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twisted_albel in somni_astrum

At the Cafe

Who? Albel and Rinoa
When? Presumably November 20th.
What? Albel and Rinoa meet up for coffee, but things don't go as Albel planned...
Warnings An argument, but that's it.

This was the scheduled time, wasn't it? He hoped that he wasn't "stood up" or anything like that. Not that this was anything other than a simple meeting. He couldn't spend his entire time sneaking around like a theme just around the corner from Rinoa. He might as well try and "befriend" her for the purposes of his mission. He was already at the cafe, waiting for her at a table. Hopefully she would get there soon. He was beginning to grow weary of waiting.

She wasn't particular interested in punctuality, but she didn't really want to make him wait, even if he deserved it. Honestly, she didn't like him anymore than she had the first time they'd crossed paths. Clutching a book to her chest, as her the norm, she wandered into the cafe, looked around until she recognized him and then left it at that. Approaching his table, she put a hand down to catch his attention and grinned, "Hi. Sorry I'm late. I was getting some stuff for later today." And by that, she indicated her book. Obviously she had plans of studying after their little meeting.

"So that was what's taking you so long," he said. He got up, pushing his braid back behind him. Today, he would just have to tone down the agitation just a bit. As far as he knew, she was only being civil for the sake of being polite. Having a order of restraint filed against him would not be good no matter what the situation. "You seem to be very busy with that art major of yours. Hope you're having fun."

He had it pretty much right. She was only being civil just to be civil. She didn't have to be, of course, but the last thing she needed was for the faculty to contact her father, say she was acting out of line, and then having to sit through one of the long lectures he was going to give. She'd gone to school at SFAI to stay away from him, not to garner more of his attention. She had other things to do.

She arched an eyebrow at him, "Huh. Well. It's okay. Not really what I'd call fun, but acceptable." She pulled out a chair and seated herself before leaning into the table and cradling her chin in the palm of her hand.


"What's the point in doing something unless you're having fun?" Albel sat back in his chair. "Acceptable? Well, that's fine, I suppose. But with that kind of reaction, I wouldn't call that really enjoying your work." Albel could relate though. Most things in life for him were simple tasks that needed to be done. Nothing more. Nothing less. There were few things that he would actually say that he really "enjoyed".

"I already told you, I'm in school on a paid tuition. As long as I do my work, that's good enough for me. It's not all peaches and cream," she admitted.

Her head tipped to the side as she looked over him and she gave a sigh, "Don't make it seem like I'm that ecstatic about school. I'm doing what I need to do, and some of the things that I want to do."


"Art to help others," he said, recalling what she said the last time they met. "There are worse reasons to be here," he shrugged. At least she had some purpose rather than those fools who go to school simply to waste time. He had to respect the fact that she wasn't like everyone else.

"I'm not at all upset to be here," Rinoa explained. She sat back in her chair, crossed one leg over the other and gave a sigh. "I'd rather be here than other places. Schooling is not a bad thing. I like it here, anyway." It wasn't nearhim. She was fine anywhere where he wasn't.

"Oddly enough, this place is starting to grow on me too," he said. Although he considered moving to the Bay area and huge inconvenience, he admitted that he needed to get away from that military base. . Always having the shadow of his father over him wasn't good for Albel's sanity. In fact, being reminded of his father just made him more agitated which he was just starting to feel right then. "Where were you originally from?"

Really? He was starting to like it in the city? Maybe he'd gotten to finally beat someone up. He did that, right? Beating people up? It sounded like something he would do. She expected him to do ridiculous things like that. "Where am I from?" She blinked. It was the first time in a while someone had asked her that. "Uh. I was born in Korea, but I'm totally a citizen of this country. I've been here too long not to be. What about you?"

If only. Albel liked to fight, but preferably those that he saw fit as a challenge. So far, nothing but weaklings have been found in this city. He wasn't about to step on worms. "Born in Japan. German father and Japanese mother. Spent most of my childhood here though," he shrugged. His own asian features were subtle, but upon closer inspection, it was there, mostly around his eyes. He looked very much like his father though for the most part.

"Oh, I see," she commented. How comfortable was she talking about her past? Not very much. Talking about her mother and the man she hated referring to as her father... It wasn't the easiest thing for her. "You like it here more than Japan?"

"Some things I miss. Like the food. The tech. But the Japanese people can be *so* weak-willed sometimes," he growled. Albel's arrogance and lack of respect didn't quite go over so well on mainland Japan. He always thought that they were too afraid to do anything out of fear of not pleasing anyone. That was no way to live life. Albel wouldn't bow his head to anyone as long as he could help it. "It's not that much better over here either. But better nevertheless."

Weak-willed. That was a really horrible thing for anyone to say about someone else and Rinoa didn't even bother to hide the disgust in her expression. Instead, she forced her gaze off of his and to the side instead. "I see." She did, sort of, but she still didn't really approve of anything he had to say or do. He was just... He was as obnoxious as ever, she noted.

Albel grimmaced. He honestly didn't think that she saw him eye to eye. "I can't respect anyone who won't speak up for themselves. Who just shuffles along while everyone else takes advantage of his passivity. What is there to like about those sorts of people?"

"You can't get respect unless you give it. You think like that, like everyone else is beneath you and you'll never get anywhere. I can guarantee you're not nearly as great as you claim to be or pretend to be. Just listening to you makes me lose respect for you. You don't have any consideration for anyone other than you. You're just like him." Yeah. He was a lot like Caraway, and that was a sore thing to think about. It was more unfortunate than anything else.

"You forget, dear fool, that I am in the military," he hissed. "I have no qualms *giving* respect. There are plenty of people who have earned my respect because they deserved it. I value "effort" more than anything else which I find disturbingly lacking nowadays." He closed his eyes, straightening a bit as he crossed his arms, backing off from this confrontation. "Tch. Are you really going to listen? You've already compared me to someone you know. You've already closed your mind off already."


"People aren't going to put effort into anything if they have someone disrespecting them." Rinoa planted her hands upon the table and pushed herself up to her feet. "I thought I'd give you a chance to not come off as an egotistical jerk, but it looks like you can't stop that. It's not hard to compare you to a fellow military man. It's like everyone in the military thinks they're superior. I don't see any reason why I should be open-minded with someone who refers to everyone around him as a "fool." If that's not an idiot who suffers a superiority complex, I don't know what is."

She reached for her book and shook her head, "I do know that I'd rather be studying for a class that bores me than sitting with a guy who lacks the ability to compromise."


Oh, this was irritating, but not at all unexpected. "A compromise?" Albel said, beginning to laugh. "I don't think you realize what all of this is about. I actually did hold some respect for you. I gave you a benefit of a doubt. If you may recall, I haven't called you *anything* until you started attacking me. In fact, I have been treating you fairly nicely up until this poitn. I was actually *trying* to be nice this time. Then you decided to blow up and nit pick over one detail after I tried to tell you why I preferred America over Japan." He sighed out of frustration.

"It isn't just one thing. You can read it however you'd like, but the only thing you're going to see is how you want to see things. It's not my responsibility to hold the hands of other people," Rinoa explained. "Doing one good thing isn't enough to redeem you for doing a world of bad things. As far as what I've personally seen? You deserve the anger you get in return. If you're portraying yourself incorrectly, that's your fault, not the fault of the perceiver."

"Well, you're doing an excellent job at allowing someone a chance to redeem himself, fool" he spat sarcastically. "Thank you for throwing everything back at me while I take a shot at being 'friendly'. Now I'm even more inclined to stay the way I am." Albel stood up. "As much as it pains me to say it, yes I'm flawed. I'm weak. And I hate my weaknesses. The inability to trust and respect others? Yeah, that's one of them. But as long as *this* keeps on happening, I don't see any reason to change."

"If you can admit all of it, then why are you always waiting for everyone else to take the first step?" She shook her head at him, "I had to hold my tongue before, otherwise I start sounding like your mother and it's not possible to talk to you like that. Well, not in a way that doesn't get you overreacting." She hung back, glanced around briefly, attempted to avoid the prying eyes and reached for her book, "People can talk a lot, though. It takes true strength and power to make things happen, whether it's for other people or for yourself. I don't think you're a bad person. I just don't think you're easy to like."

"You're right. I'm not. I already know that. But I'm trying, aren't I?" he scoffed. He seemed extremely put out, quieted by their exchange, perhaps even hurt. Of course, he made sure that this wasn't obvious except to the most astute observer. His name was called by the cafe tender. "One moment," he responded and left briefly to return back to Rinoa with his coffee along with a bag of cookies. "I think I wasted enough of your time over this lost cause. Go study for your boring class. It's about time that I left for the library anyway."

Was he actually trying? She couldn't tell. She'd already ripped him a new one, though, so there was no need to continue along those lines. She resisted and instead, watched him separate from her before returning. "Studying. It's what a student does best, because it's all we can do." She smiled a little, "Some of us aren't cut out for the military, but instead are only controlled by it for the remainder of our lives."

Then she nodded once to him, "I'll see you in the library later. I have another paper to write, and I'm sure you know your way around enough to help me with the resources."


Was she really going to consult him for books even after all that she said? Albel didn't understand it at all. But the original purpose of this whole affair was to have Rinoa more inclined to come to him rather than the other way around. In this respect, this was somewhat of a success. However, her words picked at old wounds and he couldn't help but feel like he would have to befriend Rinoa for his own sake as well.. He set the bag of cookies down on the table. "Take it. I'll be seeing you soon then." Rinoa wouldn't get a chance to object to his gift as he was already walking out the door and out of sight.

Cookies. He'd gotten her cookies. Thinking he could reach her with food was foolish, but as she watched him leave, she couldn't deny that she wanted to smile. She didn't like him at all, but she could tolerate him. At least for as long as she needed to.

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December 2009

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