|A Need to Perform|
And he's not just halfassing it, either. He is making a whole ass out of himself here, displaying that near-complete lack of shame with this dance that might just get him thrown out. He's wearing a loose blue sequined shirt that he's left open over a black tank top underneath, strappy leather pants, and a pair of heavy boots. The long 'tails' in front of his ears have been left down. And he's keeping a come-hither look on his face as well as he can.
Yup. No shame.
Rayne was just having a normal lunch... really, that's all she came here for. She was not expecting a show like this out of Kazuki. As such, a blank look of bewilderment is now on her face as she watches, her half eaten club sandwich momentarily forgotten. There are now words beyond WTF to express what is going on in her mind at this spectacle.
Serenity sides in from the street with a cheery demeanor, but then stops abruptly upon spotting Kazuki. Ren flutters fins to arrest forward motion and then scoots off to the side so as not to block the entrance. Apparently, even psychedelic-skinned sea slugs can learn to appreciate the human form and dance. After a few moments of watching with rhinophores canted attentively forward, Ren ripples over closer to the stage, the undulations of the fins in the water matching time with the beat. Ren takes a detour towards Rayne's table upon noticing her presence along the way. Ren flashes her a wave on coming near enough, though keeps attention mostly on the stage.
Not to worry, Rayne. The guy running the karaoke stuff has about the same 'WTF?' expression on his face at the moment. Along with a couple of patrons. And poor Steve! There is much confusion in the Usual Restaurant this day. Men are not supposed to be able to move their hips like that. Fortunately it's just karaoke, so there's only one song. Once he's done he gives a bow and pulls the headset off as he leaves the karaoke stage. He passes Rayne and Serenity, and offers a broad, happy smile. "Hi!" He sounds chipper, if tired. Which might make sense, give what he was just doing.
Rayne says, "...Kaz... It's karaoke, not... not a full on performance hall..." She shakes her head in remaining bewilderment, then looks down, remembering her sandwich. Soon it is in her hands, and some of it in her mouth, as well. Once that mouthful is chewed and swallowed, she asks, "What in the galaxy got into you?"
Serenity claps after the performance, despite the fact that the extruded portions of fin edges serving as hands for the moment don't make much of a sound. Ren drops to a 'kneeling' posture at the end of Rayne's table to match her seated height. "Hello," Ren replies cheerily, undaunted by Rayne's expression and words. "A very passionate performance," Ren offers, then motions a pair of right fins toward the stage. "Given an opportunity to escape from some of the social norms without ill consequence," Ren observes for Rayne, "is it any wonder that some people take full advantage of it?"
Kazuki starts to chuckle at Rayne's mention of karaoke, and finds a seat at her table. "Yeah, I know. But people need to know what I'm willing to do for 'just' karaoke before they'll want me doing more." While Rayne's chewing, he raises his hand and flags down a server for a drink. As for what got into him? He grins broadly. "Nothin'. I'm always like that. I have no shame." And he nods to Serenity's words. "That's pretty much it. Booze is only good for so much. Sure it'll let you do fun stuff you wouldn't ordinarily consider, but it also screws with your physical ability to do those fun things. So instead, like I mentioned, I just have no shame. It's like being drunk socially all the time, but without the side effects."
Rayne says, "Do 'social norms' even apply here in Twisted, Ren? Really, at this point, as long as no one's getting hurt, at this point, I'll accept just about any cultural differences or deviances...." Her expression darkens a bit. "Which means I don't accept the orks' 'culture'." She shakes her head. "Well, I've learned that when I get to the point where I have no shame, I start doing things I regret. So I'm afraid I can't follow you down that particular path anymore, Kazuki."
Serenity regards Kazuki somewhat skeptically as he explains, but nods acknowledgment. "That's a fair point about social norms," Ren agrees, motioning to Rayne. "The town does seem to have some norms at least- not talking over people and not going down the street in the nude, for example. I happen to think that setting aside shame is more fun than ignoring it altogether, though." Ren adds curiously, looking back to Rayne, "Did you run into some trouble with misbehaving people today, then?"
Kazuki nods. "Oh, I know. It's not for everybody," he agrees. "But if you're a performer of... well, really any stripe, being unwilling to humiliate yourself in front of a crowd is kinna detrimental to the career." Serenity's words of setting aside shame get a nod. "Yeah. That's what it is. I wouldn't walk around naked, no." Pause. "...Well, not unless I was being paid a lot of money." Smirk. "Though seriously. I once dressed up in an outfit that was a cross between a super sentai character and a bunny suit before. I was--" Here he turned his head to the right and then extended his right arm up and to the right, curling his left almost to look like a bodybuilder's flex. "--Bunny-Ear Mask!" When he says this, it's SUPER SERIOUS and SO VERY INTENSE, like on the super sentai series he was talking about. Then he chuckles and straightens up. The mention of someone causing trouble has him quieting to listen attentively.
Rayne shakes her head. "Not today, thankfully. But I've heard complaints about them more or less threatening to beat people up, so I've got the officers on the lookout for them." As Kazuki explains one of his more bizarre costumes in the past, she gets a look of utter confusion for a moment before starts just laughing. "Seriously? Holy crap. When you're shameless, it sounds fun. When I get shameless, it's more like, 'well, there goes a year or more worth of planning down the drain.'" She sighs and shakes her head.
Serenity nods in reply to Rayne's mention of orks before turning attention back to Kazuki. "While I don't know what a 'super sentai' is, baby-talk and that body language do seem rather incongruous." Ren grins and nudges him in the shoulder. "A performing arts career seems hard to come by in this town, but perhaps you'll have more success in finding a patron of the arts who is looking for silliness." Ren indicates Kazuki and says to Rayne, "Accidental loss of inhibitions has different consequences than planned, no?"
Kazuki snickers. "Just depends on what field you're in when you end up going completely shameless," he notes. "People are always willing to laugh at you. Also? Japanese game shows. 'Not even once'." His tone is grave, but he grins nonetheless. Serenity's lack of understanding gets a blink. "You've never seen those shows where a bunch of people wearing themed spandex outfits and helmets get together and fight bad guys while gesticulating wildly? Sometimes they have a giant robot that they pilot together to fight giant monsters?" He smiles. "I'm gonna have to show you some special filming shows." And he nods tot he mention of purposeful versus accidental loss of inhibitions. "When you do it on purpose, you get to decide what inhibitions to let go of."
Rayne says, "Who said it was accidental. Like I've said in the past, I tend to stop and try to reinvent myself every once in a while. Sometimes I've done that and screwed up people's planning, be it my own, or worse... others like my mother's side of my family." She winces a bit, apparently not wanting to elaborate. "I think I've seen some of those shoes, Kazuki. It sounds like something my once step-son liked when he was little. But I'm not familiar with the term 'special filming show'."
Serenity confirms Kazuki's suspicions of ignorance amiably enough, but Rayne's story gets a sympathetic frown. "You certainly have more experience than I," Ren remarks to Rayne. "I do love attention and playing the role, but I'm also rather fond of my self-control and life going generally according to plan. Twisted is not, for better or worse, especially conducive to the latter." Looking up to Kazuki, Ren asks, "Do these shows come in book form, too, or is the visual aspect of it the main point?"
Kazuki nods to the words of Rayne reinventing herself. "That works with varying degrees of success. Because there's always some part of you that's either not going to change despite your best efforts to change it, or going to change despite your best efforts to keep it the same." As for 'special filming show'? "Uh... Kamen Rider? Zyuranger? Where the guys dress up like I mentioned, in the spandex, and fake sparks and explosions go off all around while they're fighting?" Serenity's words of Twisted he doesn't reply to, since he doesn't know the place very well yet. But he does acknowledge the question about it. "A lot of it's visual. There's a lot of special effects."
Rayne laughs a bit, shaking her head. "Yeah... never in my life would I have planned what Twisted has thrown at me. Seriously, I just don't understand how I've fallen into everything going on here..." She raises an eyebrow at Kazuki, however. "Well, yeah. There's always a core. But you need to realize... People also change. People can change a lot. The longest time I've ever spent on anything was my first marriage, which is only followed by my second. I don't think I've ever done anything else solid for more than ten years before I start itching for a change. If you were to live as long as I have, Kaz, I'm sure you'd start to see things similarly, even if you last things out longer than I. I think that lack of wanting to stay with one thing for too long is a part of my core, so to speak."
Serenity regards Rayne attentively as she explains. "I've changed my own direction in life quite often," Ren adds afterward, "but would blame that on the shifting whims of childhood, even if I was utterly serious at the time. I feel like I know what is important to me now." Ren glances from Kazuki to Rayne. "Mind you, the notion of even one marriage seems very far off right now, and my career choices might prove to have more variety than expected as this city grows some propr cultural infrastructure."
Kazuki nods. "That's possible," he acknowledges, of Rayne's words of wanting to change. "Then again I'm just a human. What with how few of them I've seen since I got here, I'm starting to think we're at a premium around here." He chuckles. "But yeah. A human doesn't have to worry about that, since they only live a handful of decades anyway." And he outright snorts at Serenity's suggestion of marriage. "Yeah, I'm waaaaay too young for that. Besides, I ain't the marryin' type. But I've never really anted to do anything else than... well, what I'm trying to do now."
Rayne takes another bite of her club sandwich as the other two talk, swallowing in time to make her own new addition to the conversation. "Oh, trust me. I'm not one for marrying, either. Actually, I've turned down more proposals than I've accepted. If I'm gettin' married, I expect it to last decades... and more often then not, I can't really see myself sticking it out that long with someone." She shrugs. "And the thought of someone proposing within a year of starting dating? Yeah, right." She sticks her tongue out in a raspberry. "It's good to have a real focus to your life, though. You can see it through, keep it a focus, and really get somewhere. When I tried being in the entertainment industries, my attempts always wound up flopping."
"There's that too," Kazuki replies. "That and in my case, I don't think the human animal was actually designed to mate for life. Scientists figured out in the early twenty-first century that males tended to be more relaxed when they had a 'choice' of mates, even if the choices weren't viable. Like looking at attractive actresses on television and what have ya. Humans just seem hardwired not to stay with their partners for more than a few years." Though Rayne's mention of being in the entertainment industry? This piques his curiosity. "Oh? What did you do, if you don't mind me asking?"
Rayne says, "Well, let's see... I was part of four different bands with various instruments or as a singer, I was a background dancer on stage musicals, I was a part of an orchestra, I attempted to get into acting but that went absolutely nowhere... does dealing blackjack at a casino count?" She ponders this, considering other jobs that might have been considered entertainment. "I once tried writing a novel, but I didn't even finish that."
"You've definitely got more under your belt than I do," Kazuki acknowledges. "About the only thing I can brag about that might even count is doing a voice in a..." Pause. "...An animation. Which was... an experience." He leaves it at that. "Though, question. Can you sing?"
Rayne says, "I used to be able to, at least. I can hum a few bars if ya ask." She shrugs. "I probably still can pretty well, that's a lot simpler than trying to pick up an instrument after a few years of being out of practice." She then tilts her head. "Ooh, some voice acting. I tried out for that once, but they didn't pick me up. Part of when I was attempting to be an actress, and all. It's a rough industry to get into, so you should consider yourself lucky you got in there."
"I went with a voice coach when I was a teenager, so I have a pretty good range," Kazuki replies. And then suddenly... his voice changes. It raises a couple octaves as he says the next. It's not a woman's voice here, not the intentionally high-pitched voice. It's... pretty completely androgynous. "As you can see, I kinda needed to, when I sounded like this at sixteen." Oddly, it... seems to fit his features better. And then he's back to his 'normal' baritone. "So I learned to pitch my voice up or down."
Rayne whistles. "That's... quite the range there. You had a pretty damn good vocal coach, then. I think I've got like half the range you do with that one... So why the higher interest in if I can sing or not?" she asks. "Like I said, I've been a singer in a couple of bands... and a solo lounge singer thing once... so I've actually been paid to sing a decent amount of time."
Kazuki nods. "She was a really good coach. She taught me a lot. " Then suddenly... it is a woman's voice. True, it's a lower voice, but it could pass for a woman's if Rayne couldn't see it was coming out of him. "Still workin' on the 'little kid' voice, though. But I can do this." Back again to his baritone, "I had thought about seeing if you wanted to do some duets sometime. I like working with other people who have an appreciation for music." He smiles.
Rayne frowns slightly. "Well, I had an appreciation for music more than I have one now. Sure, I hum and whistle a lot, but right now I've got way too much on my plate to really put a focus back onto that again." She lets out a sigh with a blank look on her face. "Right now I'm still trying to work on my drawing ability as far as a hobby is considered."
Kazuki nods. "I understand," he notes, to her prior interest in music. As for drawing? "Oh man. I have like no artistic talent when it comes to drawing, I can only envy someone who does. How good have you gotten at it?" he inquires.
Rayne says, "Ehhh... not good enough. Ever since the Welcome Center got started, I'm finding it difficult to find the time to get in some practice, let alone have it coincide with someone willing to sit still long enough for me to attempt to draw them at the same time that I've got the time..." She lets out a sigh. "So I'm finding myself doing a lot of trees, the park's fountain, the skyline, mostly."
Kazuki tilts his head a little at the words. "I'm almost always free," he notes. "Still trying to get the ball rolling, you know? So I don't mind helping you with the Welcome Center when I get better acquainted with the place. I mean, if it's allowed. I'd volunteer to sit for a sketch, but I doubt you'd want to draw me."
Rayne says, "Why wouldn't I? The first person I tried to draw was a freaking unicorn, you'd be a hell of a lot easier to draw than her even if I hadn't improved since then." She shrugs. "As far as help at the Welcome Center is concerned, sure, we can use the help once you're more settled in... I think... what was the rule I put up... A month in town before we'll consider people for help in the Welcome Center?"
"Well, I'm not much to look at," Kazuki replies. "All straight lines and gangly limbs." Ah, there's the cause of that whole 'no shame' bit, isn't it? Though in the next moment he's smirking. "I promise not to wear anything too revealing. Unless that's what you were looking for?" Yes, he's teasing her. As for the mention of the Welcome Center? He nods. "I can deal with that," he agrees. "So once I settle in, I'll ask if you still need the help, right?"
Rayne blinks, pulling her head back at the same time. "Agefff.. No, no, that won't be necessary. I'm not going for nudes, fully clothed as you normally dress is perfectly fine!" She blushes a slight, and quickly accepts the other line of conversation. "Yeah, ask back then. We probably will still need help for coverage... Right now we're using some TASK officers to just man the desk some times."
Kazuki snickers at Rayne's reaction to his teasing. "I'm kidding, really. I'll stay decent, I promise." As for using TASK officers to man the desk? he nods. "Yeah, that's probably not that great. No offense, but I've noticed that police officers tend to be oversensitive to their environment, and see threats in a careless movement. As a civilian, you kind of need to handle them with kid gloves."
Rayne says, "Yeah, yeah, I know. I do try to pick the friendlier officers, but right now it's about all we have... After all, the Welcome Center is actually technically a part of TASK still, so the officers are kinda our resource, as well... And we talked about having an officer around just in case even if we do fully separate. But yeah... I'm thinking we may want some part timer people just to man the desk... it might be better. Even if they don't help with counselling, it's good to have someone there to call myself, Ren, or Sunset in." She leans back in her chair a bit, looking up. "I'll have to ask around a bit, I suppose."
The front door opens again to admit the psychedelic-skinned sea slug, who flows inside with a slow undulation. Ren flashes a pair of fin edges from the water at Rayne and Kazuki while returning to their table. Apparently it wasn't too tiring a job.
"That makes sense," Kazuki replies. "Don't want your boss coming in and seeing someone not in the group and demanding to know what's going on. I have a feeling that would be hazardous to someone's health. Considering from the pictures I've seen, your boss makes me think of that really super-violent fighting video game that came out in the late 20th century in my world. Looks like he'd be right at home on the roster. Death Phighter, I believe. With a 'ph' instead of an 'f'." He looks up as the door opens, and the offers a wave to Serenity as she enters. "Welcome back, Serenity," he offers with a smile.
Rayne laughs, shaking her head. "Well, he is a war god. Battle is... kinda his thing, really. But I pretty much have full autonomy outside of budget with the welcome center. He recognizes that he doesn't know how to be welcoming like Ren and Sunset can do. And me, to a lesser extent. Aaaaand speaking of Ren, hey, Ren!"
"Hello again," Ren rasps amiably before slipping to a stop at the end of the table. "What's this? Video games and job descriptions?" Ren remarks curiously. "Speaking of the job, the new arrival apparently needed some convincing that Twisted was not a prank, but showed admirable resolve and mental toughness after realizing this."
Kazuki blinks. "Like... literally a war god?" he inquires. "I figured that as just propaganda. Or an exaggeration, or just an extreme way of saying he's really good at fighting. Though yeah... I'd think diplomacy wouldn't come natural to a war god, seeing as how the use of one generally precludes use of the other." He pauses then, listening to Serenity explain about the new arrival. "Really? Did everything work out all right?"
Rayne says, "He still needed convincing it wasn't a prank after seeing you? Wow. He really was delusional..." She shakes her head, then looks to Kazuki. "No, I do mean literal god... Sun god, too, I've, uh... seen him hold the sun still in the sky. I'd have been in awe if I weren't trying to both fight for my life and come up with tactics at the time. But yeah, diplomacy doesn't exactly come naturally at all to him."
"The person in the Welcome Center supposed that might be just the person to convince him," Ren explains. "Indeed it did work out all right, and rather quickly- hence the quick return." Ren adds after Rayne's explanation, "Kotal does not insist on being treated as a deity, which is quite all right with me. But he does seem to be old enough and magically powerful enough that I'm not inclined to quibble with the terminology." Ren motions toward Rayne. "The willingness to delegate is an important characteristic for a leader, I understand."
Kazuki's eyes go a bit wide as Rayne confirms it, that Kotal is actually a real god. "Wow... Does... does that even happen? What kind of a place is this that it can trap gods?" He shakes his head. "Uh. Well. Yeah, that makes sense. The... diplomacy thing, I mean." Kazuki nods a little as Serenity explains Kotal's demeanor. "Well... that's good at least. I'd hate to trip over my proper respect terms if I happened to stumble on him and get incinerated or something."
Rayne says, "Well... He's not the only deity I've run into. There's also Miss Deis, but I think she was more just worshipped as if she were a deity in her home universe... well, the universe she was in before this one, at least. Not sure, actually... she kinda downplays that. I'm pretty sure she doesn't want any worshipers, as opposed to Kotal who actually has a priestess." She then blinks. "Wait... have you seen Silencia since she left her cocoon?"
Serenity seems to be more accustomed to the situation Kazuki describes, or at least putting on a better show of calm. "Being respectful of everyone- it's not just good behavior, but good for one's safety, too?" Ren suggests to Kazuki with a grin. Ren looks thoughtful as Rayne describes Deis, then smiles at her question. "I've not yet heard of other changes resulting from Silencia's maturation, but the immediately visible difference is the wings." Ren flares out both pairs of fins to the sides, shaping the profiles more butterfly-like while expanding them with paper-fan folds.
"Like I said... what kind of place is this that can trap gods?" Kazuki repeats. "Aren't gods supposed to be like... massively overpowered? Because that's why people worshipped them, right?" And then the note of Silencia! "Oh! She's out now? That's good. I haven't seen her, no." Kazuki nods enthusiastically to Serenity's comments. "Particularly when the other person has abilities and powers 'beyond the ken of mortal men'," he adds. Then Serenity mentions wings, and Kazuki looks at how she's shaping her fins. "...Butterfly wings?"
Rayne says, "This kinda place is insane, that's what it is... But I just realized that Kazuki probably wouldn't know Sil if he came across her, despite the fact that he spent some time around her when she was in her cocoon. But yeah... She has these really, really massive butterfly wings sticking out of her back now... so she'd be kinda hard to miss now. At any rate, she's Kotal's priestess... which she was before she was his girlfriend." She lets out a bit of an exasperated sigh. "Dear gods those two are lovey-dovey now."
Serenity relaxes the fins and nods as Rayne summarizes. "Before the arrival of Neo-Edo, I supposed that the barrier around the town was what kept the more powerful beings in check and prevented them from leaving under their own power," Ren says, motioning upward. "But given that Kotal and Deis have not escaped from outside the barrier, I now have no idea how this world affects them." Ren grins at Rayne's observation about the couple. "They are certainly not a matching set. But perhaps complementary." Ren adds, looking curiously to Rayne, "What exactly did you see them doing recently?"
Kazuki listens to Rayne's description of Silencia's wings... and then starts to laugh at the mention of them being lovey-dovey. "That's hard to picture with a war god," he admits. "But I guess the sun has to have a nurturing side. A lot of the things in the world would have a male and a female side if they were personified." Serenity's words about Neo-Edo get a nod. "Yeah. There's gotta be somethin' else at work." And then she asks Rayne to tell what she's been seeing Kotal and Silencia do lately. "Uh, that might be a bit personal. And possibly a little obscene," he teases
Rayne says, "Eh? Oh, just... you know, the little things. They're like any couple at this point in their relationship, really, but... It can be nearly as exhausting as Sae and Flandre." She then frowns, and shakes her head. "No, I take it back. Nothing is as exhausting as those two. But yeah, the barrier might block a lot their power, but they just need... more power to get out, I think. They're gods of war and magic, not of... dimension hopping?"
"Rayne wouldn't pass along gossip of the personal or obscene sort," Ren assures Kazuki before listening attentively to Rayne's explanation. "I can certainly see how Sae and Flandre might be exhausting. Sae has a surplus of energy and Flandre has... some troublesome social issues and quite the age difference," Ren frowns briefly. "But surely Silencia and Kotal can't be that wearying?" Ren adds, "Or is it the need to reassure each other constantly that's the wearing part?"
"Little things? Holding hands, making goo-goo eyes at each other-- that kind of thing?" Kazuki inquires. "That makes sense. Especially if they're newly together. Also maybe it's just something that's totally new to a war god, you know?" He nods, too, when Serenity mentions Rayne wouldn't pass along obscene gossip. "Aww... that's not fun," he teases. Though he's clearly just kidding.
Rayne snorts lightly as she rolls her eyes. "I wouldn't even want to know obscene gossip. I'm well past that particular phase in my life, thank you. But yeah... either one of Sae or Flan can exhaust me on their own, when they're both there together, it..." She visible deflates a bit with a sigh. "It really makes me feel old."
Serenity nods at Rayne's assessment of the child and childish one. "I'm not past that phase of my life-" Ren then adds with a grin, "Of course, that would be an unseemly invasion of privacy." Ren offers Rayne an encouraging smile while indicating Kazuki, "That does make sense that one who had all manner of experience would participate differently in a relationship than someone for whom it was new. It's not that one relationship is better than another, simply different."
Kazuki snickers at Rayne's assertion that she doesn't want to know any obscene gossip. But he doesn't comment on it. He also hasn't had the pleasure of meeting Sae or Flandre, so he can't really comment on that either. He does snicker at Serenity's words of not being past that stage of her life. And he nods to the mention of the ways people reacted to relationships. "Makes sense." He sighs, and then stands. "Well, as much as I've been enjoying this conversation, I need to get moving, ladies. Sequins aren't nice to be sweaty in. I need a shower." He smirks. "Have a nice day, ladies."