Date: December 28, 2010
Kanami reveals the nature of the strange "changes" she is experiencing, and gets some advice on how to deal with them.
"When Masks Become Real"
Kanami's Quarters - Location Unknown
Dark, dreary, and underground was amongst the least favorite of Datura's locale preferences. Considering the group's track record with underground horrors, it's perhaps understandable. But this was no underground lair of evil and death, nor a subterranean nesting ground for a race of ancient and sentient spiders. For those who were supposed to be here, it was a 'safehouse', and a deathtrap for those who weren't. But then again, considering the dark reputation of the Tao Shih, 'safe' was a very relative word.
The blonde-haired Yamanaka was once again clad in her guise of the Lady Ryoko, her kimono sky-blue, elegant, and conservative, printed with large white blossoms, forcing her to take tiny steps when she walked. Her hair was swept up and behind her head, pinned carefully by a personal handmaid. It had taken some doing to lose her personal escort, but the feat had eventually been managed by retiring to her room early for the night as evening fell, leaving instructions not to be disturbed. The quartet of samurai provided for her were very good at their jobs, organizing her hired guards much better than she could have herself. But they were looking to keep shinobi out of the diva's room, not to keep one in.
The kunoichi's tabi socks made little sound on the solid rocks of the underground passages, the lamp she held aloft doing little to illuminate the darkness, as if this place resisted light of any sort from any source. But it isn't long before the frowny-faced songstress-slash-dancer is before the entrance to a certain room, containing a certian person.
The door slides open with a wooden *thunk* without so much as a walk or word of announcement. "Kana? Kana! There you are. I hate being underground." The young woman wraps her arms about her own body, half-hugging herself as she steps inside the older woman's quarters without waiting for an invitation or closing the door behind her, sulking unhappily. "It's always cold, always drafty. It-… It sucks!"
Kanami is seated on her bed, as Datura would have noticed readily. She is wearing a nighty that is simultaneously elegant and sensual. It emphasizes all of her form without revealing much. It is, infact, not even that complex or fancy. Perhaps it is the body it is being worn on, rather than the garment itself, that causes such an appealing vision.
And yet some minor details about Kanami seem a bit different. Her skin is pale to the point of looking painted such a ghostly hue. Her hair is somehow less smooth and perfect-looking than normal and even seems to be a bit stringy and perhaps LONGER. Finally, Kanami has something on the right side of her face she is poking at and examining in the mirror. Some sort of patch of skin that apparently displeases her. Whatever it is is not immediately visible when Datura enters.
Kanami quickly closes up her mirror when the blonde arrives in her room, and turns her head so that her right-side is facing away. "Ohh, poor little Dat-chan~." Kanami lilts as she smiles slightly and tries to brush her hair over the right side of her face with her fingers. She seems to have succeeded when she turns to face Datura again. "Did they not show you how to operate the radiophones? Every room should be equipped with one. It is a device that allows you to contact a sort of 'hub' or 'nexus' for communications within our base. You can request the heat be turned on in your room just by giving them your name, the room number, and the desired temperature. I will agree on drafty, however, and ask that to prevent more drafts you please close the door behind you." She indicates the door with one hand.
"The radiophones are also how you can order food delivered without needing to walk all the way to a kitchen or storage room. Just keep in mind that this is not a hotel. Fillet mignon or some such is probably not something we have stocked up on."
The younger kunoichi places her hands on her hips to accentuate her pout-frown before half-turning her upper body to look back at the door she had just walked in. For a moment, she does nothing, as if she fully expected it to simply close itself based upon her desires. When it rebelliously fails to do so, she lets out an exasperated sigh as if the task of shoving it closed with her index finger were somehow something she really shouldn't need to be bothered with. Once that's done, the patter of her feet across the floor picks up again as her feet lead her towards the seated Nogakujin.
"You talk like I'm going to be staying down here. Forget it! All this dank isn't good for my skin." Datura pauses a foot or so away from the bed, twining her fingers in frnt of her restlessly for just a moment. Finally, she slides her narrow frame down onto the mattress, lifting a hand to brush through the strands of Kanami's hair. The frown never leaves.
"You look…" A pause. "…a little different. Are you okay? I want to know everything. Everything. What are these 'changes' and what are they doing to you? Are you dying? Oh god," Datura leans back slightly, a look that was midly aghast crossing her features. "You didn't, you know, get it from me, did you? Like when you were with the others trying to help me?"
Kanami shrugs and murmurs cryptically, "You never know." in response to Datura's assertion she won't be staying down here. When Datura sits down next to her and starts stroking through her hair, she resists the urge to stand up and move away. If there is any one person she can trust in this world, it is Datura. Trying to 'protect' herself by obeying foolish instinctive responses to feeling vulnerable would endanger that. At the questions, Kanami just looks towards Datura briefly and then down at the floor. A faint smile remains on her lips but it is not a very humorous one.
"Not exactly, though the two are related. Based on what I have determined from speaking to Amuro-sama, the creature he called 'Darkside' is gone for good. He can not find any trace of it on this plane of existence or in any of us. And he has tried, believe me. He wants to make sure there is no chance of a repeat performance." She sighs and then says, "I am not sure how much you remember, but my masks…" She turns to look over at a small desk near one wall upon which three masks rest.
The woman's face that is the Mystic Noh-men blessed by her mother, the snake-like Doujouji Mask blessed by her once-companion Inoue, and the disturbing and ghost-like Aoi no Ue Mask blessed by Ringu — a childhood friend that Kanami murdered and yet who saw fit to grant some spiritual power to her killer regardless. "…But each of those masks has a piece of a dead woman inside of it — or a dead girl in some cases. Two of them did not even make it out of their teens."
She crosses her arms over her chest and says, "I called them back from the other side to help me rescue you." She then just sits there and continues staring at the floor, as if either that explained everything or as though she did not know how to proceed.
"Oh. Well, that's good. That thing was…" The blonde trails off as if words could not quite cover the scope of what the infectious creature was. "…yeah." And yet Datura doesn't quite seem pleased, nor relieved, by the news that the beast could no longer threaten any of them. Perhaps she was not, as if it had been that evil thing, at least she would have had an idea of what it was that was now causing the Nogakujin distress, discomfort, or worse. For a moment, she simply sits there, on her hip, one arm braced against the bed, the other in her lap as she studies the older woman's profile, as if expecting more. But more never comes, and soon enough, the younger woman's mouth is moving again.
"Okay." She starts off slowly, glancing away, as if trying to gather her words carefully. "So it has something to do with the spirits in your masks. Kana? It's the dead girl, isn't it? The one you killed, I mean. She's doing something to you. Or causing something indirectly." A frown. "Why do all the dead girls in our past want to get us back?"
But those blue eyes return to the dark-haired Kanami once again, an earnestly determined set to her brows and lips. "But Amuro-kun can maybe help, you think. …Come on, tell me what's wrong. I can't just sit here and keep on guessing! Don't make me read your mind."
Kanami shakes her head and sighs. "No it is not that. There is no intentional act upon the part of any of the spirits to harm me. At least not as far as I know. Instead, the issue is… I called upon them from the other side of the barrier between life and death, to give me their strength. When we fought the infection creature, the three Masks merged with me to give me greater power. It was supposed to be temporary. But it ended so abruptly, I am not sure that the spirits of the Masks left ME when I left YOU."
She turns towards Datura and says, "Further, the physiological changes that occur when I use one of the Masks, which are ordinarily purely cosmetic, are becoming permanent." Hesitantly, the Actress moves her hair aside from the right half of her face. There, near her right eye and across the upper cheek bone, is some sort of… Something. A patch of skin that does not look normal. It looks pallid, reflective, and with very defined edges. "It is a scale," she explains. Then, after a pause, "Such as from a snake. Amuro-sama apparently feels that Mune-san can stabilize my body and either reverse the changes or stop them. I hope she is right, because I would rather my face not look like…" She gestures towards the Aoi no Ue Mask, with its empty black eyes and mouth full of sharp things that should not exist anywhere outside of a nightmare. "…That."
"Oh." Hearing that her theory was wrong sets the Yamanaka back a bit, but doesn't lessen her frown. Her eyebrows raise slightly, yet the downturn of her lips dips slightly further, becoming less pouty, more concerned with the issue at hand. Unfortunately, despite her experience travelling outside of her own body, matters of spirits were rather alien to her. As the brunette slides aside some of her hair to show the odd patch of 'skin', the worried frown dissolves, replaced by a lock of surprise as she physically leans back slightly. Eventually, her eyes tear away from the odd patch and onto the indicated horror mask that looked more like something fashioned to frighten children and the superstitious than anything.
Datura reaches for it. "Oh," she repeats, as her fingers close around the edge of the black-haired, blank-eyed facemask. It's pulled closer to her, slowly, as if moving through water, until it is mere inches away from her own face, as if the Yamanaka were face-to-face with a disembodied head. Her eyes study the contours, resisting the urge to back away from the ugly thing as she licks her lips briefly, leaving behind a wet sheen. Finally, she lowers it away, into her lap, releasing the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. Her eyes refocus on the older woman, slight contrition apparent in the set of her brow.
"I… don't think I could kiss this. I mean, it's beautiful and all, in that 'I'll tear your lips off for trying' kind of way- kind of hot, too -but I think I want my lips to stay attached to my face." One hand on the mask to keep it from just dropping out of her lap and onto the floor, the back of the index finger on her other hand reaching up to lay a feather-light touch on the imperfection marring Kanami's features. "What can I do? I don't know any medical procedures, but… But! If Mu-mu can't help, I want you to come with me to see some other, uh, 'people' who might can do something. You have to." Her expression turns more demanding. "You have to."
Kanami looks at Datura with vague amusement. "I would not want to kiss that either, so I do not blame you. Yes, Mune-san has acquired a great deal of knowledge of medicine and the human body. I have high hopes that she can do as Amuro-sama wishes. I just hope that she does it sooner rather than later. And yes, if she fails… I will do what is necessary to get this problem resolved. Unless the resolution involves feeding my face to spiders." She sticks out her tongue a bit, in a display of childishness and immaturity that has never before graced Kanami's face or mannerisms.
Oh, no, wait. The tongue is just extending and extending, far beyond the 'normal' length of a human tongue, until it licks Datura's lips slowly, from one side to the other, and then retreats quickly back into Kanami's mouth. She smiles that tight-lipped, snakeish grin she has adopted of late. "Hopefully Mune-san will not fix EVERY part of me…"
"What? No! They wouldn't eat you. I'm sure of it!" Though the blonde's lips quirk to the side and her eyes avert slightly down and to the right as she says it. The fact that she adds on a muttered "Probably." likely doesn't help her arguement. Well, they were spiders, with wants and whims that weren't exactly in line with typical human thought. And there was, of course, the small matter that even she had almost been eaten during one or two of her visits.
The sweep of an overly-extended tongue across the edges of her mouth causes her to jump with a started, half-delighted squeak, the mask fumbling from her lap and towards the floor. She leans forward with a wickedly impish grin, the kind reserved for special occasions, such as when she's about to hurt someone, her thumb tracing the line of the Nogakujin's lower lip, plucking at it lightly as if desiring another glimpse of the extendable pink organ within. "We can only hope. Because if-" But it last only a moment before she pushes herself away, scuttling onto her knees and erasing the smile.
"No, wait, wait." Her hands land softly on the older woman's shoulders as she bounces up and down on the bed like a petulant child jumping around to get what she wanted from a parent. The pout was back. "Don't change the subject! We're not done talking about this." A finger goes up, though given that her palm rested on Kanami's shoulder, the other woman probably couldn't see it, so much as feel it lift, and then thumb back down. "I wanna know more about what's happening to you. Is anything else changing? How much has changed already? Are you going to get more scales? Can you like see in the dark now?"
Kanami arches an eyebrow and then bends down to pick up the Aoi no Ue Mask after Datura asks her questions. "Well, my hair has begun to grow faster… And it seems to be losing its usual texture and tendency to remain smooth… It seems as though no matter how much I wash it it just stays all… Stringy." She frowns slightly as she toys with some of the aforementioned stringy hair.
"I have no idea if I am going to get more scales, but if Mune-san treats me soon the answer should hopefully be 'no'. My skine tone has become much paler than it already was… Hmm… Oh, and I seem to be healing faster. The less pleasant parts of my menstrual cycle only last a total of two days now, apparently. I recovered from nearly drowning in the Land of Whirlpools in about an hour. And I seem to be having this oddest craving for EGGS recently…"
"…Eggs? Kana, that's just gross. They're so… so… slimey! And yellow. And just the feel of them in my mouth, BLEGH!" Datura opens her mouth as she turns her head to the side, sticking out her tongue in a gagging gesture. Her fingers even crinkle the material around Kanami's shoulders as they curl, her entire body giving an forced involuntary shudder. After she's done with her little display, the outcast Yamanaka continues. "You realize you're going to have to brush your teeth before getting within ten yards of me after you've eaten those disgusting things, right?"
Plopping back on her heels, causing the mattress to shift and jolt lightly with her abrupt changes in position, she removes her hands from the older woman's shoulders, digesting the rest of the information. At least, she removes one hand, using the other to pinch at dark strands of hair to feel the 'stringyness' of it, even as her upper lip curls and she 'tchs'. "Figures. I just start wasting away when I get sick. You get to skip half your period."
Several moments of silence tick by, at least on the part of the younger kunoichi, as she runs her fingers through midnight hair over and over, as if the mild grooming of her finger-brush could restore it to its previous volume and healthy sheen. Her blue eyes take in the unnaturally pale skin that practically glowed and became translucent in the available light, and then move to the single scale atop her cheek. She had the distinct urge to try to pry it off.
"Is that all? You're not holding out on me, are you? I want to help. I have to do something. I can't just sit here! What can I do? You have to tell me. You have to."
Kanami nods soberly. "That is all that I am aware of. There may be internal changes I would not be able to detect, of course. And apparently Amuro-sama or his 'scientists' were able to identify the changes occurring in my body from my blood alone, so there is probably something cellular involved… Not that I know much about biology, mind you."
She sighs. "I am as much at a loss as you are, Dat-chan. I simply do not know how to fix this." She stands slowly so that Datura has time to let go of her hair, and then heads over to the desk to put the ceramic mask back down. "Also, it is not as though I eat the eggs raw or anything. Some scrambled eggs and cheese can be a nice change of pace in the morning from the more typical fare. Still, I will make sure not to eat them when I am expecting to be around you." She turns back to face the bed and smiles. "There is nothing to worry about. If this were an emergency I would likely already be on an operating table or whatever Mune-san needs to do."
"Ryoko." The correction is automatic, unthinking as Kanami abandons the bed. "Um, I mean," A glance down at her lap, where her hands have retreated to with nothing else to hold on to. "You can call me that when we're not around people we don't know. You know. If you want." After a moment of awkward silence, the blonde clears her throat, pulling her legs out from under her to sit flat on the bed, reaching up to her hair to pull out the pair of painted cedar sticks that kept her mass of hair up and behind her, allowing it to fall. She shakes it loose of the mild tangles the style had given it with her hands.
"I guess you're right. Unless they're just not ready or need more precious time. I really shouldn't focus on the dismal side, should I? I just hate waiting. You know how much I hate it. Well, you'd better let know the minute you know anything else. Use the communication seal if you need to."
One slim leg smoothly crosses over the other as the rogue Konoha kunoichi leans back on her hands, her upper foot bouncing idly as she looks about the room, really looks, for the first time. But her gaze is restless, continually going back to the actress and her assortment of masks. "Sooooo… I don't have to be back until morning. I told them under no circumstances was I to be disturbed, so as long as I'm back before the chamber maid comes in, I'm good. Do you think Mumu and Amuro-kun will be ready by then?" She asks, raising her eyebrows hopefully.
Kanami just shrugs as she wanders back over to the bed and seats herself slowly and gracefully — the same sort of movements she seems to make all the time. But then her left wrist seems to give out on her, sending her tipping over to the side as her elbow buckles. She lets out a surprised, "Oh!" but after a few seconds, once she has righted herself, she seems to be fine. She looks down at her wrist with a frown. "Well, that was painful," she remarks blandly. "I will have to have Mune-san fix my wrist in the morning as well." She leans over to hug Datura and says, "If they are not ready in the morning then they will have you and I both to answer to. Alright, Dat-cha—Ryoko-chan?" She plants a kiss on the blonde's forehead.