the two of you are most similar in all the ways that fascinate me." Max chuckles, because really it was sort of funny - it was really funny, that he was only drawn in a romantic way to women it was astoundingly dangerous for him to court. Oh, certainly, he was a chatty and flirtatious man, but most of the time it never meant anything; just as he had told Avira, it was the sort of thing he did to appreciate the art of a woman more than some darker desire. Maximilien Amadeus Renaud-Sylvianne was many things, but he was not a predator, and he did not use women to his advantage; he was, after all, a gentleman first and foremost.

Max doesn't actually answer the other two. "But we are talking far-far-far too much about me, ma chere; let us talk about you, mmm?"
Jihl Nabaat "Taller, white hair..." Jihl mentally takes notes, building a image of this other woman - of Cirra - in her mind for a few long moments as they continue walking. "Any other important details, perhaps, I might wish to know? Her name, perhaps?"

then Max tries to switch the talk about to her.

"But I like talking about you."
Maximilien "Too easy, ma chere; too easy to just tell you everything. Where is your sense of adventure, mmm?" Max murmurs as they enter the village. Max cheerfully waves at some of the folk, speaking to them in rapid-fire French as he heads for a rather modest house with her on his arm. He pretends to fumble with a set of keys, then opens the door; noticeably, he didn't actually put the keys IN the door, so he probably has some other means of unlocking.

He opens the door to a pleasant little French brick shack; there's a couple chairs, a table - clearly a sitting room - and a stairwell up. Max sets her down, then closes the door behind him and heads to put the food in the icebox.

He really did have such a fondness for iceboxes.

"So. Welcome to my house, ma chere."
Jihl Nabaat Jihl does not appreciate the flow of French she doesn't understand, frowning slightly at Max as he greets the rest of the French villagers, even as she gives them an awkward smile and waves. Once they're in there, she wobbles unsteadily, then collapses into the nearest chair, delicately crosses her legs.

"Ah, an ice box... such a primitive land, this place still is."

Before she relaxes, she reaches behind her and pulls out her manadrive gauntlet, resting it on the table, finally leaning back in the chair.
Maximilien "I rather like them. It is a simpler thing, but sometimes, the simple things are better than the conveniences of the modern world, mmm? People get so lazy with modern willingness to learn or improve, when you can make something to do it for you." Max shakes his head. The worlds were so /lazy/ sometimes. His eye roams over the Manadrive, but it's, again, a secondary desire; he's not going to pick her pocket when he already promised not to. Instead, Max picks up a drink from his icebox (refreshing the box itself with a blast of ice), grabs a pair of glasses, and heads over to the chair next to Jihl's. "But, again...enough about me. Tell me about yourself, mmm?"

He pours the drink carefully, then picks it up and takes a sip.

It is not wine. It is grape juice. Max doesn't ever drink, after all; it's bad for the brain.
Jihl Nabaat Jihl shrugs, tucking her legs underneath her on the chair, perfectly perched with a level of agility one normally doesn't expect from her. "Sometimes. But on the other hand, it is the simplier times that got our world into major trouble." Jihl picks up her glass, then sips it. Huh.

Grape Juice.

Jihl then peers at Max over the cup. "About me? But there is nothing to know. I entered the military academy, stll holding the top scores to this day, and I've risen through the ranks." She shrugs, elegantly.
Maximilien Max listens to a little radio chatter briefly; sounds like he's missing something /fascinating/. Oh well, he was with something fascinating too. He takes a sip from his glass curiously, keeping his eyes on hers. "Oh, is that all? Just...the military academy, the top scores, the top of the rank? Is that all your life is? In the service of another?"

"Do you ever even allow yourself to do anything /for/ you?" Max murmurs over his glass. "You are so could really do with loosening up."
Jihl Nabaat Jihls' radios, as always, are deadly quiet.

Thus, she has nothing to distract her from looking around the room and calmly, mentally catalouging everything that she can, from the way that he sits, from the way the room is built, and -- everything else. She then looks at Max, her smile thinning.

"I am in service of the only person above me, the Primarch. Everyone else is below me, and they shall not interfere with my life, my work, my goals, and my plans."

This is a oddly arrogant statement, even as she flicks her hair. "Everything Ido, if it is not for the Primarch, is for Me. And even then, some of that is for Me, as well." Me, me, me.
Maximilien It's a nice room; it's brick and mortar, with wooden floors, the sort of thing that's gone out of style on most other worlds but certainly comfy here. There's a fireplace, and it's roaring with a snap and a flick of the hand from Max; flames leap to life, giving the room a warm, cheery glow. Given it's the only source of light in the room, and the sun is already starting to set, this will probably matter shortly.

Max himself sits confidently; his eyes are fixated on hers, not dropping crudely to examine her body, nor roaming around the building uninterestedly. One hand is settled on his cheek, the other holding his drink. He's supremely confident, in fact; assured in himself completely, in a way that even people who are normally confident can't possibly hope to compare. As far as that body language is concerned, he is the single most capable human being in the world.

That's probably not /true/, but he certainly looks like he believes it. He smiles at her statement; either arrogance is becoming, or confidence. "So you are a very powerful woman, in addition to being beautiful and competent," Max replies, in the air of someone who understands what it means to have friends and acquaintances in very high places. He shifts a bit in his seat and looks over her appraisingly. "And what /are/ your goals, ma chere? What do /you/ want out of your life of hard work in service to your country?"
Jihl Nabaat This is a nosy sort of peering-around things and places. Jihl lives in a world of black and concrete, of grey and red, so something with a warm, cheery glow, a warm fire, and the like, it is all a little odd and strange to the woman sitting across from him.

Eventually her green eyes snap back to him, giving him a small smile, one that plays across her pale lips.

"I wish to maintain the peace of our world. I am an investigator, I wish to know, I wish to learn secrets, find new knowledge, I want to rebuild our world." Jihl says, her voice drawling softly. "THat will bring me pleasure. That and to see the Gran Pule fal'cie killed." Did Jihl just imply she'd like to take down a /god/?

Maximilien "Fal'Cie," Max asks after a moment, the unusual word /heavily/ accented from his mouth as he talks. He runs the word over his tongue, repeating it again two more times before he's certain he understands it. "Those are the god-things you mentioned, oui? The ones that made your world?"

"So you want to kill a god."

Jihl Nabaat "There are two, the fal'Cie who created my world, and then the other fal'Cie that tried to destroy it." Jihl explains softly, flatly. "It is the others, the ones who have caused us so many problems, that I wish to go away, anyway, that I can."

she tosses her head again, getting her hair out of her face, hermouth set in a thin line.
Maximilien Max listens for a moment, considering. To actually, literally know what made your world was something that was somewhat out of his depth; a place where gods were physical wasn't something too new, but a place where gods were literal was. The Aeons weren't anything like the Fal'Cie; the Fal'Cie are great titans of world-production, the Aeons merely powerful spirts. Max cannot imagine an Aeon crafting or annihilating a world, after all; they are simply different classes of being.

As Jihl tosses her hair, Max stands up and moves over to her, setting his glass down; he presses his lips against hers, his hands going behind her head to bring her into it gently in the flickering firelight. "I can appreciate...obsession," Max murmurs as he pulls away only barely, his eyes locked on hers. In the firelight, they seem so much brighter than they did before, flickering and dancing a mad electric blue.

"Would you give your life to see it dead?" His voice is low, quiet, like someone might hear them, someone on the deserted streets as the sun's light dies in the sky and the fireplace becomes all that they have to light the room. "Would you give up anything to see it fall?"
Jihl Nabaat Max approaches her, and then he leans in - which he has too, as she's sitting down, and thus much shorter than she normally is. She tilts her head, her green eyes gleaming behind her thin glasses.

"Obsession?" She breathes the word after the kiss, arching one eyebrow as she sits there, her head tilted up to meet his, her danging green meeting his electric blue.

"This is more than obession. For the first time, we have l'cie, those chosen by the enemie fal'Cie, wandering the world, and I will stop at nothing to find them, to understand, to /know who they are/, in order to utterly bring them down to the depths of the world -"

"- so I can stop them from killing our world. To stop them form hurting the Primarch, the man who has done much to guarantee our safety. To stop these venemous, bothersome fal'Cie!"

By the time she's done talking, her voice has dropped form her strident, know-it-all, calm, collected, arrogance to a throaty purr that is tinged with malice and anger.

"I /would/."
Maximilien "So it is something that you must do, at any cost, even your own life. All your ambitions, all your desires, secondary to destroying something that would finish your world." Max murmurs, his hands still against the back of her head, running his fingers through her hair. "Admirable. Very admirable."

Then he straightens, releasing her from his grasp; he turns and sits back down in his own chair, picking up his glass for another sip. "You are an enthralling woman, Jihl Nabaat."
Jihl Nabaat The /instant/ Max turns away from her, Jihl shudders, her green eyes widen and bright as she relaxes again into her chair, having been tense the whole time he was that close. She then looks at him, the brightness in her eyes turning into a dark gleam.

"It is interesting to hear you say so." She finally breathes.
Maximilien While his face is turned away from her, Max's lips quirk upwards. He knows she wasn't relaxed; he knows she was tense, could feel it by the way she moved her hair. He made her uncomfortable, put her on edge, and he liked that; he liked it when he did that to Cirra, he liked it when he did it to Jihl. He enjoyed people being nervous around him, enjoyed being in control, especially in control of powerful people...but so too did he enjoy being fought for control, challenged. It was part of the paradox of being Max.

He grins. "Why is it interesting, ma chere, to hear me say something that is only the truth?"
Jihl Nabaat Jihl sips at her grape juice, giving Max the hairy eyeball for awhile, deliberately sipping at it slowly as she comes up with a proper answer for him. This is her own way of getting back at -him- for putting her on edge and stuff. She then looks up at him, fully, taking off her glasses in a smooth movement, sliding them to hang off of the middle of her dress.

"Because most people don't dare say it in front of me."
Maximilien "Most people are not me, and do not have what I have - unending confidence and self-assurance," Max replies cheerfully, and that was true. Most people are not Maximilien Amadeus Renaud-Sylvianne, and that's probably better for the world at large. He waves his hand idly at her, a smile on his face. "You do not frighten me, Jihl Nabaat; I am a very hard man to frighten. You do not intimidate me. You are a dangerous woman, and, as previously mentioned, I have an almost /fatal/ attraction to particularly dangerous women; you are also a fighteningly competent woman, and I like that, too, because easy women who fall into my arms are so much less interesting than women who can kill me and make my life miserable."

He messes with his glass a little bit, swirling it thoughtfully, then takes a sip and smiles over it. "You are a tremendously fascinating woman, and I cannot wait for our little tour of your home. I want to see your world through your eyes...and possibly this time I can convince you to wear something more appealing than your heavy overcoat...?"

This scene contained 40 poses. The players who were present were: Maximilien, Jihl Nabaat