|Hide and Seek in the Welcome Center|
Serenity appears cheerful enough, moving with slow undulations of aquamarine muscle (and an occasional twirl or twist when no one is looking). As usual, Ren is not on the lookout for threats through door or ducts. Ren is, however, at the Welcome Center without a client, so perhaps the reception desk for the TASK offices are equally empty. The psychedelic-skinned sea slug pauses by the door to peer inside, then extends a pair of fins from the water to flutter a wave to Rayne. "Hello," Ren hisses amiably.
When it comes to being a shut in, Flandre Scarlet is an expert of the craft! Having spent nearly five centuries locked inside a basement has sharpened her skills at killing time. She could, in theory, spend all her existence in Twisted doing nothing but going to school, work, and then living in her dorm room.
But where's the fun in that!? Flandre also is prone to random bouts of cabin fever, and when she gets them, it hits her hard!!
Sure, she may not have her nanny around to take her everywhere but Sae is a good alternative. With both having finished their classes, the vampire girl decided to go out and take Sae with her, because the other girl technically counts as supervision.
Too bad that Flandre is accustomed to superhuman supervision and still has a long way to go before she can properly gauge her powers. The vampire girl started to do a little game of tag with Sae, but rather than just sticking to running away like a normal girl, Flandre turned into mist and floated away in the general direction of the welcome center.
It is here that she appears. Thick mist begins to sweep in from the air ducts that Rayne was oh so warily guarding. The red mist floats down to the ground and takes a humanoid form before taking the shape of Flandre.
Oblivious where she is, Flandre giggles and runs around trying to hide behind a desk still fully thinking she's playing hide and seek with Sae.
Flandre really should have warned Sae about that! Sure, she'd seen the vampire clone herself with some weird magic, but she'd yet to see something like that! Dressed in her school uniform, Sae stood there dumbfounded as her girlfriend and classmate turned into a blob of mist, eyes going so so wide.
"F-F-Flan?", eyes watering and shimmering, thinking something really bad's happened to Flandre! Oh no! So she goes to the one place that she thinks might help. Task! They've got a bunch of kickbutt people there, right?
Running as fast as she can, sniffling the whole way, the trio could hear a loud crash as Sae runs headlong into a door, bouncing off it and landing on her butt with an 'oof!'. She's quick to get up though, coming to a skidding stop in front of Rayne and Ren. She spews out a quick stream of strung together words, panicking and inches away from crying! "F-f-FFFFLAAANNNN! Flan got taken and misty and poof and red and the wind stole her and WAAAAAAAAAH! Someoen took FLANNNNNNN! NOW A FACEHUUGER IS GONNA NOM HERRRRRRRRR!". Sniffle, sniffle! Thankfully Flan's not in any real danger! If she was, the panicking Sae would really be no help at all finding her!
Silencia has already made a full recovery from what ailed her before. The girl looks perfectly healthy and energetic now, very different from what she looked like before. The fae had spent a couple of hours training in the park, but now she felt like she wanted to have some human interaction. She checked the usual, but there was no one there, at least, none of her friends were there. So she decided to see if she could find someone in the Welcome Center. It appears she arrived right on time, because she almost bumps into the bawling Sae. "Oh my, sweety... Calm down..." She quickly pulls Sae into a hug and pets the crying girl on the head, frowining worriedly. She shoots Rayne and Ren a look that says 'What did I walk into?'. "Shhh.... everything's going to be okay... calm down..."
Rayne waves in a fairly bored manner to Ren as the receptionist pokes in. "Heya, Ren... It's kinda slow today, isn't it?" But then something comes from the air vents! It's.... red mist. Rayne raises an eyebrow, letting her chair drop all four feet onto the ground as she stands... She looks far more cautious and curious than frightened, as the mist is clearly moving with its own volition, rather than just filling the room. As Flandre solidifies, Rayne facepalms. "Oh, for... what are you-" She cuts herself off as the little vampire runs around the desk while giggling and ducks behind it. The phoenix supervisor looks from Flandre to Ren with a look that suggests she wants to ask 'What the F--- is going on here?' This is of course followed by a facepalm as Sae makes her presence and concern known. "Urrrggh...." She groans into her hand before looking up... and now Sil's just appeared from nowhere. Rayne shrugs to Silencia's look, then reaches down to try to drag Flandre up into view. "Okay, what the hell is going on here?"
Serenity loses the smile after following Rayne's eyes to the vent and arriving mist. Ren flows backward and to the side with a slow ripple, evidently aiming to have a clear path to hiding behind the desk. But then Ren 'blinks' eyes inward at Flandre's materialization and that route is abruptly cut off. The collision with the door gets Ren's attention next, though Ren looks quickly back to Flandre after realizing it's Sae. "Hhh... Good evening, everyone."
When Sae runs in crying Flandre actually starts giggling harder behind Rayne's desk. She tries to muffle her laughter as best she can by covering her mouth with her hands, but its clear that the little vampire girl can be quite cruel to her girlfriend.
In fact, it looked like she was fully willing to let Sae there sobbing thinking that she had been kidnapped, were it not for Rayne suddenly grabbing her by the back of the collar and dragging her out of the desk.
"Hey! No fair! Helping is cheating!" Flandre starts flailing about as she's dragged into view. The vampire may be super strong and fast but she's still very light and thus easy to carry around.
Sae clings very, very hard to Silencia! The girl has a surprising amount of strength behind her when it comes to hugs like this, but soon enough the grip loosens and she sniffles one loud, long time. "P-Promisssse? Flan got kidnapped by..by weird red-mist thingy! It stole her! It stole Flannnnnnnn!" she sniffles again, then rubs her watery eyes on Sil's clothing.
Sae keeps rubbing her eyes for a few minutes but as she looks up..there's Flan! Rayne found Flan! "RAYNNNNNE! You are amazing! Amzzing amazing amazing! You found her! You found Flan!". Giggling with joy, she runs around to glomp Flandre extra tight, smooshing the girl against her chest and twirling! "That was SO QUICK too! You're the best TASK-er ever Rayne!". Twirling a second time! Putting Flandre on her shoulders riding piggy-back, Sae giggles at Ren. "Hiya Ren! Did you see that? It took Rayne like, TWO seconds to save Flandre!", smiling wide and looking straight upwards at Flan's face. "Are you okay silly?"
Silencia nods softly and smiles warmly as Sae seems to calm down. Sil doesn't mind it that Sae just cried all over her clothes, the girl was used to so much worse. "I promise-" And the schoolgirl ran away. Silencia just shakes her head with a smile. Sometimes, Sae was just so very childlike, especially in how quickly she seems to recover from things that make her sad. Silencia looks up and smiles at Serenity and then at Rayne. "Good evening everyone... that was quite the entrance, wasn't it?"
Rayne says, "Excuse me? Helping is cheating? Cheating at what? No one has answered my question! What are you doing here?!" While often Rayne has exhibited fear at Flandre's presense... that's really just not the case today, is it? No, she seems far more annoyed. "I didn't save her, I just picked her up from where she was ducking while giggling!" She looks over to Sil again, a look of utter exasperation on her face. As far as Rayne is concerned lately, these two are Silencia's pet project. "Yeah. Sure. Grand entrance." She groans, planting her face in her hands again as she readily lets Sae take the little vampire from her grip. "Ren, I may need you to watch this place while I go outside and scream."
Serenity looks over to Rayne worriedly as she detains Flandre, then begins very gradually to circle around closer to the door for good measure. Ren pauses and looks on in confusion, though, as Sae bear-hugs the vampire. "Indeed it was a dramatic entrance," Ren agrees. "While it seems that we don't have any clients at the moment," Ren looks to Rayne for confirmation, "it might be a good idea to avoid some behaviors what might be particularly alarming to newcomers." Ren addresses this to Sae rather than Flandre, for some reason. "For example, Rayne is showing admirable restraint after being surprised," Ren diplomatically observes, motioning a pair of fins toward her, despite her preceding remark.
"Hide and seek!" Flandre answers quickly before she's switched from Rayne to Sae's hands. "We were playing hide and seek and now I lost!" Clearly, the little vampire girl is mortified.
It doesn't last too long since being hugged by Sae does wonders to calm Flandre down. She still doesn't seem to be fully aware that Sae was crying because she thought she was kidnapped since she makes no forthcoming comments about the tears running down the girl's cheeks.
Not that she could make a lot of comments when Sae suddenly presses her face hard against her own chest. "Hmmf!!" Flandre flails a bit more at the suffocating display of affection, although she does little to complain besides wiggling a little, it helps that she really doesn't need to breath too.
"Of course I'm fine!" The vampire girl chirps and rides on Sae's back, rubbing her cheek against Sae and kissing her neck. "Even though I lost!" Daggers are stared at Rayne before Flandre finally seems to be aware of her surroundings. "Hey! What is this place anyway?" Asks she once she realizes Silencia, Rayne and Serenity are here. "Are we having a party? Sae and I love parties!! Right Sae??"
Sae's still very much like a child in some ways! Quick to tears over things which most wouldn't worry about, but quick to distraction once tings are all better, too! Sil's pegged down the girl's personality exactly! "Parites?! Mhmhmhmhm! I love parties! Are we having a party?!". Sae turns around to look at Sil, running over to her with Flandre hanging off her back, giggling. "Sil Sil Sil! I gotta show you and Flan somethin'! Come on!".
Taking the priestess's, Sae runs over to one of the potted plants in the welcome center. Unlike the others, this one's covered loops of cut-out paper hearts in various shades of pink and red. "Look look look! I thought it was kinda dreary in here yesterday, so I spruced up the place!", flashing a smile over her shoulder at Flan, then smooching her nose!
"Ren Ren! Okay! I'll make sure I'm extra cute then! Just in case anyone wanders in!", giggling, then bouncing in place, inadvertently doing the same to the girl on her back!
Silencia just chuckles at Rayne, obviously better at dealing with the childlike Sae and Flan. Serenity's diplomacy makes her smile as well. She was about to walk over to Sae, but the bouncy highschooler runs back, allowing Silencia to place a gentle hand on Sae's shoulder and also one on Flan's head. "Both of you, listen well. You two made us very worried for a moment there. It's not good to run around yelling and crying without knowing what's happening. Okay?" Silencia seems to feel a little restless herself. Even though she just got back from training, the priestess feels like the park is calling out to her. She sighs and turns, giving in to that strange urge to be surrounded by nature. It might seem a bit odd that Silencia suddenly walks away this urgently. "Uhm... please excuse me... I need to go..." The fae does not wait for a response, she simply leaves. Apparently her training for the day is not yet done.
Rayne growls slightly. "No. We are not having a party. There are no parties in this room. They are not allowed here." Her restraint seems to be faltering slightly, and she groans as Sae points out the paper hearts. She's trying to make this place look professional, but it seems others keep wanting to keep her from that goal, be it having impromptu keg parties with very unwanted crashers, or hanging paper craft hearts on the plants, or playing hide and seek, or throwing the vending machine through a wall when a candy bar gets stuck in it. Yes, Rayne looks a slight on the miserable side right now. She gives Silencia an almost pleading look as the other turns away, but it's already too late, and now Rayne and Ren have to deal with the two without her.
"I don't think that you need to add any more cuteness to your behavior," Ren responds to Sae with a smile, which Ren tries to maintain despite the vampire kissing her neck. Silencia's remarks get a nod, too, but Ren just looks a bit puzzled by her leave-taking. Ren offers her a wave before approaching Rayne more closely. "You seem to be doing an admirable job of maintaining order all the same, Rayne," Ren offers encouragingly. Ren then motions to the paper hearts. "Sae was showing me some papercrafts yesterday," Ren explains. "I suggested that perhaps she could bring in some examples with various levels of sophistication while I asked you and Sunset about adding a bit of informal art therapy to our services."
Flandre goes 'Wheeee!' when Sae starts skipping around the room and she is thus carried on her back. The blond younger Scarlet nods enthusiastically to the decorations that Sae put in, even though their meaning perhaps escape the tiny vampire terror. "They are red! Like blood!" And blood is nommy so clearly the decorations are alright on Flandre's book.
Unfortunately, that's when everyone suddenly starts being a meanie and scolding them. Flandre positively winces when both Silencia and Rayne tell them to behave themselves whilst Ren adds that Sae doesn't need to cutefy her act any more than it already is. "Aww! But we didn't do anything!" Bemoans Flandre as she leaps out of Sae's back and back to her feet once Ren clarifies that the decorations where at her request.
"Yeah! Can't we have even a little bit of fun around here? We've even been practicing the dance moves that Ren taught us!" Suddenly, Flandre bursts into Bollywood-esque dance, still vehemently trying to win Rayne over through cuteness like Sae does.
Sae teams up with Flandre to give a heart-meltingly cute pout in the direction of Ren and Rayne. No more cuteness?! That's impossible! More cute is always better! Right? She thinks so at least! Shrugging, she starts giggling and joins Flandre in the dancing, mimicing her silly bollywood moves, though with significantly less grave than the smaller blonde. "W-whoa!" she yelps and falls right on Flandre!
Giggling, Sae starts rolling around on the floor with the vampire, clearly ignoring that they're not supposed to be silly here! After the rolls, she hops up! "Mhm mhm! Like blood! And hearts! And cuteness! Hopefully it'll make 'least one of the new people here smile, right? It's got to! Someone's bound to lovelove hearts as much as I do!"
Hmmm'ing, she thinks. "Hey Flan! Do you know how to to any art stuffs? We could totally do that together I bet! It'd be the most adorable thingy ever!!!"
"Ngggyyyrrrr..." Rayne tries to recollect herself, but really... The two high schoolers tend to drain Rayne even without sucking her blood. Really, who said Sae had won Rayne over through cuteness? With a glance to Ren that just screams 'help me!' she says, "We can give the therapy thing a shot... maybe have some of the papercrafts in the counselling rooms... I'd like to keep this room a little less... craft-y looking, though. You don't see me hanging my sketches up in here, even though I've got some of Twisted..." She could deal with the dancing, but when the two start rolling around on the ground, her left eye twitches slightly.
Serenity regards the girls with mild surprise as they seem to recall at least some of the dance lesson. "I think it's wonderful that you are having fun while doing something constructive," Ren offers ain an encouraging tone that nevertheless seems to contain a "but". In fact there is one, and Ren gestures toward the back. "Perhaps we can take this to one of the rooms so as not to disturb," Ren glances to Rayne, "...anyone sensitive who might come in." Ren nods at Rayne's remark. "I agree about the value of plainness here. But you should absolutely bring in some items as examples that we can bring out especially for crafting sessions. The clients can then take their creations home with them."
With an 'oof!' and a burst of giggling, Flandre clings on to Sae as the girl collides with her and they both start tumbling around the room laughing all the way. Clearly not the way to be behaving in public but its obvious that the two schoolers don't seem to care since neither of them act their age.
"Oh yeah!" The vampire girl hops up along with Sae, really, it looks like these two girls are greatly synchronized with their antics. "I can finger paint!" As expected of Flandre she can only perform very basic forms of art or anything. "Oh! And I also draw manga!" Then again.. five hundred years of solitude is a lot of idle time and Flandre -had- to pick up a few hobbies. Her skill set seems to range from absolutely childish to professional mangaka so we'll see what skill set can help the welcome center, if any.
Still totally oblivious that she's annoying the hell out of Rayne, Flandre just starts to happily follow Ren to the other room. "Yay! Drawing! Imma draw Sae being cute!"
Sae giggles and gives Flan a big, loud 'smooch' on the top of her head! "See you Flan! We should totally fingerpaint together sometime!". At that, Sae runs over to give Ren a hug, then dashes out of the room, presumably to figure out how to art!
Rayne says, "Ehhh, I'm just not sure.... crafting sessions is really where we want to be. I mean... maybe we can get contacts with clubs or whatnot around town, let people know where people with similar hobbies are... but... I dunno, having an arts and crafts learning class here just seems... off topic." She tilts her head, then actually looks slightly more relaxed as the two go into a back room. Slightly. "I....wish they would go back to their dorms, instead... Really, why did they come here of all places?" She lets out an exasperated sigh, still clearly stressed out over it."
Serenity regards Flandre uncertainly as she mentions her art skills, not moving to follow them. Sae's attempt at a hug, Ren reciprocates with a pat of the fins on her arm before she dunks herself too far. After they depart, Ren turns back to Rayne. Ren nods at her idea and then frowns at the latter remark. "We can try meetings here or elsewhere as you think appropriate," Ren says. "I'm willing to try a variety of activities to help newcomers to remain calm and to adjust. If the activities prove themselves in making that happen, then they would seem to fit the mission." Ren motions toward the back, "As for their visit... I have mixed feelings. While I certainly don't want to be around anyplace telekinetic explosions may happen, I'd also like to see those two properly supervised. It makes me uncomfortable that a child is rooming and 'cuddling' with someone much older who has a weak grasp of ethics."
Rayne groans slightly, but nods. "Yeah, well, I just can't manage to be their supervisor. Their very existence seems to drain me of energy." With a sigh, she looks upwards. "I suppose you're right... but I wouldn't do a leaded thing... provide pencils, paper, crayons, maybe, let them doodle or craft if they want as a release of nervous energy... maybe have a table out here with that?"
Serenity nods in reply. Ren smiles encouragingly and holds out the edges from the right pair of fins toward Rayne, close to her but not aiming to touch. "A room with a door might be appropriate, just in case a nervous or not-particularly-tactful person happens to come in at the time." Ren motions the left fins toward the door. "In any case, I'm gratified to see the level of control Silencia has over the two. Child psychology is not exactly my forte, but she seems to be making some progress in teaching Flandre about ethics and Sae about boundaries."
Rayne says, "Ugh, tell me about it. I've raised some kids in my first marriage, and I still can't do it." She sighs and shakes her head. "Well, my thoughts for the table out here was a release of nervous energy while still waiting, if we're actually busy... or if it's a time when we're only staffed by a TASK officer and they're waiting for whoever's on call to show up."
"Yes, that makes sense," Ren agrees. "If you like, I can make some arrangements for supplies and for adjusting the furniture." Ren then leans rhinophores toward Rayne inquisitively. "Even though I know your age, I still sometimes have difficulty remembering it," Ren motions toward her cheerily, "like picturing you as a parent. I've less than a decade more life experience than Sae, myself, and starting a family was far from my mind even before coming here."
Rayne nods to Ren. "Yeah, if you could handle that, it'd help me out." She then smirks as Ren expresses her temporary surprise at Rayne's experiences. "Yeah, well, it worked for a while, but..." she frowns. "When your kids look older than you do, it strains the relationship. A lot. Sure, my step-daughter got a kick out of my being able to go out with her friends and no one knowing there was an adult chaperon when she was in her teens, and I was absolutely the MILF to my step-son's friends... but when they were out on their own, they really got resentful." She sighs, shaking her head. "That almost always seems to happen, really."
Serenity grins at a portion of Rayne's recounting, then nods thoughtfully. "I wish I could see pictures of them..." Ren remarks, then continues, "As a younger person, I have only a limited experience with relationships coming to an end." Ren offers an encouraging smile, "No doubt there are plenty of good aspects as well that I may have seen represented in my parents but didn't think to ask about."
Rayne flops back into a nearby seat and nods. "Yeah... I wish I had pictures of my old loved ones, too... Even the ones that grew apart from me." She then shakes her head. "But I came here with nothing but the clothes on my back and the weapons in my hands." She looks back up to Ren with a sad smile. "I can understand why your family portrait is your most treasured item here."
Serenity flows after Rayne then drops to a lower posture to match her height. "By far it is," Ren agrees solemnly before quipping, "Even if I would have tired of wearing one outfit indefinitely." Ren motions toward Rayne, "Your weapons, though, carry some history of their own, do they not?"
Rayne says, "Eeehhhhh... Probably more than I'm aware of, actually. Before I met my last group of friends on Cevernal, I helped some old guy defend a town from raiders. He gave me the swords for it." She shrugs. "He said I could use them better than he could, but didn't tell me where they came from. So... yeah, a history, but I just don't know it, and it's not with me, really. Well, other than the after, I suppose... but I've had that old leather armor longer, and I don't really feel that attached to it."
Serenity nods thoughtfully as Rayne explains. "Perhaps it's less than notable for you," Ren says, gesturing toward her, "but I would consider something like that a landmark memory because of the defense. And if not that, at least a treasured moment with those friends." Ren smiles and mentions, "I'm sure you've tried an autobiography more than once, but perhaps you can consult with an anthropologist sometime too. They can be thrilled with the smallest details of life. I know that, on account of my training, I get a bit more interested than most about which situations are appropriate for a line dance and which are not."
Rayne says, "Autobiography, huh?" She strokes her chin, considering this. Nope, looks like she hasn't. "Maybe I'll look into that when my life has settled down again. Like, really, really settled down." She shakes her head. "If an anthropologist finds me, I'll happily be interviewed, though."
"'Settled down', as in when we've found a way off Twisted?" Ren suggests with a note of amusement. "I have a feeling that, even more than myself, Minu might be someone with an anthropology interests. She and I have had a bit of a chat about my home culture in the past. But last I heard, she was working on her computer and chemistry skills."
Rayne shakes her head and says, "'Settled down' as in whatever it is I do next after being second in command of TASK and running the Welcome Center. Maybe even when I'm done with the whole council thing, assuming that goes through." She shrugs. "Oh? Well, yeah, it sounds like she's been really busy lately, so I'm certainly not gonna bother her about it. I kinda wonder why she didn't bring it up herself, though."
Serenity nods at the clarification. "I'm surprised that she didn't ask. Perhaps she mentioned the idea of an interview in passing to gauge interest at the time?" Ren adds playfully, "Or you looked rather more durable and thus were not a priority for cultural preservation?" Ren then inquires, "Speaking of the council, have you had any success in motivating the participants toward action?"
Rayne sighs and shakes her head. "No, nothing... It's not in my hands... They don't even tell me anything, like they do to Kotal. Sometimes I wonder if it was a joke or not." She then does smirk and look to Ren. "I am pretty durable. Gotta kill me twice, after all!"
"Perhaps you can make use of some of that toughness to put in a word for democracy?" Ren suggests. "Of course Kotal would know better, but it seemed to me that multiple layers of scheming and many years of brooding about it were involved. I can't say it's motivated by idealism, but I have the impression that the suggestion was no passing fancy."