agave, quiet your tongue @salem
agave, the maenad

The first time they met had been wrapped in the sleepy shroud of evening, the quiet of a flickering fire, a gentle, firm nudge in the right direction-- as he had thought it, anyway. Now they met at her hour, trading in the orange of sunset for the blue of the clear, afternoon sky; not that he minded, of course. He had everything he needed, with or without the privacy his office offered.

The cafe is quiet and bright. Almost too bright, for his liking, with large windows and hanging lights that were basically rendered pointless in the midday sun. Perhaps it simply was all those hours he spent reading in the dark, but something about the sun-bleached view simply gave him an eye twitch. However, it did make locating his guest easy (although she didn’t particularly blend in, regardless of where they were), and he sits in the chair across from hers, blinking at how the light reflected on the cold, metal table. If not for the overwhelming smell of coffee (finally, something warm, something familiar), he could have mistaken this for some sort of hospital, with how sterile and hollow the interior rung.

His guest already has her drink, a large, dark cold brew that was so murky he could barely make out the ice cubes floating within it. He’s sure if he were to order the same, he’d have enough power to smash through Deika tower. How charming of a habit, these 20-somethings and their need for caffeine, chasing whatever cheap brew gave them the biggest kick. Or, well, that is to say; he thought himself of a higher taste, when it came to such things, and his own order had been meticulous and careful, almost down to the measurements.

“You wanted to meet?” It’s such a perfectly normal question, that she asks, and delivered in a perfectly normal tone. But he knows better than most, and he knows more about her than she thinks he knows, and he knows with how her eyes roam everywhere except his face how entirely practiced this perfect normalcy is. “I sent the updated spread to your marketing department.” To which he smiles, because for all her confidence; for all the arrogance shown to him in how her brows had furrowed and her lips had pursed defiantly in their first meeting, this was still someone who, on the shaky fawn-legs of inexperience, even in their passion, was eager to please.

“I saw! And I must say, you did an excellent job in correcting the mistakes from the first draft.” Because that’s what they were, when you looked at it objectively. Mistakes. A mishandling of the truth of what Detnerat was doing for the world, cutting the human soul entirely from the equation. But they were mistakes he could forgive, because they were mistakes born from the naivete of a caged bird. His drink is delivered, and as if only just remembering her own, he watches the woman in front of him sip from her straw in the same small, simple way she seemed to do everything.

Ah, what a sad life to lead!

“I’m glad you liked it.” Her gaze is cast downwards, and he wonders why. Likely another symptom of this diseased society-- he could imagine it, how children mock and tease each other; had her stare been called monstrous? Disgusting? Unsettling? Truly, the wounds of adolescence never heal. What a woman in need of liberation! To say she appeared pathetic would be harsh to some, but it was simply a fact of the world that those like her would know no peace until the burdens of a conformist society had been lifted. His predictions were never wrong, after all, and the title ‘Landmine’ marked in red under the Kizuki family name in the quirk registry certainly provided all he needed to know to see that this woman was in need of his aid.

“I was wondering about something, though.” He begins, steepling long fingers in the pale sunlight that casts between them. “After all, we were talking about how to, ah, make your writing feel more personal.” He can see those same, proud brows begin to angle again, and he reaches down to pull up his gift and set it on the table, the sharp logo of Detnerat proudly staring up at them from the bag, as clean and professional as everything else. A world she’d be familiar with, perhaps.

“I’d like you to personally include a review of some of Detnerat’s cosmetics for those with alternate features. So, I’ve put together this little box, as our gift to you.” Conflicted feelings briefly flit across her face as she carefully removes the lid, looking down at the products within.

“I-- My apologies, Mr. Yotsubashi, but--” She’s cut off with the raising of his finger, like a petulant child babbling about discipline, and he gives a little sigh. After all, this was merely reinforcement of their first talk, wasn’t it?

“Miss Kizuki, how can you expect to share the voices of others if you can’t even share your own? Surely something as impartial as makeup can’t be a Herculean task for a promising reporter like yourself, yes? Who knows, perhaps you may even find something you like. I’m sure finding such products can be difficult for a lovely woman like yourself.” He watches her jaw shift slightly, and the lid returns to the box, bowing her head and giving him a thank-you like a chastised schoolgirl. 

He waves it off with the same, even smile, taking a sip of his coffee, knowing that she would only find his note and the old, aging copy of Destro’s biography he had gifted her once she unpacked the box in full.

His watch blips; because he, as usual, had perfected the art of such meetings down to the minute, and he had predicted it would only be a matter of minutes to convince her of the necessity of seeing things his way. So he stands with his drink and begins to leave the empty, boorish cafe, giving the promising reporter a pat on her shoulder as he does.

“Have the updated draft in by Thursday, please. Detnerat is counting on you.” 

The sun hangs cold and uncaring in an empty sky, and the wind tousles needle-straight bangs as if it were being paid to do so. However, despite the bleak city noontime, Destro’s Will smiles.

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