2007-02-25: No Damsel

Starring:

Elle_icon.gif Hiro_icon.gif Trixie_icon.gif

Summary: Hiro meets Trixie (Chiyume) while she's playing her guitar for tips in Times Square. The two chatter in Japanese until they rush to help a distraught Elle, who is nearly struck by a car. The trio go for tea and coffee and secrets are shared.

Date It Happened: February 25th, 2007

No Damsel


Times Square

"Sakura, sakura, yayoi no sora wa miwatasu kagiri. Kasumi ka kumo ka nioi zo izuru. Izaya izaya mini yu kan…" A young girl sits on the sidewalk, strumming a guitar and singing a traditional Japanes song in a high, airy voice. Her case is open in front of her with a sign propped up that reads 'Thank you!' both in English and in Japanese. A smaller note at the bottom reads 'Even pennies add up!' with a smiley face behind it.

Hiro hasn't forgotten the utility of walking. He really only teleports when he needs to; so, today, he's walking. He pops out of the Times Square subway station, and walks out into the massed throng of people. Most people get a little upset in the hustle and bustle of Times Square. Hiro's from Tokyo; he knows about what it is to be a sardine in a can. When Trixie finishes her song, she might notice a little man clap-clap-clapping away, perhaps not aware that you're supposed to ignore street performers. "Wonderful!" he says, in English, clapping away. Maybe he likes that song.

The performer looks up with a surprised and definitely delighted expression. "Arigatou!" She bows her head and then smiles up cheerfully. "Most people don't like that one," she says quietly in English. "You have heard it?" It's almost more of an observation than a question.

Hiro drops into Japanese, abruptly, almost out of reflex. "<Oh, yeah. When my sister was little she used to love it. She'd sing it all the time. I think she still has it on her iPod,>" Hiro says. Not that Kimiko Nakamura enjoys such unprofessional things at any point. "<It's really catchy.>"

That really seems to make the girl brighten up. She also drops out of English and into her native language. "<My mother used to sing it to me when I was little! It will always be one of my favourite songs.>" She bows her head again and introduces herself. "Chiyume desu."

Hiro just seems relieved to not have to speak English for a second. "<I'm Hiro. Hiro Nakamura. I'm, uh, visiting from Tokyo,>" he says. That seems reasonable enough, right? "<Do you live here?>"

"Hai," Chiyume confirms. "<My parents are from Kyoto. I was born here. I have visited Tokyo a few times! I liked it very much.>" She strums a tune absently on her guitar, something simple and pretty. "<Business? Or vacation?>"

"<… Vacation,>" Hiro says. "<I guess. I don't know if I'll go back. I like it here,>" he admits. "<Less pressure to be like everybody else, maybe. If you were born here, your Japanese and your English are very good. Better than my English, anyways.>"

"Un. <Mother and Father spoke only Japanese when I was growing up. I learned English in school. I studied very hard! Sometimes, I still stumble.>" Chiyume beams up at the vacationing salaryman, "<But even when we stumble, we must get up again, eh?>"

"<Yeah! That's what it's all it's about. Just like Batman,>" Hiro says. Funny, that's the second time he's had to bring that up. "<I learned English from… a friend of mine. Well, two of them, anyways. My friend Ando still helps me.>"

Chiyume giggles excitedly, "<Exactly! Batman doesn't let anything stop him. He just learns from his errors!"> She stops her strumming and peers into her case, which is woefully devoid of paper money, but has a handful of assorted change. "Saa… <Maybe I have enough for a /small/ coffee?>" The comment is mostly to herself as she gathers up the change and shoves it in her coat pocket before laying her guitar down inside and closing the lid. "<Your friends are very good for helping you. English is not easy!>"

Elle is striding up into Times Square from further downtown, hands shoved into the pockets of her jacket. She's not really paying attention to where she's walking. Obviously so, actually, as she's nearly hit crossing the street. Even after the taxi honks at her a few times and the driver calls her a 'crazy bitch,' she just keeps walking.

"<Eh? Coffee?>" Did a girl just mention coffee to him? It would appear so. He seems more alarmed by the prospect than anything else. But, as probability would have it, something else is, disastrously, happening not far away. Elle is causing all manner of potential commotion, just a few meters from Hiro. Who starts waving his arms and running into the street. "Miss! Miss! Look out—" And the driver just curses her out and keeps going.

Chiyume looks up quickly as Hiro runs off to warn the girl in the street of impending doom. It wasn't so much that she was asking the man to coffee, but more that she really wanted coffee, and it's impolite not to offer. "Hiro! Careful!" She gathers up her case, slinging it across her back and scurrying off after him.

Elle has a delayed reaction to the car that almost hits her, languidly looking up at Hiro as he starts waving his arms and playing the hero. Now that she's closer to both him and Trixie, the tear streaks on her cheeks are much more visible. She snuffles once and wipes at her face before saying, "I… yeah… I guess I wasn't watching where I was going." Pause. "Thanks for… Just. Thanks." Spotting Chiyume coming up behind Hiro, she notes, "Ah. Hi."

Phew. He didn't even have to, you know, blow his secret identity. Hiro gets points for effort, it would appear. "Um," he says, which isn't so much saying anything as uttering a confused sound. "Miss? Are you okay?" Which sounds, admittedly, more like 'missu, ahhyuuoukei', but Hiro is getting better every day, really. Most people don't have a problem understanding him if they listen carefully enough.

Maybe she'll be buying the blonde girl coffee instead. "Are you okay," the street musician echoes Hiro in better English. "I'm…" She pauses for a moment, as though she has to consider what she wants to say. "This is Hiro. Call me Trixie."

"My name is Elle," the blonde shares, glancing off into traffic to buy some more time to wipe her cheeks clear of tear-remnants. "Yeah, I'm fine. You know how it is when you think you've been lied to and then you find out you have?" Her jaw tightens as she asks the question, but she blows out a breath and adds, "Thanks. For caring, I mean. Trixie. And Hiro?" She looks the man over. "You guys are friends?"

Hiro thinks about it for a second. "We met five minutes ago. But yes," he says. See? It's easy to make friends. Surprisingly. "I am sorry to hear that you are having trouble. Once, my friend Ando trusted someone, but it turned out she was just using him. He was very hurt. And she was very wrong."

"That's too bad," Trixie agrees. "People can be mean sometimes. Is there anything that could cheer you up?" She offers a small smile to Elle, obviously concerned. "I was about to go get coffee…"

"I could use some some caffeine, actually," Elle says. "Is there a place around here that serves a good chai?" the question is leveled at Trixie, though she does acknowledge Hiro with a weak little smile and: "At least you were there for him? Your friend?" She glances around the Square, "I'm not used to so many people running around."

Hiro holds up a hand. "Ah! You have never been to Tokyo. The Ginza is like this, but even bigger. Er." He turns, to Trixie. "<What's chai?>" he asks. It sounds something like — "Blah blah blah CHAI desu?"

"<Tea,>" Trixie explains to her new friend simply. "I know just the place. Caffeine fixes everything." The girl nods sagely and gestures for the pair to follow her. "C'mon. I'll show you." She glances to Hiro as she walks along, "<It's not like what we're used to, but it's trendy with the Americans.>" The longer explanation.

"<Oh, okay,>" Hiro says. "<It's a Starbuck's kind of thing, right?>" he adds, before trying to help the girl up. He's not so busy a hero that he can't help a girl in trouble. "I will come, too. I like black tea."

If Elle's put off by the foreign (to her) language, she doesn't show it. Unable to refrain from smiling at Hiro's expressive manner of speaking, she takes his hand and gets to her feet. "Tea always makes me calm. And I need to think." She follows after Trixie now. "Thanks again. I get so lost here sometimes."

"It's easy to do," Trixie allows. "I've lived here my whole life, but sometimes, I get off at the wrong stop on the subway and feel completely lost." She flashes an encouraging smile at Elle, "We may not be friends, but… If you want to talk about it, I would be happen to listen."

Hiro sort of nervously rubs the back of his hear for a few brief seconds. "I got lost here once, really bad. It felt like I was gone for months," he adds, not happily. "Where are you from?"

I lived in the same building for sixteen years til last month. That's the truth at least. But Elle doesn't say that. She's not so distraught as to let drop that sort of nugget. "Upstate New York in this little town. I lived there until recently. My dad's job moved him here, so I came with him." Then she adds, lowering her voice, "I think he's lying to me about some pretty important things. And I don't know what to do."

"That is very serious." Trixie's expression turns a little grim. "Well, maybe you could give us some idea of what he's lying about, and we can offer some advice?" After a couple blocks of walking, Trixie leads the way to a little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop with only three tables. Luckily for the trio, it's quiet and so they have their pick of the seating.

"Oh," Hiro says, still following after Elle. "Why not ask him about it? Sometimes parents say things that are not true because they think it is best for you. The only way they know better is if you tell them about it."

"That wouldn't work, he's still angry that I- it's complicated," Elle walks along with the others, slipping into the coffee shop with them. "You really wouldn't believe me if I told you." She quiets a little then and goes to the counter, "Can I get a vanilla chai? Warm. Thanks." Then, she's made up her mind, because she says, "I think my dad let some people hurt me when I was a kid."

Trixie starts digging in her pockets and organizing her change. This process is stopped abruptly when Elle makes her confession. She looks up with wide eyes, "Nan- What? Oh my…" Judging by the way the cashier eyes Trixie as she sets her change on the counter and starts adding it up, she's done this before. She orders a small black coffee and pushes the stack of change toward the cashier before stepping back to discretely continue her conversation.

Hiro's eyebrows sort of furrow as he processes this. He's not so naive that he can't imagine the absolute worst possible thing. "M-maybe you should tell the police," Hiro says, looking at the troubled girl. Maybe this is a hero's destiny, too? Hiro waves to Trixie to make sure she knows where they are as they sit down. "Or somebody."

"Not like that… I mean, he let them do tests and stuff on me that were painful," Elle says, though that really doesn't clear things up as much as she probably thinks. Tact isn't exactly her strong suit. She settles down at a table with Hiro and shrugs her shoulders, "I really look up to him. Or I did. I don't remember exactly when I stopped. And now its like a big dramarama. As if I don't have enough to deal with." Hiro gets a slight smirk and she shakes her head, "The police don't have the manpower. The company my dad works for would chew them up and spit them out. Then they'd stomp on the pieces."

Trixie takes a seat with the other two and frowns. "My dad's company is sort of the same way. Except I think that they would be more likely to… throw him under the bus," she says carefully, as if uncertain if she's used the right expression. "Were you sick as a child?"

Hiro's eyebrows fold in a funny sort of way. Tests? Hiro looks visibly baffled, for a second. He is perhaps somewhat trusting, but he knows a thing or two, at least, about a thing or two, and New York /is/ full of crazy people. The tiny Japanese man is visibly rendered speechless for a couple of seconds. "Do you think he has done… illegal things?" he asks, in a low whisper. It's not his place to meddle, but, like David Bruce Banner, he must walk where his feet take him.

"In a manner of speaking?" Elle explains Trixie's way. "I've had psychologists out the ying-yang. Only, funny thing, I can't recall why I'd have needed them." She shrugs her shoulders and says, "They wanted to test me because I can do this." Right hand down on the table, she turns it palm upwards and with a slight sizzle-crackle of energy gathers electricity in her palm. It's gone again almost as soon as she does it and she looks away from her tablemates.

Trixie gasps audibly, her eyes paractically bugging out of her skull. "Sugoiii!" She follows Elle's hand up to her arm and finally her gaze is back on the woman's face. "Amazing! It's like you're-" She peers at Hiro as if to ask 'did you see that too?' "<It's like she's a hero!> …Electric Eve?"

Hiro looks down at the little lightning strike. Elle is probably expecting Hiro to freak out, at this point. It is perhaps even what she hoped for. And, true, he does look down at Elle's palm, and then to Elle, and then back to Elle's palm, and then to Trixie, and then to Elle, before he looks straight up to the sky. "<It must be,>" Hiro says, in Japanese. "<It's gotta be destiny.>"

"I think I know what happened to you," Hiro says.

Trixie has more the reaction she was expecting. Elle smiles faintly at the girl and shrugs her shoulders, "I've been able to do it for a long time… I can do a lot flashier than that, but… I didn't want to alarm you. And its kind of cozy. I might have hurt… well, you guys." And for some reason, she doesn't want to hurt them. Strange. She stores that thought for later to eye Hiro. "So you've seen other people with powers?"

"Unmei?" Destiny? Trixie peers curiously at Hiro and then turns her attention back to Elle. "That's really no trick?" She reaches out experimentally to tap Elle's hand.

Hiro bites his lower lip, leaning forward to lower his voice, conspiratorially. This is, no doubt, a very odd day for Trixie indeed. "Um. Well…" Okay, Hiro. Come on. If it's your destiny to guide others, you've gotta figure out how to approach them in a sane fashion. "You are not alone," he says, as though just saying it might make it true.

Elle's still dissipating the electricity when Trixie taps her palm, so the girl gets quite the unpleasant shock. Not enough to cause injury, but it could easily make her hair stand on end. She jerks her hand away after, a look of apology on her face. "Whoops… ha. Sorry about the Sudden Trolldoo." Hiro's seriousness has her a little off-kilter. She leans in towards him, brows coming together as she forms the words: "I know. My thing is? My dad letting those buttholes test me like some sort of … battery or something. I wish I could just get away from him for a while, but I can't. If I go missing, there'll be goons after me to bring me back. I always joked about it being a prison, but I think it is. A prison with unicorns on the walls. And TiVo."

Trixie yelps and jerks her hand back, blowing on her finger as though that would make it better. "The city is big! Maybe they wouldn't find you?"

"There are many places to hide," Hiro says, and then pauses for about ten seconds. Actually, he has to stop and think for nigh on three minutes, but he doesn't want it to SEEM that way. Everything passes without alarm. He just needed some time to… gather his thoughts. "Chiyume. You must never tell anybody about what you see and hear here. Promise?" he asks. Then, back to Elle.

"My name is Hiro. Hiro Nakamura." It may or may not start turning bells on. "I will help you. I will protect you. It is my duty. I am… a hero. You are, too."

"I am?" Elle sounds pretty skeptical. It's probably all the torturing she's done in the not-so-distant past. "I guess I could be. I mean… I don't mean to sound selfish but." Pause. "No, wait. I totally mean to sound selfish. I'm concerned about me here. And my butt. And the fact that The Company has me cooped up in that stupid building watching over this stupid girl. I can't even run away properly." She reaches out a non-shocking hand to the man and touches his, noting, "You seem like a good person. I just don't want you to get hurt because of me." A side glance to Trixie there, "Either of you. I should go… before one of said goons shows up."

Trixie nods her understanding, "Wakaru." She then shakes her head to Elle. "Iie. No. You shouldn't go back there if those people are exploiting you. Like Hiro said, there are many places to hide." She peers at Hiro and drops back into Japanese, "<Do you know of any? It's not safe for her to go back if people are hurting her. She needs help.>"

"Wait!" Hiro halfway stands up, just in case she's starting to go. "I have seen what they do to the people I take. I know about the Haitian. It is my duty to protect people from the Company and people like them. Please. You must trust me. I can help. There must be something I can do. I have an ability, too."

Elle stands up and starts to turn away, pausing to look first at Trixie and then to Hiro, "You don't know what you're doing. If you think the Haitian is the worst they've got…" She states, quietly, "Just stay away from the Company. And from me. You'll live longer. Be safe, both of you." Then she moves away from the table and out of the coffee shop in a hurry. "Bye!"

"Wait!" Hiro calls, and takes a few quick steps after her. The door shuts behind Elle, bell jangling, just a few seconds before Hiro gets out onto the street… And there's nobody around, except for the crowded press of people in Times Square.

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