2018-01-28 - Dark Burgers, Dark Days - Night and Fury Carve Out A Path

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: Dark Burgers, Dark Days - Night and Fury Carve Out A Path

In which Kyouko Sakura and Homura Akemi discuss weighty matters, including but not limited to the respect due hamburgers


Kyouko Sakura, Homura Akemi


Dark Burger

OOC - IC Date:

Mon Jan 15, 2018 / Mon Mar 20, 2015

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

A sea of youthful humanity blurs past Homura Akemi in the dark-and-cream of Ohtori uniforms. Her matching uniform suggests similarity, but only of the most superficial sort. While the student body audibly buzzes with its test anxiety in passing, the pale girl with the long, dark hair leans against the wall with no evident concern.

Her own tests are indeed of no worry to her, and have not been for a great many iterations of Spring in Tokyo 2015, now. Someone else's do factor into things, however, and in the way of dominoes toppling one by one, Homura now finds herself tapping out a message on a smooth glass screen.

TXT to Kyouko Sakura: Dark Burger has a two for one deal on their doubles for exams week. Will you meet me there tonight? Booth or roof, your choice.

The answer, when it comes, is not unexpected, and she finds it matches her own preferences.


She waits atop the Dark Burger building as the date's perfect edge between light and dark finds its balance in rising evening, still in the Ohtori uniform. Her stockinged legs crest the rooftop's edge she sits on, and Homura has a crinkling Dark Burger to-go bag in her lap and a drink beside her. The wind combs through her hair with mild fingers.

Homura doesn't budge when company arrives, though a tilt of her head serves as a first acknowledgement of presence. When she does speak, it is pitched to carry above the sounds of the city, though barely.

"There is a new puella magi in Tokyo. Kimiko Akane." No 'hello, how are yous' for Homura Akemi; right down to business. "Though she is not the only reason I wanted to speak to you, I wonder if you've heard anything about her, Sakura-san."

She looks around at that last, leveling violet eyes at the other girl.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouko Sakura [None] has posed.

Kyouko Sakura sits sprawled along a corner booth like the resident bookie of a seedy dive, sound faintly audible from whatever her earbuds pipe into her head. She's mid-chew when her phone murmurs for her attention. Wiping grease from her lips before scrubbing her fingers with the same napkin, Kyouko sets a mostly eaten burger back down on the paper that bore it to investigate the ripple in her pocket.

Her eyes flicker from Homura's invitation to the brightly colored signage just a few paces away from her advertising the same promotion. Smirking softly to herself, she taps out "roof" in reply and sends it off with one hand while finishing off her burger with the other.

Time passes as Kyouko waits from a higher rise than the franchise's roof. Noting Homura's attire, Kyouko makes her leap..and as she lands her light flickers and shines so that she too stands in civilian attire, casual and comfortable in denim and a hooded sweatshirt, her hands in her pockets.

She says nothing, but listens, and when purple eyes flash toward her, her own scarlets are ready to meet them.

"Name rings a bell, but not much else. Things have been a little frothy lately, with the war. Not much room for what's sticking to the sides. What's she to you?"

Fishing her hands into her pockets, she saunters over with one foot planted directly in front of the other, like a cat on a narrow beam. "More importantly...where's my burger?" Her hand pulls free, and within it something gleams in the dusk, exposed as her fingers unfurl from her palm. Exact change in yen for her portion, taxes included.

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"She isn't anyone in particular to me," comes the uninflected reply. "There is no such thing as an uninvolved puella magi, when it comes to this war." Homura leaves it at that.

There's more pressing business to attend to. She uncrinkles the top of the bag and produces a silver-wrapped doublestack, then sets the bag aside and gathers herself and rises to meet Kyouko's approach. Homura offers the gleaming treasure -- still quite warm thanks to dutiful bagtending -- in exchange for half a burger's worth of yen.

The coins get plucked up and plunked into a coin purse that disappears into Homura's pocket nearly as quickly as it appeared. Another burger waits for her, but she leaves it in the bag for now. "You're right, though. She's not an immediate concern. Your busy kohai, on the other hand..."

On one heel she rotates to face out over the gap between buildings, a smooth efficient movement that her long hair catches up to in its languid way. Kyouko is given her profile. "You have made a real difference with her. She could use some more of that, right now." They're words that could be warm, but Homura still speaks with a quiet flatness of tone.

"You should ask her about her patrols," she adds after a moment.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouko Sakura [None] has posed.

Kyouko scratches her shoulder, a slight grin on her face and a slighter quirk to her brow. "No such thing, eh..you're an odd messenger. Not that I'm not grateful for the help you've given the Shepherds, but I figured you wanted to keep it unofficial for a reason..ah! Fresh..thanks."

Taking the burger in both hands, she shears a big ol' bite right from the middle. She doesn't chew noisily so much as she makes no effort to chew quietly, though the city's sounds drown out most of her foley work. All the same, her eyes gleam with a flatness of their own, polished to a shine but as hard as granite all the same as she listens.

"Mmph...m'I'll do thaht..buh...sheeing ash ah've...got oo ere..."

Holding up a finger, she chews diligently, dutifully, but does not disrespect the sacrament by rushing her meal. Swallowing at last, wiping her mouth with the back of her "wait, wait" hand, she steers her level gaze back to her still-surfaced companion.

"Why don't you tell me about Eri-chan's patrols that she's so immediately concerningly busy with."

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Unofficial is how I prefer it. I'm not doing your recruitment for you." Much like the earlier words lacked an underlying warmth, these hold no particular bite; Homura states these things with the calm of a dictionary recital. "If she ends up with them, it will just be more trouble for you." Her ensuing long blink is a bit like a shrug, for Homura.

She waits for Kyouko to finish her mouthful of burger with all apparent patience. Her own meal loses heat through thin paper to the cold rooftop by her feet as their conversation continues.

The question boomerangs back to her, after, and Homura doesn't move save for her eyes, which slide Kyouko's way. "Very well.

"Eri-san hunts all the time, at the cost of her grades and her welfare. She'll get through her exams, but it's not sustainable." Homura makes no mention of her intervention there. Instead, she tilts her head and considers Kyouko more directly -- it is a frank, appraising look.

Then: "Something bigger than the war is coming, and that /is/ my concern." That emphasis is as mild as the spring breeze. "To the extent that I am involved with your conflict, I have an investment in making sure that those who survive to face Walpurgisnacht are not fools."

It's indirect and wrapped in dire imprecations, but from Homura Akemi that may actually count as a compliment.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouko Sakura [None] has posed.

Kyouko barks out a laugh, ground beef clinging between her glowing white teeth. "Now that would be a sight, Homura Akemi handing out flyers on a corner to win a few sheep over to her flock. I'd say when Hell freezes over but you might just be a cool enough customer to change the temperature."

As the moment bleeds off, she shrugs. "Everything's more trouble for me. Biggest city in the world an' it's still too small fer all the shit I gotta deal with. You're right, though. Best give the new kid on the block a poke an' see how much give she's got. If she's worth being a good friend to dear Mami-chan an' taking on the headache of a fledgling myself, so that she doesn't gotta."

She's more serious as talk drifts to her actual protege. Shaking her head slightly, a rueful look comes into her eyes. "She doesn't think there's any sustaining to it. That she's doomed. She's probably not wrong but she's going about it the wrong way. Still taking it personally. Bitter, down on herself. I don't know if she'll calm down before the war ends, but I'll try to snap some sense into her."

She responds to the look first of all. Homura is a simple note. Elegant, clean, dignified and graceful. But simple. Like water, even a minute change in her composition or composure is loudly telegraphed. As she looks at Kyouko with even more intensity and purpose than her typical way, the spearfighter gathers her druthers in kind, tightening her nerves and stilling her expressiveness.

Her first reaction beyond that preparedness is one of quizzical confusion. "Walpurgisnacht? What do you mean, "face it?" It's a hurricane. You don't "face" a hurricane, you get the hell out. Even if you could face it, what would be the point? Unless it gets us out of...this...then it just seems foolhardy, and you're anything but. It'd be noble, to save all those people. But you don't seem that sort either. This city's crammed with magical talent, I'm sure if all the girls in Tokyo got together they'd manage to take care of things on their own like they do every month. And I'm not even gonna bother saying that Walpurgisnacht moves without rhyme or reason because I know you know that, but I'd love to hear why you're so sure any of us are gonna be facing it at all, unless you're talkin' about going to it. An' even then my question's the same."


<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Far beneath the masking porcelain of unmoving features, Homura experiences a ghost's whisper of pride at Kyouko's assessment of her character. It's the sort of thing that only someone who was once upon a time the very definition of wincing awkwardness, someone who practiced tirelessly at perfecting their own facade of coolness, could feel.

Outwardly, her chin tilts down for a fractional nod. When Kyouko replies about Eri, the other girl turns to her own food. With a smooth stoop and a rustle she retrieves the other burger. It takes that intense violet gaze away for a bit. She takes a small bite and chews in silence, eyes on her meal.

There's an innate mannerliness to how neat she is with the folded-back foil of the wrapper. Like Kyouko she finishes her bite before speaking, but it stems from the same, not any devotion to the act itself. "I do think she takes it personally." No denials there regarding any coming doom. "She should know better. I know that you do, Sakura-san. You've survived this long not just because of your spears, but because you understand how this world works."

That is the first and last bite Homura takes of her burger. The decision to embark upon what she thinks of internally as The Walpurgisnacht Conversation crowds out her appetite. As Kyouko begins her line of questioning, Homura folders foil back over the cold food until it is neat once more, then packs it away in the Dark Burger bag.

The whole time she is listening closely, though her eyes are on her task. The Walpurgisnacht Conversation has not happened every time loop; when it has, it has gone a few different ways, and Homura embarked upon it this time with a certain... uncertainty as to its outcome. The ruthless competence of this Kyouko Sakura helped decide her; that, and the mistress that Homura always finds herself bowing to: necessity.

With her food a tidy white bundle at her feet again, Homura straightens to face Kyouko. There's a short gap between them between which the same breeze drifts, skipping across rooftops and swirling down between the buildings. Stories below, stray papers twirl on the pavement. The deadly crimson mage before her doesn't trust easily, questions things, and these are qualities that Homura appreciates in her. All the same...

"I have my secrets. There are things I will not tell you. But if I thought running from Walpurgisnacht was an option, I would be planning to do exactly that. I'm not interested in saving the people of this city. What I know, and what I will say, is that I cannot take it on by myself."

She tosses her head, transmitting a ripple through the sable swallowtail of her hair. "The other girls aren't capable of handling this. I am only interested in speaking to those who I think are." She's intent on Kyouko.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouko Sakura [None] has posed.

Kyouko watches Homura eat, if that is what it can be called. Eating is an emotional experience, which isn't to say that it is necessarily an enjoyable act. There's a hastiness to the hurried, a trepidation to the anorexic, a distraction to the overwhelmed. Homura shows none of these, nor joy nor relief nor satisfaction or any of a number of other sentiments. She eats like she imagines a robot would go about plugging itself into a power source, with a lack of affect more striking than most emotive displays.

There is distracted, and distant, and detached, but the undistilled form of this feeling seems to Kyouko to be something else entirely, rather than the full manifestation of a particular shade. Kyouko feels that she can recognize it in Homura because of her own experience wandering Tokyo in a dazed stupor after the death of her family. She knows its face, and knows its name.


...but she knows too that it would be a mistake to think she knows anything of this strange girl and her strange ways. Robot indeed. Of all the people she's ever met, Homura Akemi is on the short list to least surprise her if she ever reveals circuitry instead of veins and tissue. But there is an indelible humanity to those who have shed so many human qualities.

"She's still a kid, no matter how much she works that she's not." A quiet, fleeting smile, so rich with emotion that she is quick to dash it, lest an onlooker recognize her depth of feeling.

"Like us."

She shakes her head, shakes it off. "Thanks, but I know why I'm I'm. I know why I've survived and at least half of it's chaos and stupid and nothing at all."

Homura steps, and speaks, and Kyouko's eyes are on the tidy white bundle at her feet for a long moment before they snap up to the killer at her gaze. She nods, quiet shallow shifts, three or four or so. "That's flattering. I like being flattered. Who doesn't? But it's gonna take more than that if you want me to run towards a fire instead of away. I respect your secrets. Your whole thing is a secret. I get it, I'm good with it, and I'm fine with going along with it..up to a point. You wanna convince me about this, and it's the first thing you've mentioned that seems to command your full attention. That means something. But you're gonna have to go further than this before it's done, if you want me to fight a hurricane."

She glances down to Homura's feet, and nods to the tidy white bundle at her feet.

"Don't waste food."

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"None of us are kids. Not any more." Whatever humanity there might be to Homura, she herself no longer recognizes it, at least not as amounting to sufficient for identification as such. That flat affect offers its own evidence for what she's saying. All of this is in keeping with Kyouko's recognition of trauma, even as the window it might present is painted utterly black from the inside.

Her gaze doesn't shift one iota, stays fixed on Kyouko in all its blunt intensity. "There shouldn't be any more illusions there."

With her cold, rather uninspiring pitch made regarding the coming storm (she'd make a terrrrrible sports coach, worst locker room speeches ever), she hears the other magi out. Very little of Homura Akemi moves, though she cannot keep her unbound hair from joining the wind's dance.

Until she follows that glance down to the Dark Burger bag with its rolled top and precious burden, before looking back up to meet red eyes.

"Wanting more is understandable," she concedes easily enough. "Perhaps I can go further, but that will depend on the direction you want me to go in. Before it's done."

Kyouko Sakura /is/ a hurricane, the thought occurs to Homura. "We've dealt well together so far, Sakura-san. You're not one to run towards a fire, as you put it, and I appreciate that about you. Like you, I... pick my battles with care. I will listen to what you want from me, in return, though I won't make promises yet. And I will share what I can."

That last, from Homura, could mean very little at all. She responds to the last with the same gravity she applied to Walpurgisnacht, knowing at least somewhat the importance of food to the girl before her, and knowing it to not be an idle comment. "I'm saving it for later. I might need the energy."

Not unlike the stockpile of Grief Seeds she continues to add to...

<Pose Tracker> Kyouko Sakura [None] has posed.

Kyouko shakes her head, her fiery plume of hair kicking up like dust in her wake. "We are, though. Maybe not like most of the rest that we know, but we're still kids. Tempered, sure. Battle-worn. Damaged. But our cores are still there an' if they weren't then we'd turn into ash with a pinch and a rub. We can't change what we are at the deepest that it gets just because we say so. Just because we've been tortured. Because we've tortured...no offense, but you're the one with illusions clinging to your collar if you think you're some kinda killer robot or somethin', just because you act all goddamn hard all the goddamn time.

Forget the magic crap, there have been plenty of kids that have picked up guns and robbed and raped and survived and thrived when others couldn't or wouldn't or shouldn't. They've become a whole lot of things in a whole little time but they're still kids, and so are me and so are we. Jus' means "kid" means more than most would say. But there's nothin' truer to being a kid than boasting about how grown up you are. I remember every day that I've never met an adult Puella Magi, never even heard of one that sounds all that legit. Bein' fucked up kids is all we've got and I'm not gonna wince that away just because of your rock-chewin' routine, and you'd be better off remembering what /you/ are too."

And then she waves her hand, cramming all manner of airy and casual into the motion with no particular build up to speak of. "But this is all just words, let's not get bogged down. But if you ever call me that again, whatever you wanna call it, you're gonna have to make a better case."

She spreads her hands wide, plaintive, palms to the stars above, smothered from view by the wafting stench of city lights consuming the night like a fart in a bag. "This isn't a negotiation. I mean, I guess it is. But I'm not tryin' to squeeze you. I have no idea what /anybody/ could offer me to make that math crunch, except to take away every single thing that's happened from a few seconds before I said "I wish." But sure, I'll tell you what I want, from anybody who can give it. I figure I'm the only one who can, but if you've got the goods then I'll work my way for them."

She takes a step forward, walking a fine line between assertion and aggression, neither torpid nor torrential, the way one would treat a great lion or bear, knowing too much or too little dignity could result in bloody ribbons of throat meat in mere moments.

"I want to live. I want to survive. Show me a world where fighting that thing that..I don't even know can be fought..where jumping into Hell makes me more likely to live than staying on Earth in all its degrading chaos, and I might buy a ticket to ride. Because right now you could offer to be my bodyguard slave and I still don't see how trying to stab the storm of all storms squares out safer than just ducking."

She nods, her eyes on the burger bag. "They didn't cook it so it could be cold. But fair enough. Just see that you eat it. Lotta spit in a lotta eyes otherwise, and mine in particular don't take it well."

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

It was not so long ago that Homura Akemi, denier of childhood status, was stirring the ingredients for white chocolate in her kitchen... the night before White Day, in fact. The warmaiden of spears insists that they're children, and Homura lifts her chin a fraction -- bridling even as she remembers giving the chocolates to a girl with pink twintails.

An anger sparks cold in her chest as Kyouko goes on, building as the defiance does. Like most children who boast of adulthood, Homura feels that her life extenuates her from the circumstances; unlike most, her claim to uniqueness holds a decent amount of water.

Truth has its way of telling, though, as Kyouko's diatribe does via a rising chin and a glint in violet eyes that find they cannot hold that gaze any more. They slide away, finding a nearby rooftop or a passing cloud, /some/thing that is not the other puella magi.

"It is... fair to say that your way of thinking might better fit what Eri-san needs." More concession, her pride won't allow. Her throat already feels far too bared. Homura Akemi needs her illusions rather badly.

It takes that step forward to bring her eyes back, with all alertness. There's that which speaks of a trauma common to most puella magi: hypervigilance. She respects the line-walking. If anything, the added edge grounds her from unwanted introspection.

What Kyouko requests is both true and seems impossible to give, wrapped far too tightly in her secrets and buried by all of the failed revelations of past attempts. The story of her many, many lifetimes. The stakes are precisely so, but...

"You are absolutely right, Kyouko Sakura. That is the only world in which standing to face Walpurgisnacht would make any sense. It is also the world we find ourselves in. So the question is, how do I show you that? With all of my secrets.

"And in such a way that you would believe me? I can offer my own priorities as proof. Why would I want to fight Walpurgisnacht, if that was not the case? That could be too thin a thread to rest your decision on. I would not blame you. So... we come back again to my secrets."

Her mouth twists then, though it seems less directed at Kyouko, far more inwardly-turned.

"It may be that I will have to share some of them. But I won't do so without giving it due consideration. I've shared my secrets before. It never goes well."

That has the ring of truth; there's something in her eyes.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouko Sakura [None] has posed.

Kyouko can see that obsidian glint in all its implacable polish, sheer and sharp beneath its shine as Homura Akemi builds a wall without words against her rebuttal. For the casualness of her speak and her amicable demeanor, Kyouko is monitoring the other girl's reactions very closely. Homura doesn't seem the sort to fly off the handle at a slight, or to show any particularly hot blood whatsoever, but Kyouko does not believe for a second that she can predict her behavior with even reliable accuracy, let alone perfect. That barely rippling shift of her gaze might signal agreement, or assent, or thoughtfulness. Or that it is not worth debating Kyouko further. Kyouko doesn't know what she's thinking. And really, that's what's at the heart of things.

She doesn't know much of Homura at all.

She nods a little, and accepts the offering in the spirit in which it was given, whatever precisely that may be. "Eri-chan tends to listen to me, for better or for worse. She gets in her head like a teenager sneakin' out their bedroom window, take your eyes away and she's slippin' back off. It shouldn't have gotten this far but I'll do what I can to dial the clock back a bit."

When she made her pitch, she knew full well that she was asking for something impossible to give. But she listens very closely as Homura counters with her own. Within her plates whirl and shift in concentric orbits, layers of emotional responses stacked along one another, quivering in the gaps before they achieve alignment in their array.

First is an animal admixture of bewilderment and fear. She's thought of fighting Walpurgisnacht in the way she used to think of being a movie star - as a flight of fancy, bereft of realistic consideration or planning. But now she is told that it must come to pass, and she inwardly recoils at the thought...but in the backgrounded corners of the contours of this icy flush of liquid thorns is a quiet trill, like a secret one attempts to conceal from the world and the self and from even God's eye as she thinks of how thrilling it would be, and what a legend it could make.

Second comes one of her greatest of blessings as the urgency of the scenario peaks so far past the thin-aired crests of panic that it escapes the terror altogether, and becomes the serene and clear-eyed calm of one who accepts what must be done without hesitation or fear or even lament, for there is no room for any luxury beyond action. She doesn't believe it yet. But she is preparing herself for a world in which she might.

And so she looks into Homura's eyes with an intensity of her own, showcasing her own strength as a trophy while reading into those inscrutable pools any tell tale whisper of insight from a prodigiously veiled soul.

"I don't know why you'd want to fight it, but a question mark is just a question mark. It isn't an answer an' neither is "well I guess that must be it." Maybe you think you can profit off of it, I dunno. But let's not get stuck on that."

She pauses for a moment, and tilts her head slowly, the way an animal might to study a human being's expressions from an altered angle, to attempt further insight to their intent.

"..you seem like you mean it. An' I don't gotta be told you got secrets. So..I'm not sayin' anything to anything right now. But while it's just us talkin'..let's just say that everything you say is true, you're not running some game or some con or some plot or some plan and it really is a save the world type deal, no choice, gotta do it, blah blah."

She puts her hands on her hips, and kicks her hair back like a rearing horse's mane. "We gotta end the war first. An'..gotta do it with as few knocked out as possible. Because them's we're fighting are just the sort that would risk it all for a noble cause, and if we're gonna try to kill something that I don't even know can be killed we're gonna need everybody. So that's what I gotta say. It isn't a condition. This isn't a deal. I ain' sayin' anything to anything, right now. This is me telling you that the war's gotta wrap up and hopefully clean before I can even start thinking about this. I don't see how it can go on much longer, but I don't see how it ends clean. I've tried that over and over again and I haven't gotten a centimeter out of 'em. This isn't a deal, but if you help us put this damn thing to bed without makin' a mess then I'll be grateful, and I'll at least hear you out. You know what it is you're askin' of me and I think I'm loud enough about what I am that you get what an ask that is. But I don't see any other way this gets to the next step while it's still a civil freaking war on the streets."

She crosses her arms, not defiantly, or challengingly. But in the way of a warrior, speaking to another warrior, gruff and respectful of dignity and honor.

"So how does that all sound?"

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"That's good." And, because even the coldest of the puella can recognize that maybe she should say more than that, regarding Kyouko's assessment of Eri: "You know her well. ...Thank you." That's not begrudging so much as the creak of hinges that swing rarely.

Homura is difficult to know -- which is, of course, the entirety of the point. She spent weeks, in one time loop, practicing how to land /just so/ after ending a time stop. Over and over, strobing herself through a succession of static-grey skies, with one leg straight in a ballerina descent and the other bent to an angle of exacting elegance. At least... that was the intent.

And after more ass-over-teakettle tumbles than she liked to count (but she did, she counts everything, and it took exactly two hundred and twenty-seven tries) and repeatedly reskinning knees that never got the chance to scab over, she got it right every single time. From that point on, Homura could trust her sudden appearances would have no trace of the bumbling girl that she could no longer afford to be.

Strength shown to strength: a thorough respect for what she knows Kyouko Sakura to be capable of informs Homura, here. Similarly, thorough and chilling competence recognizes like, despite the wild temperature variance between them. The intensity as she meets crimson eyes matches their color, like a wildfire contained in a tornado.

That is precisely what Homura hopes to direct at Walpurgisnacht, to pit this prodigal survivor's spirit against the embodied force of extermination. Homura wouldn't call it hope; she'd speak of strategy, and directed force, and would not speak of the odds of success even once. But it feels a little like that, deep down, a yielding of chances, a way for this path to continue forward.

Perhaps the spear of Kyouko Sakura will tip -- no, bloodily smash -- the scales in a fight Homura does not yet know how not to lose. At the very least, the icier part of the time mage that enjoys riddling Kyuubey with bullets thinks, it will be damned satisfying to watch her burn the thing down trying. If she can be convinced to.

She makes an attentive listener, despite the flatness of her regard -- level lines to meet the diagonal of that intent study. All Kyouko has to say regarding Walpurgisnacht finds its audience, violet eyes barely shifting, the rest of her shifting not at all. It isn't until the red magi crosses her arms and puts forth that capper of a question that she does finally move.

Homura leads with a single and deliberate nod, the movement as practiced and perfect as her balletic landings. "It sounds reasonable, and strategic, and well thought out. All of the reasons I brought this to you in the first place. So it sounds very good to me, Sakura-san.

"Nothing would please me more than to see everyone walk out of this conflict intact. It is... a goal of mine, as well. The war should, and will, come first. That promise comes easy."

Walpurgisnacht is a prominent reason why Homura involved herself with the war effort: to secure the very best allies for herself, and to see them through to the end if at all possible. She doesn't say so; too close to those secrets of hers.

"I cannot promise there will be no messes." Homura looks away, and down, but it's ostensibly to kneel and scoop up her bagged burger. She straightens and tucks a stray wisp of black behind an ear. "I try not to make promises I cannot keep, and that one is... unkeepable. But I will try, and would whether you asked me to or not. If it earns me your ear for the next fight to come, then all the better."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouko Sakura [None] has posed.

The thanks surprise her, though not so much as to give visible sign. Its tertiary elements - inflection, timing, and weight - suggest something more than entirely clinical. Even still she refuses to feel sure about anything about her beyond the danger that she radiates and the seriousness with which she pursues her goals, but Homura Akemi seems to care about Eri's well being.

But all of that caution and uncertainty risks getting caught in the weeds, to over-intellectualize something where the cerebral is only a factor and not the whole. Kyouko is cautious and makes no assumptions because she recognizes the sort of animal that Homura is. That, and not the shadows of her intent, is at the heart of things. On a purely intuitive and instinctive level Kyouko feels that she sees this unseeable girl, and feels that she sees her in kind. Of course she could be deluding herself. But Kyouko's senses are all that she has. She will not surrender her only advantage in this world upon a neurotic altar of misgiving and doubt.

So she cannot help but smile a little as this sangfroid soothsayer speaks well of her words like a wise woman biting gold and nodding in approval of its structural soundness. She does not want to let the smile linger, but she does not want to be seen hurrying it out the back door. So instead she nods and finds cause to speak, so that its passing is all the more natural.

"There will be blood, it's true. I don't expect you to promise otherwise and I'd suspect you if you did. But short of leaving town until their alliance fizzles out, knocking them out and putting them on a boat, finding something worse to unite us long enough to make it stick or killing them all I don't know how to break the spell. So I guess we'll just see what spills out."

She nods, to Homura and to the naked sky and to nothing at all. "It's settled then. I'll help Eri. You'll help put Humpty Dumpty back together again. I'll loop you into our next meeting, do whatever you want with it when it comes, but we should at least coordinate. Build up some of that trust credit before you try to recruit me into the apocalypse. I'd appreciate it if you give me a heads up if you're gonna make any splashes. Anyhow, we'll take it from there." Nodding again with a definitive air, she makes short work of the distance to the rooftop ledge. Glancing over her shoulder, she is smiling and then serious in quick succession.

"Thanks for the burger. Don't waste yours."

And then she is gone, falling into the dark, unseen and unheard, drawn back the foxhole she has made of the great city and all of its gaps.