asi3_icon.gif kay_icon.gif

Scene Title Ichiban
Synopsis Bad news goes down smoother with a little liquor.
Date February 11, 2020

Sheepshead Bay

7:14 pm
can you meet me at 8 at ichiban? bring a bottle of something.

Ichiban was a hole-in the wall café in Sheepshead struggling to get by. It saddled the border between Yamagato Park, tried hard to appeal to that clientele, and failed to do little more than attract less-than-professional after-hours sessions from Yamagato businessmen, who in turn clashed with those living in Sheepshead who were trying to take advantage of a local watering hole. Somehow between the two types of patrons, the owner managed to make just enough to keep the place afloat but little more. She stocks Japanese beer and serves barley tea, along with deep-fried bar food and American cafe staples during the day.

As the owner doesn't have a valid liquor license, Asi sees no harm in indulging in a case of BYOB. After all, she's showing patronage by drinking some of that imported beer while she waits for Kay, all in the hopes that she brings something else. Anything would do as long as it was different.

She sits in the far corner of the establishment, cross-legged with her shoes off on a raised platform covered in imitation tatami. The platform is surrounded by folding paper screens that afford an illusion of privacy, posters for local events and other establishments thumbtacked to its wooden frame. While she can't be seen herself, the stack of her boots by the gap in the screen should harken back to the days when SEAN meetings were a regular occurrence.

Asi leans back, arms propping her up while she stares off into the distance. Her eyes will flicker shades of neon blue occasionally when she checks the time, seeing if it's any closer to eight than before, or checks in with the drone hiding in the alley minding the front door. By the time 8 nears, she's on to a second tall glass of beer, and the cafe is half-filled with others partaking in post-happy-hour drinks.

"遅っ," she mutters, though Kay isn't late. Asi just hopes she comes at all.

“久しぶりだね?”1 The southerly drawled greeting comes even before the executive steps into view. Her oversized handbag is settled into place first, before she steps out of her uncharacteristic sneakers and folds herself to sit across from the technopath. Her sweatshirt is green with a faded Girl Scouts logo across the chest. Her jeans are in good shape, still. Kay Damaris isn’t completely slumming it for this meeting.

“Hope you like soju. I had a craving.” Digging into her purse, Kay procures a modest bottle - not the only one within those depths, she knows how they are - and passes it across the table to her drinking partner. “Should I pretend small talk is in order, or should we just get right into it?”

Neither of them lead normal lives and there’s little point in feigning otherwise.

"Soju," Asi croons, her eyes gleaming and not from her ability. Already tipsy, the mere existence of this nostalgic drink in her proximity is enough to make her eyes water. She pushes forward out of her lean to reach for the bottle, accepting it with a warm smile.

And the technopath almost never smiles.

A breath of laughter comes from her, the kind that comes from someone when they've seen a baby for the first time and it's just too precious for words. But this is alcohol, and not even a large bottle of it.

She sighs in pleasure at it anyway, twisting the cap off. Her eyes lid briefly, and when they reopen and refocus on Kay, both smile and gleam are gone. She takes in a breath, shoulders lifting, but then her words hitch. Her eyes narrow just slightly. "You pick," Asi decides, choosing her words with care. "Because I actually had no ulterior motive this time."

Tossing the cap on the low table, she begins to lift the bottle to drink. "But there are no shortage of topics we could choose from."

There’s a genuine smile at Asi’s unguarded reaction to the offering given. Kay is pleased to have made a good choice. She tries very hard to be sensitive to this culture she’s semi-adopted out of professional necessity, but her well-meaning nature still sometimes results in a misstep. That this is not one of them is a relief.

That relief is short-lived, however, when she hears Asi’s answer to her question. With a nod of understanding, her smile fades. “Start wherever you need to.” A second small bottle of soju is pulled from her bag and immediately set on the other side of the table in anticipation of necessity. A third is finally opened and sipped from herself. She’ll leave a large tip to make up for the fact that she’s brought her own.

Asi glances to the gap in the screen where it could be pulled shut, considering it for only a second before turning back to Kay. She doesn't have to think hard about where she'd like to start, given present company.

"Kam Nisatta's alive," she voices without any weight to it. After giving that a moment to rest in the air, she punctuates it with another drink and looks back to Kay.

"I saw her overseas only days ago," Asi explains first. "She was perfectly healed, nothing off about her— except her eyes. More blue than pure ice. She said…" And now it's this that makes her take pause, tongue running over her teeth. "She didn't remember what happened," the technopath elaborates delicately, reaching for her beer. She needs something more bitter to match the taste that memory brings her. "She said all she remembered was waking up in the morgue." Her brow beedles together and her eyes close as she takes a healthy drink of the beer.

The bottle is fumbled, nearly dropped to tip across the surface of the table and spill its contents across laps, but at the last moment, Kay’s fingers remember to grip the slender neck of it and hold tight. “That’s not possible,” she tries to argue. “Ms Nakamura—”

Had her fucking dismembered and incinerated for all Kaydence knows. The implication of what would happen to her if she had the audacity to repeat Nisatta’s sins after she stepped into her shoes was enough to keep her from asking for the gory details.

Clearly haunted, Kay brings the bottle to her lips and takes a long drink. Her hand is shaking when she lowers it to the table again, evident in the quiet rattle of false starts and stops until the base connects with the table and she releases her hold on it to fold her hands together in her lap instead.

It isn’t like her to allow her feathers to appear ruffled, but there’s a certain amount of trust Kay has for Asi at this point. That might come to bite her in the ass later. For now, she allows the technopath to witness her fear for what this means. “How?”

"I don't know," Asi admits openly, perhaps a sign of the trust she has for Kay in return. She doesn't like admitting not knowing anything. The technopath is an analyst at heart, and has always been the type where if she doesn't know a thing, then soon she will. But this— this has her stumped in some way.

Not entirely, though, because she shakes her head at her own answer, forcing herself to acknowledge she knows more than she thinks she does. She works through the haze of her anger and the alcohol to present her understanding. "It was the work of an immortal being with a little-understood power. The thing that once used Nisatta as its host escaped its cell when they broke the sky open in New Mexico, decided to resurrect her from the dead who knows when, and is wandering the world fuck knows where," Asi shoots a look back toward Kay, her eyes flaring with a neon pulse of her power. "because if Baruti Nadu doesn't know, for all that he worships it, then I'm not sure who might be an authority on it."

For the explosiveness of that swear, there's a gentle calm to the pause that comes after. Eyes still blindly blue, Asi looks to the side and then back, the glow in them persisting. "She wouldn't talk to me. Wouldn't finish the warning she tried to give when she was shot. Said it was too late." Tipping her glass to herself, she 'looks' down into it while remarking, "The thing Naidu worships as god… Nisatta's terrified of it, and of him. But she has given up hope against it. She has…" How to put it? Asi narrows her eyes. "Resigned herself to whatever role it is they have set for her."

The light in her eyes fading, she looks back to Kay. "I suppose I can understand her resignation. Even death wasn't an escape from what it wanted from her." While lifting the cup for another drink, she asides in a bitter huff, "Whatever the hell that is."

An elbow propped up on the table and her forehead resting against her palm, Kay listens in silence, lips parted and eyes just a little too wide to keep from betraying her sense of overwhelmedness. This sort of situation is so far over her head.

Damaris is a simple woman. One who cannot possibly fathom the power and responsibility that Asi and others like her (the Expressives) must feel. She deals - or dealt - with mobsters. Thieves. Murderers. Every problem could be distilled down to something easily understandable and digested. Even after the reveal of people with abilities and her transfer to a department specifically intended to investigate crimes concerning them, it was all just the same shit.


Kay’s brows lift slowly as she stares down Asi. Her hand runs back over her blonde hair until it comes to rest on the back of her neck.

“Well, how do we find her? — Kam, I mean.” She shakes her head, letting her hand slide around the side of her neck now, finger drumming just to the right of her spinal column restlessly. “I could go to her. Help her.”

Even she doesn’t believe that. Doesn’t put stock in the probability. What can a mundane human do against a veritable cult of Expressive supremacists?

When Kay gives Asi that dumbstruck look of someone who's had layers of the world peeled back for them all at once and all too quickly, the technopath lifts her shoulders in a shrug. It's not just her shoulders. Her knees of her crossed legs before her pop up as well, her free hand grasped around her ankles. She finishes off the last of her beer.

Yup, this was all a thing now. Sorry, Kay.

Or maybe she's not apologetic at all, because she doesn't seem very concerned as she slides the empty glass back on the table and reaches for the soju she'd abandoned. "I could try to find her and see if she would be willing to talk to you, but she didn't provide any way to contact her by. I told her to reach out to me if she changed her mind and wanted to talk, or needed looking out for. However… I get the impression she won't."

With a touch of a frown, she looks back to Kay. "To be honest?" Asi asks, voice low and light with disbelief at her own self for what she's saying. "I've been sitting here half the night contemplating asking Jiba to arrange a clandestine meeting with Nakamura. Even if it's not face-to-face. I think she may have a unique perspective on all of this, and I am craving a fresh, informed angle on this, at this point." She taps the bottom of the small bottle on the table, glancing down to it. "I am not sure I trust myself alone to chart the course for this any longer. Attempting to go it alone…"

She shakes her head, lifting the bottle and holding it in contemplation of a drink though she doesn't go that far yet. "Attempting to go it alone has gotten me nowhere." Her mouth draws into a line, frown tugging it down at one end.

Kay's never seen Asi wear such an open look of regret before.

Brows lift, then knit together to convey her confusion. Then, Kay cracks a grin and leans back a bit, going for her drink once more. She laughs even as the mouth of the bottle brushes against her lips. “Of course,” she murmurs before she takes a swallow of alcohol. “Of course Jiba’s in on the whole… bullshit conspiracy.”

How is there so much going on at her own fucking company that she’s entirely unaware of? Even the damned next gen Clippy knows more than she does.

Kay looks up at the ceiling and runs her tongue over her teeth, caught somewhere between annoyed and the sort of mania that comes with an overwhelming shift of one’s worldview. “I’ll call the meeting,” she promises. Her mouth twists into a smirk as she turns her attention back to Asi properly, eyes closing for the space of time it takes her to inhale a long breath. “Nakamura won’t suspect you’re involved if it comes from me.”

The laugh catches Asi off-guard, her head turning back in Kay's direction with a flicker of confusion. "I never said that," she ventures, but it doesn't sound like she believes it might not be true. "But it is a tool used by many. And it's keener than most would give it credit for." Thinking back, her brow flattens. "It realized enough to know it was being manipulated, when the bomber returned and tried to kill me in the residential parking garage. It had enough of a sense to know that what was happening to it was wrong, to try and circumvent it." It still brings a chill to think back to the way it had tried to communicate danger by playing a literal game of hot and cold using Monica's biology against her.

"Jiba's sharp, but I suspect it keeps its own company, largely." Asi remarks. Most people thought it was just a next gen Clippy, after all.

Drinking again, she sets the small, nearly-empty bottle down on the table, glancing away for a moment as if she's looking straight through the walls and at the looming structures of Yamagato Park directly. "In person, or virtually?" she asks carefully. "I would not want you jeopardizing your trust with her over me."

“Yes, well…” Kay smiles tightly, clearly unhappy. Hurt, even. “I suppose I don’t rate.” It’s hard not to feel a little bitter. Not to feel left out of things when there’s so much she didn’t know. Whether it’s a fair assessment or not, she feels as though the people she thought were her friends didn’t trust her enough to let her in.

Monica’s situation stings the most. They haven’t even spoken since she left.

“Whatever your preference is.” Kay lifts her gaze from the table back to Asi’s face. The smile has softened, but it still doesn’t touch her brown eyes. “I’m starting to suspect Ms Nakamura doesn’t trust me with much of anything, except that I won’t ask questions.”

The bleached blonde turns her face away so she can stare at the wall, mouth now flattened into a hard line. “Apparently it doesn’t stick when she puts someone in a ditch anyway. Maybe my odds aren’t as bad as I thought.”

It's impossible not to note the shift in Kay's demeanor, and it's such that Asi stops from polishing off the last of her first little bottle. For a moment she's not sure at all how to approach the situation, finding that glibly remarking it only worked out that way for Kam because she had an immortal entity on her side may not stick quite as she intends for it to.

Pesky emotions getting in the way of a well-meaning warning, and all that.

"Try talking to it," Asi suggests instead, looking off at a spot in the distance, perhaps at a tiny hole in the paper screen surrounding them. "Treating it as if it were human. Monica did, and it defied its orders for her." Her head dips in a nod to acknowledge the point she's trying to make. "You're looking to make more influential friends, and it's looking to have any at all, I would imagine. And you could do worse than having the city itself in your pocket."

Looking back to Kay, her mood quiets. She tips the next of the bottle back toward her, beginning to drag it toward the end of the table again. "If we can manage it in person, and Jibakurei doesn't notify fucking Interpol or the Japanese government the moment I step over the border, then I'd prefer to talk to her face to face." Brow arching, Asi delicately adds, "And I'll make myself presentable, to boot."

She looks down at the bottle, keeping to that same quiet. "Nakamura knows an attempt to approach her wouldn't be frivolous, and I can only imagine she would welcome the chance to ask something of me in return." Which is the real currency the exchange will be paid with, her tone implies. Asi lets out the beginning of a chuckle before polishing the bottle off and reaching immediately for the second. A heavy breath escapes her, her eyes flickering blue for a moment without the precision the transition it normally has. She laughs again at that and her fingers find the neck of the second soju bottle gratefully.

“I’m not foolish enough to arrange a meeting on home turf,” Kay assures, slightly amused that Asi thinks she might have been. “I’ll get her out of the international incident zone.” She turns back again and smiles a little more genuinely. “There’s a whole world beyond the Yamagato borders. I’ve got plenty of sights to show her.” She tips her head to one side and lifts her bottle again. “If you just happen to be there…”

She takes a drink.

There’s a beat that passes between the two women in silence, but not without the weight of Kaydence’s gaze on Asi. “I’m angry, you know,” she tells her finally. “All of this shit was going on under my fucking nose, and not one of you thought about telling me. Or asking for my help.”

Some of the fire goes out of her eyes. Whatever anger really does linger is down to last smoldering embers at this point. No more fire in that particular brazier. What’s left of it is self-directed and internalized. “But I get it. What am I going to do? Smile and talk the problem away?”

In a lot of ways, this feels like the NYPD all over again for her. “I’ll arrange the meeting,” she reiterates. “At least I don’t need to have a positive result on a blood test to be useful in that.”

Asi's brow lifts, pausing in unscrewing the cap on the second bottle. Kay's delicacy in navigating that particular challenge is both impressive and appreciated. "Never let anyone tell you you're not good at your job," she advises with the heavy, earnest seriousness only the drunk can provide. "You're masterful at it."

The bottle continues to sit in her lap as she sits under Kay's gaze. Nothing about her suggests she feels she doesn't deserve it in some way. Her eyes half-lid, and for a moment she considers letting the topic past, unwilling to wade into sentiment she can't easily share, but there's an unpolished fact she'd be remiss in not highlighting.

"The only reason I never talked with you before, Kay, was because I did not know if I could trust you. I did not know your loyalty. And after I realized you were not the mole, I did not warn you to distance yourself from Nisatta because I know all too well people stay in roles because the people they're surrounded by, ultimately, rather than the credo of an organization." Looking back to her, she shakes her head. "And beyond that— because I am not a trusting person. It is a…" In trying to find the word, Asi laughs humorlessly, her gaze wandering again. "A character fault."

"For so long, I was in a situation where people were only tools. Resources. No meaningful connections to be found— only leverage to be gained to stay in the game, so to speak. Because if you did not find ways to use others, they would find no such difficulty in using you." There's a tic in her expression as she brings voice to that unspoken truth, both accepting and rejecting it at once. She bares her teeth at it before she's able to lay it aside, shaking her head as her brow knits together. Even as her ability brightens the color of her irises again, unable to let go of the need to constantly look over her shoulder, she seems to visibly pity that version of herself. "It changes a person," is how she chooses to acknowledge it.

Maybe she'd evolve past it, or maybe tonight's just a one-off.

Moving on quickly from that, Asi leans her head to one side. "If you're longing for company, though, in being left in the dark— look no farther than Marlowe. You'd both have plenty to commiserate on. And perhaps you might even see it was never a matter of blood."

She's bad at apologies, it would seem, and realizes this one might be as long-winded as it was possibly self-serving. Finishing twisting the second bottle open, she mutters a humbled, "悪い2" before tossing the cap onto the table.

“I get it.” Kay waves away the apology. Not because it isn’t accepted or appreciated, but because she really does understand. “Believe me, I… It rings a lot of bells.” It’s why she is exactly where she is right now. Utilizing others and being utilized herself as a tool is why she was recruited in the first place. “I don’t blame you. I am nothing if not the picture of company loyalty.” That smile does reach her eyes, but the emotion it sparks is not pride or happiness.

“I had hoped things were different with us then,” Kay laments, watching Asi’s eyes and the way they show her use of her ability. There’s a pang of jealousy in her chest, but she says nothing. “I’m glad they appear to be different now.”

Either they are, or Tetsuyama is using Damaris as a means to an end. Does it even matter what’s the truth?

“I’m as in-the-know as I am because of Marlowe,” Kay admits. “I wouldn’t have known about the Cestus if not for the fact that she absolutely demolished Godfrey’s door.” She wouldn’t have known nearly so much about the state of Yamagato Industries without Marlowe having smashed that door in. “She seems to wish she didn’t know as much as she does.” It’s probably more accurate to say that Marlowe wishes things were different. Even more so to say that Kay feels guilty divulging much more to her colleague. “Or maybe I’m just scared to disappoint her any more than I already have.”

She did give her a nice rocket launcher, though. Maybe that’s smoothed over some of the cold-blooded murder. No? Well, at least she tried.

“アスィさんは悪いじゃないよ,”3 Kay responds easily to her friend’s muttering, voice pitched low and tone firm, like she isn’t entertaining the notion of an argument. “私はあなたに感謝しています.”

The utterance in Japanese catches Asi off-guard visibly, in a way it wouldn't were she sober. "Kansh—?" comes echoed from her before she can stop it. Her head shakes and she lifts the bottle. "いいえいいえ4," she tries to argue, leaving it only at that and a blanching of her look. "私こそ— I should be thanking you. You…"

Then thinking back to the information she'd previously pressed Kay for, which she would be offering that thanks for, her expression falls. Oh. Asi looks off and then back to Kay, visibly debating whether or not to segue to this other, different topic. With the beginnings of a grimace, she admits, "I fucked up, Kay."

It's not an intentional segue for the sake of distracting from the previous topic, it's that whatever the hell she's done, it's taken her alcohol-soaked being and dripped a black stain of guilt through it. Kay doesn't have to press her for details on what Asi's done, though, because she provides freely:

"I had Redd." And then she shakes her head repeatedly, the soju bottle still in her hand but sinking back to her lap. "And I did not kill him. I tried justice— I left him in a cell. But SESA did not find him. He escaped." One hand smears the side of her face, fingers running back through her hair. "I fucked up."

Kay drains the last of her bottle, sets it aside, and starts on her next one. Her expression is a little flat as she studies Asi across the table from her. “Fucked up how?” She holds her breath for a moment, waiting for the shoe to drop.

And it does not disappoint.

“You what?” Kay leans back and lets out a heavy rush of air. “You left him in a cell,” she repeats, as though that will make that bit of information easier to digest. “Redd on his own is bad enough. Redd pissed off…”


“Alright.” Blonde head bobs up and down as she processes exactly how fucked Asi is if Redd manages to find her. “Okay. I am not drunk enough for this.”

"It's not even me I'm worried about," Asi blurts out while she waits for Kay to begin catching up in drink. "I am worried now that he will take revenge on Si…"

Oh, no. Oh no, she's too drunk for this. Pulling herself back from that ledge is a fucking struggle, accompanied by a scrunching of face and a sliding up of her hand from her cheek to grind the heel of her palm into her forehead instead.

Don't say it, don't say it, don't say it…

"On fucking John, to finish what he started before. To… because I told him…" Asi's head rolls on her shoulders as she fights with herself to quit spouting absolutely everything at this point, but the faucet won't quite turn itself off yet. "I told Redd— I would tell him… where to find him if… if he helped me. And instead, I lured him, used him, locked him in a cell, and I just…"

Asi brings up both knees before her, elbow perched on one while she continues to rub at her face guiltily. "The whole fucking world might be ending soon, and what if he never gets to open his fucking boat because I fucked this up, Kay? What kind of friend does that make me?" She's at least not shouting all of this, but it doesn't make it any more coherent. "I'm not even her, so I don't— don't even know why I bothered. But I fucked up helping him a second time, and he forgave me because I tried… and… asked me to use him anyway." The technopath grimaces, eyes still shut while she rubs the side of her forehead. She lets out a humorless laugh at her own expense. "And now— how can I face him? How do I even explain what happened, what I asked him to do? What right… do I have… after everything…"

Finally she starts to run out of steam, rocking slowly from one hip and back while her hand runs back through her hair. God, this was easier when she was too busy with Mugai-Ryu work to have to deal with managing human relationships. Vaguely, she tries to make sense of where it all went wrong.

"He knew my name. Sea of faces and people in this whole goddamned universe, and … nobody else to turn to." That seems to make enough sense to her, even if it makes sense to no one else. She groans at the realization, "God, Kay." like she'll of course understand exactly what's happened here.

“Don’t let him hear you call him that,” Kay warns, completely misinterpreting Asi’s near slip. “I think only Nichols got away with that one,” calling Redd by his given name, “and only because he’d make her squirm later.” There’s disgust on her features that she tries to swallow down with another mouthful of soju. The acrid taste of it doesn’t quite leave her.

Especially given the trap Asi lured Redd into. “Well, that’s fucked,” Kay mutters. All the same, it’s clear the gears are turning behind her eyes. She’s already trying to figure out a way to dig her friend out of this pile of shit. Her friend and her friend’s friend, whoever John is.

“You’re not making much sense.” There’s sympathy in her expression there. She remembers being undercover and all the half-truths and vagaries she had to speak in. It’s not so different now, but she’s gotten better at it. Kay looks down at the surface of the table between them for a moment before looking back up to Asi. “Whoever you’ve been helping, if they knew to reach out to you?”

Kay leans back in her seat again, brows hiking a moment as she lets the rim of her bottle settle against the cushion of her lower lip. “They knew what they were getting into.”

"無理じゃん5," Asi protests, lifting her head to make that point. "その訳はずないでしょう.6"

She sighs forcefully, and looking at Kay realized she's forgotten about her own drink. With alarm she finds the soju bottle miraculously still upright and takes a tepid sip from it in thanks. Once that's done, it restores some of her courage to face what she's done. "It's fine. It'll be fine. It'll all be fucking fine. Don't even worry about it." Lie said more or less convincingly, Asi fixes her seated position to assist with the illusion she's any more put together than she was thirty seconds ago. She puts on her best poker face. See, she's fine, everything's fine.

Quick, distract Kay.

"… How's your daughter, anyway?" It's a genuine question she surprises even herself by asking. "How did the— the chocolates go?"

“自分にそれをしないで7.” Kay’s accent gets thicker the more they drink together, but she still slides easily into the foreign language, even if she doesn’t always understand everything the woman across from her says. But it’s easier to follow along when there’s nobody shooting at her.

The shift in topic causes Kay to sit up a little straighter, expression slightly stony, but only for a few scant seconds. “説得力がありません8,” she grumbles in response, then she softens. “‘Ella’s good. Came in a little shy of her fundraising goal, but not for lack of effort.”

She is, for the record, worried about it, but she’s willing to let Asi’s business be her business. It sounds like they have enough overlapping concerns for the moment. Once they can get past some of that, she can be meddlesome. “She’s made me study my Japanese more earnestly. Can’t let my kid run circles around me, right?”

In spite of the fact that she’s fully aware of a distraction when she sees it, and the way she hates her daughter being used in that way, she’s genuinely pleased to talk about her. “She’s starting to take college entrance exams.” Her smile takes on a sad quality that only an impending empty-nester can wear. “I wish her father could see her.” And in a rare moment of unguarded honesty, she adds, “I wish I wasn’t alone in this.”

Asi's poker face holds when she's called out over her poorly veiled distraction. After all, she's getting away with it. Kay's letting her get away with it. She waits for Kay to move along to the topic of her daughter, her lack of inhibition meaning she wears a small, self-satisfied smirk openly. "I was about to say, you've gotten better since we first met." Just as English has become smoother and more casual for her.

The mention of entrance exams makes her lift her brow, though. "She'll do famously," Asi assures Kay, not at all making a mental note later to investigate herself on the topic. It's a suitable distraction from not knowing how to approach the rest of what Kay says, possibly. Maybe it buys her time. (Spoiler alert: it does not.)

"そんな考え方はダメよ, ケイさん9"," she chides eventually. "Take pride in what you did on your own, even if you had to do it on your own." Tipping her drink back, she sips again. "She is bright and she was raised well. You did well with her."

Not that Kay needs to hear it, but Asi's in a telling mood anyway.

"My sister would envy you, you know. She always wanted a daughter."

Kay takes the encouragement for what it is and accepts it with some amount of grace. “ありがとうしがいます10.” It’s overly formal, but Kay often defaults to the level of politeness associated with a young Japanese girl when she speaks the language. “That kid deserves way better than the hand she was dealt, but… I do my best to do right by her.”

Maybe she means her daughter deserved a better mother. Maybe she just means she deserved to grow up with her father. A father. Some sort of secondary parental presence in her life. It’s not something she’s up for arguing about, and so she leaves it ambiguous.

“Sorry. I get a little melancholy about it sometimes,” Kay apologizes. “I don’t have…” She hesitates, adjusts course, “I don’t talk to too many people.” Which was probably obvious the moment she was abducted to celebrate her own birthday, and every SEAN meeting thereafter.

“I always wanted to have another.” Still she circles back. “But that just wasn’t in the cards for me. Every one of my exes is buried in the ground now. It’s best for everyone if they don’t take too much interest in me, I guess.” Kay can’t help but quietly chuckle at that. A little dark humor that she’s made some peace with over the years.

Asi smiles at the humor, for all its darkness. She's got her own sense of humor about the matter, it'd seem. "Look at it this way, Kay— no exes to come back and—" But then her smile fades abruptly, her gaze going unfocused again. It might just be that it's hard to keep her on any one topic, or it might be she's remembered something else best left forgotten.

She takes a very involved drink from the soju, looking toward the gap in the paper screen closing them in on the tatami platform, letting her eyes flicker blue again after she's confirmed no one's peeking in on them. It's been too long since she's actively checked on her drone. When she comes back to the moment, the technopath looks at Kay and forces a smile again like it would erase that long lapse into silence.

"There are not enough shapely asses here to admire, are there," she segues. "Next time, we should find somewhere else to drink."

Kay snorts, pressing the side of her hand under her nose. “You’re not wrong there.” She downs another mouthful of liquor. “‘Ella thinks I should ask Godfrey out.” She laughs and sets her drink down on the table audibly. “I don’t think she’s old enough to appreciate a waistcoat yet.”

Her brows lift. “And thank goodness for that.” Kay is not prepared to have that conversation with her daughter as of yet. They’ve had enough awkward conversations. The ‘don’t objectify my co-workers’ conversation isn’t one she’s ready for.

“Maybe next time we can just drink at mine.” As in, perhaps this ugliness might be resolved and Kay can actually have Asi over to her home without it being a security violation.

Not, incidentally, that she gives a single fuck about security violations right now.

She’s drunk. Her opinion might change after sobriety regains its hold.

Godfrey? Asi's head dips forward in a silent indication of shock, a sticky-long blink accompanying it. She coughs once before she's able to speak again. "She… she understands how he is, right?" is a fool of a question, but one that's aired before she gets around to answering it for herself. "Godfrey Wells is not dating material. He's not—"

Her gaze hardens, shifts toward Kay. Who cared what her daughter knew or didn't know? It was more important that "You know that, right?"

And then she sighs, miserable for a reason unknown to her while she simultaneously considers another sip of soju and that that sip might overflow from her at this point. "Admire, yes, everything else no." No, no no no no. Definitely not.


She drinks, just a touch, and grimaces for it. "How is he?" Asi asks. Maybe Kay won't know for sure, but alive and still showing up for work are both valid answers she'll accept at this point in time.

“She understands that he’s handsome,” Kay explains of her daughter’s attempts to pair her with Wells. “She doesn’t understand that some men are just…” She waves a hand through the air in front of her in a nebulous motion. “‘Ella’s still young enough to think that all a man is waiting for is the right woman, and he’ll settle down.”

Kay’s expression falls as something dawns on her. She takes a drink and looks full of dread. “Or she does know what kind of man he is and she just thinks I need to get laid.” Seventeen is old enough to have that thought, what with messages in the media girls her age consume. “Yikes.

Shaking her head to clear that notion from her head, she snorts a laugh. “Look, I appreciate every time that man answers a video call without a shirt on, but I have no illusions that he’s the romantic sort. We live in the same building. I see how many women come in and out. It’s a revolving fucking door on that one’s place.”

The question about his well-being prompts a pause. “He seems okay, given the circumstances.” She can’t imagine what it must be like to have suddenly manifested an ability at his age. “He knows my door’s open.”

"He knows about my…" her whole terrorist thing she just did, possibly, given the vague gesture Asi makes with her bottle. "I should probably let him know I'm alive, too. I'll never hear the end of it if I don't." She considers that and then her eyes roll back up into her head with a sudden scowl. "Worse," the technopath realizes, "He knows where I live. He'll come and find me."

She knew better than to let people get that close. What was she thinking?

Asi looks off to the side and then back, sulking on that matter. But it wouldn't do to dwell on minor things like that when there were bigger matters at play. Such as the bold declaration and reminder: "You have value, Kay." Looking back to the Yamagato executive slumming it with her in her preciously domestic sweatshirt, Asi lifts her entire bottle in a toast. "I am honored you share it with me. Thank you."

“I’ll tell him,” Kay promises. “I mean, unless you don’t want me to…” She shrugs. The choice is Asi’s how much she’s willing to reach out to anyone else at this point. She’s perfectly willing to play intermediary with the people under her own umbrella.

But then Asi opens her mouth and proposes a toast and Kay just stares at her as though she’s sprouted a second head for a moment. Finally, she lifts her bottle and clinks it again Asi’s. “The last time someone told me I had value was when I did that charity date auction for the NYPD.”

The memory elicits a tight smile. “No one bid, by the way.”

In their defense, she had quite the reputation as a maneater. It isn’t surprising no one wanted to jump on that one.

Swallowing the last of her bottle, Kay starts loading the incriminating empties back into her purse. “Alright then. We’re getting you into a cab and we’re going to get you about a gallon of water.” Her lip curls as thought she’d just heard something distasteful. “You’re being entirely too nice. This has to stop before your liver gives out.”

Asi looks positively horrified to hear Kay was put up for auction. That's barbaric.

She also looks deeply offended no one bid on her. On principle, fuck those people.

"What is your routing number, Damaris," Asi demands, attempting to sound as serious as she feels about the topic. She's even slipped to a last-name usage to help her with that impression. (She thinks so, anyway.) "You have… you have so much value. I will prove it to you."

She slams back her drink, holding onto the bottle a bit stubbornly. Her eyes narrow at Kay for the suggestion she should be cut off, well past the point of agreeing. Well, agreeing visibly, anyway. Grudgingly she lets the bottle be pried and put away as well, pulling out a wad of bills she ultimately decides to just dump on the table to cover the cost of the drinks and everything else.

Coming to her feet's going to be a challenge, though, one that she doesn't want to face. "Do we have to?" she asks grimly.

“Bless your heart.”

Kay gathers up the bills Asi has dropped on the table, smoothing them out and counting them up. Not to take any for herself, but to make sure her friend isn’t bankrupting herself out of some liquor-addled sense of generosity. Deciding that there hasn’t been too much offered up in exchange for the time and lack of drinks they’ve ordered, Kay adds a crisp fifty to the pile for good measure.

Gathering up her purse and climbing to her feet, she moves to the other side of the table and offers both hands out to Asi. “Up you go,” she tells her, drawing her up to her feet slowly and wrapping an arm around her midsection.

“Text ‘Ella. Let her know I’ll be getting in late? Or… in the morning?” Asi isn’t Siri, Kaydence. “Let’s get you home.”

It's a lovely distraction from pawing her hands into Kay's purse to divine her banking information from her phone, though, so there's that. Asi grudgingly comes to her feet, lifting her head and letting her eyes shift a shade of electric blue again. "ひだりちゃん、帰ろう!" she calls out to her drone that's outside.

It's entirely unnecessary.

Then she remembers to send that text.

9:59 pm
your mother
is a saint

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