Drunkard's Walk Forums
[IC][Story][Arc 1] House Call - Printable Version

+- Drunkard's Walk Forums (http://www.accessdenied-rms.net/forums)
+-- Forum: General (http://www.accessdenied-rms.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?fid=1)
+--- Forum: Other People's Fanfiction (http://www.accessdenied-rms.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?fid=8)
+---- Forum: There's Nothing Better (http://www.accessdenied-rms.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?fid=10)
+---- Thread: [IC][Story][Arc 1] House Call (/showthread.php?tid=879)



[IC][Story][Arc 1] House Call - robkelk - 05-09-2017

OOC: Rob's sidestory #2, set between "Time in the Woods" and "It's All Relative"


Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
October 11, 2016
8:03am

"Rob-san, who else is here?"

Rob looked at Usagi. "There's just the two of us in this room, Usagi-san."

"That isn't what I meant."

"I know. I'm not sure how much I should tell you about other groups. And you have to go catch your bus, or you'll be late for your first day of school here."

"Oh! Leaving now! Bye!"

Rob waited until she was gone, made sure he was alone (confirmed; both Ami and Mii had morning classes), then physically unlocked the case around the computer attached to the line that wasn't connected to the building's LAN and firewall.



Online
October 11, 2016
8:17am

ROB_DONALDSON> Is anyone else online?
WASHUU_HAKUBI> Hi there, Rob!
ROB_DONALDSON> What are *you* doing on this board? I thought this was building managers only.
WASHUU_HAKUBI> Did you really think you could keep me out?
ROB_DONALDSON> No, I thought you'd be bored here. Does your resident Blackbird fan know you've hacked his account?
WASHUU_HAKUBI> I didn't hack his account.
ROB_DONALDSON> Oh, good.
WASHUU_HAKUBI> I hacked yours, cloned it, and renamed the clone.
ROB_DONALDSON> Shit.
HELPBOT> Language!
ROB_DONALDSON> Sorry.
WASHUU_HAKUBI> Aren't you supposed to be taking care of your tenants right now?
ROB_DONALDSON> Just sent them all off to school. Usagi wants to know who else is enjoying the hospitality of the building managers.
WASHUU_HAKUBI> I don't mind if you tell them about us.
ROB_DONALDSON> All of you, or just the Masaki household?
WASHUU_HAKUBI> Good point. Just the Masaki household for now.
ROB_DONALDSON> As long as I've got your attention
WASHUU_HAKUBI> I don't hand out toys to everybody who asks, you know.
ROB_DONALDSON> I know. I also know you'd probably want to run some scans on the Sailor Senshi, and we need a doctor on call.
WASHUU_HAKUBI> Sailor Senshi? As in Silver Millennium?
ROB_DONALDSON> The same, or rather their reincarnations.
WASHUU_HAKUBI> Give me ten minutes to pack, and I'll be right there.
ROB_DONALDSON> They're on a bus, going to school. And so are the girls from Academy City.
WASHUU_HAKUBI> Academy City? Not The Queen, I hope.
ROB_DONALDSON> Ugh. No, not The Queen. Railgun. And her friends from Judgment branch 177. How do you know about them?
WASHUU_HAKUBI> Skuld suggested I read the novels.
ROB_DONALDSON> Skuld? *The* Skuld?
WASHUU_HAKUBI> Belldandy's sister, yeah.
.
WASHUU_HAKUBI> Hey, are you still there?
ROB_DONALDSON> Is she the sysop here?
WASHUU_HAKUBI> I think so, yeah.
ROB_DONALDSON> I've talked with Skuld-sama...
WASHUU_HAKUBI> "Sama"? Okay, I'm coming over in five minutes. You need to talk to somebody face-to-face before you get lost in that sensawunder you're feeling.




Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
October 11, 2016
8:44am

"This is decent tea."

Rob smiled. "Thanks. I expect it isn't as good as what Sasami-chan makes, but I do have a good source of supply."

"You're right on both counts," Washuu replied. "Nice place you've got here. Cozy."

"'Cosy' is right. We could use... no. I'm not going to ask you for things."

"Okay, what were you thinking of?"

"Well... Two things: A bath large enough for everybody to soak in, and some place where Mikoto and Makoto can spar. But we don't have room for either of those."

"Not even in a pocket dimension?"

Rob chuckled. "We'd need one of those for them, yes. But I'm not going to ask you for things."

"No, you'll just be apologetically passive-aggressive about mentioning them."

"Which is why I didn't want to say anything. But I mentioned Mikoto and Makoto. They want to match their abilities against each other, and I'm afraid that one or both of them'll get hurt, and the doctors here won't know how to heal them."

"I don't mind being your on-call doctor until Ami graduates. How long will that take?"

Rob thought for a moment. "Pre-med, then medical school, then residency, then certification - a normal student would take seven years, maybe six. Ami-chan ... maybe five-and-a-half."

"She'll take at least six, if she knows what's good for her. It would be bad if she was to burn out before she started her practice."

"That it would - but she's insecure enough to push herself too hard to succeed."

Washuu nodded once. "The anime portrayal was that accurate, was it?"

"I'm afraid so. Do you have any ideas on how to get her to slow down?"

"I can give you a book full of them." She moved her hands into a typing position, typed on the virtual keyboard that appeared in front of her, and held up one hand to take the book out of the dimensional portal that opened behind her shoulder. "Here it is."

Rob grinned. "Okay, that kind of help I have no problem asking for. You mentioned that you've read the books that my other tenants came from. Do you have anything that Saten Ruiko could study to strengthen her esper ability to the point where she can actually use it?"

"I'll need to scan her first to be sure, but I think this would do the trick." Washuu tapped one key, then grabbed the two books that came out of the portal. "If you didn't ask, I would have offered it anyway. The other book is for Uriharu Kazari." She put both books on the table. "But should we give it to her?"

"why not? The worst that can happen is that she won't read it."

"No, the worst that can happen is that she reads it cover-to-cover, carries out all the exercises regularly, becomes what she calls a Level 5, and decides to take over the universe."

Rob's eyebrows headed for his hairline. "She's that powerful? Potentially?"

"Right now, she has partial control over thermodynamics. But, just like Mikoto started as just an electrokinetic and gained control over all aspects of electromagnetism, controlling thermodynamics is the first step toward controlling entropy altogether. And let's be honest - there's a reason why Mikoto is called 'the only sane Level 5'."

"I see your point. More tea?"

"Please."

After a moment, Washuu sighed with contentment. "Sasami-chan has let me know just what a good cup of tea does for a person, and a decent cup of tea has the same effect."

"Should I be flattered?"

"No, anyone can make a decent cup of tea from good-quality leaves."

"Gee, thanks."

"You're welcome. Now, I want to make sure my sensors are calibrated properly. Sit down and get ready for your physical. Doctor's orders."



9:31am

Washuu tapped a few keys on her terminal, took the face-shaped probe off of Rob's head, and carefully put the probe back in its dimensional pocket. Then she turned her attention to the terminal's display. "Oh. I think you'd better see this."

Rob walked over to behind Washuu. "I suspect I know what you're worried about, Washuu-chan ..." He looked at what she was pointing out on the screen, and sighed. "...Yeah, I expected as much."

"Someone else in your family has it?"

"Someone else in my immediate family had it."

"Oh. I'm sorry." After a moment, Washuu continued, "Would you like a treatment?"

"GOD, yes!"

"I can't cure it, but I can mitigate it by rebuilding your nervous system. We may as well fix those two imperfectly-healed joints while we're at it. Then there's your weight, your vision -"

"I've had poor vision almost all my life. I wouldn't know what to do without my glasses."

"Okay, we'll leave your vision alone. Want any powers while we're at it?"

"No. If you can't help Rui-chan, I'm not going to leave her as the only unpowered person living in the building. And before you ask, as tempting as it might be to be closer to the girls' apparent age, I don't want to look any younger, either."

"What about an overall boost to your stamina, resiliency, and rate of healing?"

Rob smiled. "Did your landlord tell you about a fictional character named 'Garrick Grimm'?"

"That's exactly the package that I'm offering you here. And it was his idea - but you're going to be my guinea pig for the treatment."

"All right. How long will it take?"

"For my computers to program the nanobots? About as long as it'll take me to make a pocket dimension with an extra-large furo in it."

"I said I didn't want -"

"You'll need it, to soak in while the nanotech does its work. Listen to your doctor."



3:22pm

"And that's the last of the injections."

Rob smiled thinly. "Oh, good. I'm glad there's a stamina boost in there - I'm exhausted."

"It'll get worse before it gets better. You said something about not wanting to look younger, even before I had a chance to ask."

"Yeah." Rob sighed. "Doctor-patient confidentiality?"

"If it doesn't hurt anyone else."

"That's fair. In this universe, the Sailor Moon anime came out nearly a quarter-century ago. I was a little over half my current age back then."

"Which one did you have a crush on?"

"Two, actually. Back then, I thought 'if only they were a decade older, and interested in somebody like me, and spoke English, and most importantly weren't fictional'... and now here they are, speaking English and not fictional and at least polite toward me. It wouldn't be fair to them or the others for me to try to make a youthful fantasy a reality."

"Skuld says we're not staying here forever."

"But now that you're here, you can make permanent pathways between our various worlds when it's time for you to leave, right?"

"Of course I can, buster!" Washuu thought for a quick moment. "And that's why you're not making that fantasy a reality."

"Yeah. They have lives of their own back in their own reality."

"That they do. And you still haven't told me which two you have a crush on."

"Yes, I have. You're smarter than the rest of us put together; I'm sure you've already figured it out."

Washuu glanced at the book still sitting on the table, and the "sparring room" plans sitting beside the book. "Getting you to say it out loud would be nice, but now I understand why you're willing to ask for favours for them." Then she smiled. "If you were a Juraian noble, you could marry both of them and a couple more, too."

"I'm not a Juraian noble, and even if I was, it's up to them who they marry." Rob yawned.

"And I've distracted you long enough from the changes starting in your body for you to not freak out over them starting, and learned more about you than you might have wanted to share. I am such a genius!"

"You and Wile E. Coyote, when you say it that way."

"Who?"

Rob shook his head. "You're going to have to research that one yourself."

"Coward."

"Yep."



5:05pm

The girls, less Mii and Ami, were all watching the fun instead of doing their homework. (Rob was taking a nice, long soak in the new bath.)

"This has to be the stupidest medical exam I've ever had!"

"Now, now, Shirai-san - don't annoy the only person on this planet who's competent enough to be your doctor." Washuu grinned evilly. "Unless you don't want a doctor."

Kuroko paled at that thought. "No, of course not. Please continue."

Meanwhile, Ruiko, Usagi, and Minako were trying their best to keep straight faces - and failing miserably - while Washuu's probe made the same faces that Kuroko did. Washuu looked over at them and pointed at Usagi. "You're next."


- Bob Schroeck - 05-09-2017

...why do I get the feeling that learning of Wile E. Coyote will jinx Washuu, as well as entertain her?
Nah, probably not.  But the thought is... appealing in a disturbing way.

Nice start, Rob.
-- Bob
---------
Then the horns kicked in...
...and my shoes began to squeak.


- robkelk - 05-09-2017

[ooc] I was thinking of leaving it there, but I do also have more that I can add. And it does need something more than just talking-heads...
--
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012



- Black Aeronaut - 05-09-2017

OOC:

The Goddesses and Demons would only let Washu get away with hacking their systems because she's revealing the vulnerabilities in their system. She probably understands this as well, and keeps it harmless. Bets that Peorth and Washu are actually enjoying their little tête-à-têtes online? Wink

Rob, thanks for keeping this thing alive. Every time I think I'm about to get back into this, I get nailed with something else...


- robkelk - 05-10-2017

OOC: Note that I didn't say Washuu hacked the system - I said she hacked IC-my account, after establishing said account was on a separate PC... but, yeah - six of one, half-a-dozen of the other.
--
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012



[ic] - robkelk - 05-17-2017

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
October 11, 2016
5:57pm

"Aren't you done yet? It's almost time for dinner!"

"Stop thinking with your stomach, Usagi-chan," replied Washuu distractedly. "I need some more readings."

"I need dinner! I'm a growing girl."

"If you really understood what you just said, I'd be happy. Most girls your age are obsessed with a 'perfect' body weight that isn't at all perfect for them. But I think you just want to stuff your mouth."

"And what's so bad about that?" demanded Usagi.

The sound of a polite cough came from the room's doorway. "This is what's wrong with that," answered Rob while gesturing at his own waistline. "Learn from your elders and practice moderation."

"What he said," Washuu added. "Moderation in all things - including in moderation."

"Huh?"

"I think she means that it's okay to let yourself go once in a while. But only once in a while. Right?"

Washuu nodded. "Your landlord's got it right, Usagi-chan. Now go help him get to the dinner table before he falls over."

"Oh!" Usagi rushed to help Rob to the dining room.



6:02pm

"What's this called?"

"Supper."

Washuu gave Ruiko a sideways glance with pursed lips, then saw the girl's smile. "Ha, ha. Very funny."

Minako swallowed the bite she had in her mouth and turned to Washuu. "It's called 'bangers and mash'. Pork sausage, mashed potatoes, onions, and gravy. It's English cooking."

"Not just English," Rob added. "It's a simple meal that you could get in any British pub."

"It's a heavy meal. I hope you don't eat this kind of food every day."

"No, of course not," said Mikoto. "This is something that Rob-san likes, so we thought we'd make it for him."

"It's also a relatively easy English meal to make, if you buy the sausages already made," added Makoto.

"Which I did yesterday," Rob finished. "There's a butcher in town that sells pork sausages and pork chops in bulk, but you need a car to get there."

Ruiko giggled. "Ten girls in the house, and the only man buys the groceries."

"Well," Washuu grinned, "at least he knows how to choose a decent piece of pork."

Rob grinned back. "Tell me about it. There are far too many stores around here that are happy to sell people heavily-processed, chemical-laden things that they claim are meats. I prefer real food."

"Don't knock technology. That processing and those chemicals extend the shelf life of those foods."

"If I was still living alone, that would make a difference. We go through enough food in a day that the shelf life of food here is measured in hours, not weeks."

"All right, that's reasonable." Washuu took another forkful of mashed potato. "This stuff is just starch, though."

Rob sighed. "I know - I couldn't find any decent potatoes yesterday. Sorry about that."

"I'm home!" came a cry from the hallway.

"Ami-chan!" Usagi jumped to her feet. "Come eat! You're in time for dinner!"

"We have company!" Rob added.

"Oh! Hello." Ami smiled from the common room's doorway. "I'm Ami Mizuno."

"I'm Washuu Hakubi."

"I'm pleased to meet you, Hakubi-san."

Everyone else in the room, in unison, said "'Washuu-chan'!" Washuu looked around, then continued, "If you don't mind."

"What brings you here, Ha-- Washuu-chan?"

"Rob asked me to come run a few medical tests on everyone. I'll be your household's doctor until you graduate."

"That's kind of you, Washuu-sen-- Washuu-chan." Ami glanced at the table. "Western cooking? I thought there was going to be a Japanese meal tonight."

"Rob-san needs some comfort food today," explained Makoto.



6:44pm

Ami looked at the platters and bowls in the middle of the table. "We have sausages and potatoes left over."

"Save some for Mii-san, and fry up the rest for breakfast tomorrow," suggested Rob.

"Mii-sempai told me that she's having supper on campus today," Kazari replied.

"And potatoes and sausage don't go well with fish and rice," added Ruiko.

Usagi frowned. "What's wrong with a western breakfast sometimes? Ow! Hey!"

"Dinner's over - back to the scans!" Washuu continued tugging Usagi's hair.

"All right, I'm coming! Ow!"



7:46pm

"Finished!"

"Finally! Nobody else's exam took that long!"

Washuu, completely serious, looked at Usagi. "Nobody else has these readings."

"What readings? Is there something wrong with me?"

"No. There's something different about you, but it isn't something wrong."

Rob looked up from the couch. "I suspect I know where this is going."

"You think so, do you?" Washuu typed a few commands, and a virtual screen and keyboard appeared in front of Rob. "Go ahead and type in what you think I'm going to say."

He did so, at length.

Washuu followed they text on her own screen for a few minutes, then said, "Huh. Yeah, you're pretty close."

"I have the advantage of having seen her anime, and having read some of the supplementary materials."

Usagi pouted. "And we don't know anything about you. It's not fair!"

"I know. I'm sorry. You are allowed to ask me almost anything, you know. But we were talking about you, not me. Your mother - not Tsukino-san, but Queen Serenity - was, if the supplementary material is correct, essentially a goddess."

Usagi nodded slowly. "That sounds ... right."

"And how many times have you done something that other people thought was a bad idea and made it work anyway? You were right about how to react when Tomoe-san became Mistress Nine, to give one example."

"Anybody would have done what I did."

Rob looked Usagi straight in the eye. "You know that Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune would not have done what you did."

After a moment, she replied, "Yes."

"You know the right way to react and the right thing to do. You are not a god, but you know the divine will."

At that, there was a thump on the closed door.

Rob and Washuu exchanged a quick look. "Of course they're listening in. They're her friends."

"Do you want them to come in?"

Usagi nodded, and Washuu opened the door to reveal ... Mikoto, of all people. "Are you sure?" she whispered.

Rob shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe. Mikoto-san, Usagi-san might just be the Level 6 that Academy City was founded to create."

Mikoto sat down, with no expression on her face.

Usagi looked at everyone else. "What's a Level 6?"
--
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012



- Norgarth - 05-17-2017

"Do you want _then_ to come in?"
typo
___________________________
"I've always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific." - George Carlin


- Black Aeronaut - 05-17-2017

OOC:

Ben: "... Now, I honestly don't know much about the source material, but I'm getting a vibe along the lines of, 'Level 6 is the Kwisatz Haderach - THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW WORLD! .....or the end, depending on how you feel about it.' How far off am I?" Wink


- robkelk - 05-17-2017

ooc:

Typo fixed.

Level 6 (or SYSTEM) is believed to be the point where even God cannot influence your actions any more. Wikipedia tells me that this belief is incorrect - in a later novel that I haven't read, Mikoto reaches Level 6, and it's shown to be both completely different from what everyone thought it would be, and dangerous to Mikoto's life and sanity.

(The Certain Magical Index / Certain Scientific Railgun franchise is unusual in that all stories are part of the same universe. Events that were created as anime "filler" are referenced by later novels as having taken place.)

Usagi, however, is as much the Kwisatz Haderach as Naoko Takeuchi wrote her to be.
--
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012



IC (and wrapping up the story) - robkelk - 06-04-2017

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
October 11, 2016
8:53pm

"That's ... horrifying."

After hearing Washuu summarize the events of the "Certain Magical Index" novels, Rob had to agree with Usagi. He felt sick - and not because of the nanomachines working through his body.

Mikoto wasn't handling the information nearly as well. "Is that all I am to the city - to this Aleister person?"

"Pretty much, yeah, if the books are anything to go by."

Usagi continued as if the others hadn't spoken. "What they did to draw out your powers ... how are you still sane?"

"Everybody in Academy City went through that kind of training."

Rob shook his head. "Not everybody, just the students who were seen by the city leaders as being worth the expense to turn into soldiers." Usagi whimpered. Rob went on. "Ask Saten-san some time whether she was ever given drug-assisted training."

Mikoto shook her head sadly. "I think I know what her answer would be just from you calling her by her family name. And now I feel even worse about telling people they could increase their level by hard work. They can't, can they?"

"They probably can," answered Washuu, "but only with training that matches their personalities and abilities. You were one of the lucky ones. Your friend Uiharu-san wasn't, so she's stuck at Level 1 if she follows the Academy City training course."

Usagi couldn't stay silent any more. "Why are you all talking as if this is something people should want?"

Rob put his hand on Usagi's shoulder. "I don't think it's something people should want, Usagi-san, but what I think doesn't matter as much as what all of you think. And what Mikoto-san and Kuroko-san and Mii-san and Kazari-san and especially Rui-chan want is to have powers that are all their own."

"But being empowered and then trained to fight ... That happened to me, and it only brought pain to me and my friends."

"Technically, nobody trained y-" Washuu stopped when Rob glared at her.

Rob waited a brief moment, then sighed deeply. "Turning pre-teens into soldiers is wrong, for so many reasons - but it's happened. And now I think I know what I'm supposed to do with all my free time here. You girls need to relax and learn how to live without the threat of combat hanging over your heads all the time. I need to ... well, I think I need to make sure you learn how to do that."

"But I like using my Skill."

Rob nodded. "I'm not going to ask Washuu-chan to take your abilities away, Mikoto-san."

"And I wouldn't even if he did ask."

"I'm just asking you to learn how to live a normal life - the kind of life people outside Academy City live."

"The ones who aren't magicians, you mean. And that explains so much about Kamijo-san."

Rob shook his head. "No, he's no more a mage than he is an esper. He's ... well, I think even he doesn't realize it, despite it being his name."

"His name?" Mikoto thought for a moment. "Have I ever seen his name written down?"

Rob sighed again. "We've said too much. Usagi-san, everything you've heard this evening - Aleister, the 'Radio Noise' project, the World War III of Mikoto's homeworld, what happens when somebody reaches Level 6, even the Imaginary Number District - please keep it to yourself. Don't tell anyone else."

"I don't like keeping secrets."

"They aren't your secrets to tell. Let Mikoto-san decide when to tell them, if ever."

Usagi thought for a moment. "All right. But you'd better give me something that I can tell people, so I can say something if anyone asks."

Everybody thought for a moment.

"Ah!" Rob raised one finger. "Remember that I showed everybody one episode of the anime that was made about you, and everyone complained about the voices being a little bit wrong?"

"You said it was because we weren't in this universe, so they had to use voice actors instead."

"Right. And the same applies to the anime they made about Mikoto-san."

"So?"

"The voice actor they got to play Makoto-san is the same voice actor they got to play Mikoto-san's mother."

Mikoto and Usagi both looked at Rob for a moment, then laughed.

Washuu walked over to where Rob was sitting, and whispered, "That's one way to break the mood, I guess."

Rob just nodded, then turned his attention back to the girls. "It's a little late to be asking now, but is your homework done?"

"Noooo! I've been in here all night!" Usagi started to panic.

"I'll help you," Mikoto offered, calming Usagi as quickly as she had become frantic.

"And I'll be back tomorrow," Washuu said as a portal opened behind her. "Let Konori-san, Mizuno-san, and Hino-san know they aren't getting away without a checkup."



Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
October 12, 2016
6:20am

Rob awoke, and wondered what was wrong.

Then he realized that, for the first time in over a decade, he had no aches or pains.

He was tempted to go back to sleep, but he had to start making breakfast. Time to shower and dress.



6:40am

Rob made his way to the apartment that they had turned into their common room - only to hear chopping sounds coming from the kitchen. "Good morning! I thought it was my turn to make - Oh! Welcome back, Washuu-chan!"

Washuu tipped the cutting board she was using so that the green onion went into the soup pot, then turned and smiled. "Good morning, Rob-san! I hope you like Japanese breakfasts."

"It's food in the morning. What's not to like?"

Washuu pointedly looked at Rob's waistline. "I think you like food a bit too much."

"Those nanomachines you injected into me need the calories, right?"

"What was your excuse before yesterday?"

"You've got me there, Washuu-chan." They both laughed.

"How are you feeling?"

"Better than I've felt in years, sensei. I assume you want to make sure the nano is working the way you designed it?"

"Breakfast first, medical scan later." Washuu gestured toward a package sitting on the kitchen table. "I needed to revise the books we were talking about giving to Saten-san and Uiharu-san; those are the updated versions."

There was a polite knock at the doorway. "Good morning, Rob-san. Do we have anything I can take with me for breakfast?"

They turned, and Rob smiled. "Good morning, Ami-chan. There's a bag waiting for you in the fridge. One sandwich and a box of orange juice."

"Thank you, Rob-san," she said as she opened the fridge door. "You're always very kind to me."

"Have a good day at university!"

"'Bye!"

Washuu waited until Ami was gone. "You made breakfast for her before you went to bed last night."

"I do the same for Mii-san when she has early-morning classes."

"Do you smile at Konori-san when you see her first thing in the morning?"

"Of course I do!"

Washuu looked at Rob for a moment. "Okay. I'm just remembering what you told me under doctor-patient confidentiality yesterday."

"What did he tell you yesterday?" asked Ruiko from the doorway. "'Morning!"

"Good morning, and none of your business," answered Washuu.

"'Morning, Rui-chan. And it really isn't something you should be spreading around on the gossip circuit, so I'm going to save you the anguish of having to decide whether to keep my private life private, by not telling you about it."

"Would I gossip?"

"In a heartbeat. It was your listening to gossip and wild stories that lead you to the Level Upper, remember?"

"Mou." Ruiko pouted, and not in a cute way.
--
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012