4779/The Great Stressing Bake-Off

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The Great Stressing Bake-Off
Date of Scene: 18 January 2021
Location: Gramercy Park Hotel
Synopsis: Nessa tries to cheer Kat up with some baked goods, but it ends up being something unexpected that cheers her up instead.
Cast of Characters: Nessa Donovan, Katsumi Oshiro

Nessa Donovan has posed:
People do odd things to deal with stress and anxiety. Some people go to the gym, some throw themselves into their hobbies, other people into their work. For Nessa, there's only one real solution to manage anxious energy: stress baking. So when she had finally left Katsumi alone too deal with the fallout of the event, she'd ended up at home and unable to sleep.

... but certainly able to bake.

At some point she did manage a small nap, but her energy was spent mostly either baking or cleaning up after the horrendous mess she was making during it. Eventually, though, she's loaded everything into a basket and headed over to the hotel. On her way to the elevator she pauses to send a message to Kat.

<I'm bringing gifts.>

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro didn't get that message.

Though her day started (albeit very late) much like Nessa's, nervous and anxiety-ridden, she has new hope. And a challenge to layer on top of it. These are things she can work with. Goals. Not a deep, empty chasm of despair. Sometimes superheroes don't have to punch things to save the day. Sometimes it's more about being a symbol. She may not know it now, but that's something she'll remember. But it's made her feel well enough to shower and make herself presentable. After all, her general manager will be coming over at some point in the day, so she needs to not look like she's completely given up. These things matter.

Her glossy pink Hello Kitty smartphone buzzes, unattended. Hate on, haters.

But she's emerging from the bathroom area in towel, fetching fresh clothing to put on. Her hair is bound up in a towelturban. The screen of her phone is still lit from the notification, and it lures her over.

"Ah!," she squeaks. Thumbs rapidly tap at the screen. Tappity-tap.

<Hang on! Naked! D:>

Nessa Donovan has posed:
Naked? In the middle of the day?

<If you've got company I can leave this at the door. I wouldn't want to interrupt!>

There's a smug look on Nessa's face as she texts and she hits send, the doors of the elevator opening up. She steps on, then moves to hit the button to head towards the floor Katsumi's on.

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Inside the room, Katsumi is flailing about trying to get ready to receive a guest. She can't have Nessa catching her in a towel toga! But her accursed phone is buzzing again! "Come on, Nessa! Come on!" She picks up the phone and taps at it.

<Omg shut up you're the company I want e_e>

Katsumi resumes getting dressed, then realizes with a crashing startle how that message came across. With a yelp, she snatches at the phone again to send another message.


Nessa Donovan has posed:
In the elevator, Nessa's raising an eyebrow at the text. The amused look hasn't left her face as she types her reply.

<Uh huh.>

She tucks the phone away for a minute, riding the elevator in silence until she's on the proper floor. When she finds the proper door, she leans in close to the door and states loudly. "You good in there or do I need to make a lap around the building and come back?"

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:

"No, I'm- I'm okay, I-"


"Owsh**! I'm good! I- hang on! Coming! Ow, ow, ow.."

Thump. Thump. Thump.

After limp-hopping the rest of the way to the door, Katsumi reaches for the handle. And just as she touches the doorknob, she realizes she's still wearing a towel on her head. Alarmed, she whisks it off and tosses it haphazardly into the bathroom area. Hands paw down her damp, frizzy hair as quickly as she can, then finally tugs the door open. She hobble-hops back a step to make way.

Thankfully, she managed to find some clothes! A cut-off gray tanktop and black short shorts make the ensemble, still barefoot.

"Hit my leg on the.. thing..," she admits sheepishly.

Nessa Donovan has posed:
"You know I wouldn't have minded waiting out here, right? You didn't have to hurt yourself just because you wanted to see me," Nessa quips, turning the nervous energy into humor. She shifts the large basket on her arm before she holds it out in Katsumi's direction.

"Uh, I made some stuff. I was going to make some cookies for you but then I didn't really remember what exactly you'd like... so I was trying to pick between making snickerdoodles or double chocolate chunk and I wasn't sure which you'd like better and it was like 4am... so I just made both."

There's a long pause. "And there's like two dozen of each. Sorry."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro automatically takes the basket when offered and hurriedly deposits it on the bed. And then she's returning to Nessa, uncaring about her wardrobe choice as she reaches for the girl's shoulders to pull her into the room and immediately into a hug. This will almost certainly involve skin contact, as Katsumi's head tilts to rest against hers. Here's to hoping no frostbite occurs!

But barring that, Katsumi intends to simply hold her there. This hug, as opposed to the fearful latching of the night prior, would not be alarmingly, worryingly tight. Her attitude, however, might be an alarming change of pace. "Thank you," she sighs.

Nessa Donovan has posed:
Usually when Nessa knows contact's coming she can focus on being doubly careful. In this case, while she's not entirely expecting it, she's not entirely caught off-guard. Given that there's no immediate danger of freezing, she wraps her arms around Katsumi to hug her tight. "I mean, the cookies are good but they aren't that good and..."

Kat's being /way/ too calm. She's almost a little... chill? "Katsumi, are you okay? Did something happen? Are they shipping you back to Japan?"

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"Don't know," Katsumi replies, refusing to disengage the hug. Nessa's concern is perfectly valid. She may have never actually seen Katsumi relieved and happy before, given her entire time in America has been spent stressed out and in poor health. In fairness, Katsumi herself hasn't felt this relieved in a long time either.

"Got a visit from a big green lady. She-Hulk. She brought donuts. You remember her. She told me I could get control of this thing and... and still be me. Still wrestle. I just have to work on it."

The Punk Princess is smiling, her eyes happily shut.

"I refuse to let my life be over. I can prove to'em that I'm not dangerous, or reckless. I just need time. Just need to get it figured out. To train."

Nessa Donovan has posed:
Nessa blinks a few times, turning her head to catch Kasumi actually smiling. So she gives Kat a gentle squeeze, listening to the firm conviction. "You know, when was younger and my powers started getting the best of me, I felt like my life was over. I lost the ability to safely connect with people the way I had done before. All I wanted was to get back to normal. I wanted to get rid of it and just be able to live life the way I had before."

There's the hint of amusement in her tone. "So I trained and I worked hard and it's been my goal ever since, to really reclaim what I had before but... not to lose what I'd learned along the way. The ability's not gone... but I'm not freezing you right now."

That's a fair point. In fact, Nessa doesn't even feel slightly chilly at the moment.

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"H-hey, that's right.." Katsumi's head tilts back from Nessa's to look her in the eye. "I was totally touching you and you didn't turn me into Olaf."

She squints. "You been hustlin' me, snowflake?," she challenges. But she can't seem to keep the smile off her face. She's too happy with the prospect of her life not being over to even commit to a tease. So her head tilts again to gently bump against Nessa's.

"You did good. With the training. I mean, obviously. But, um. Also last night. I freaking lost it, huh? Really hit rock bottom. But here you are, dealing with my baggage, bringing me stuff..."

Nessa Donovan has posed:
"Oh hell, you think I would have given you a giant hug before now if I hadn't been sure I could keep you from being a Katcicle?" Nessa laughs just slightly. "Should turn you to Olaf for the Frozen joke, though."

She takes a moment to actually take the compliment. "I'd have been the same way if I was in your shoes. I kind of was when I first figured all this out. I didn't realize I was going to hurt people and I did. In my case it wasn't in some big public arena with people to see, but I sent people to the hospital. I was terrified they might lose a limb."

She gives Kat a serious look. "This is the sort of thing people do for each other. I wasn't going to just stand there and let you deal with that all on your own. I've learned what it's like to deal with this sort of thing and stay isolated from people and it's not worth it. I'm in a position where I /can/ help you, even if it's little things like baked goods. I dunno, maybe someday you'll be returning the favor."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"Nooo, you're lovin' the human contact too much," teases Katsumi.

Though her smile dims when she describes the way that her magic manifested and the effect it had on her. However, her arms tighten a degree around Nessa's shoulders. "No. It's not something people do. It's something Nessa does. And I'm startin' to sound like a broken record, I know, but it's... I don't know. Your special. You've got a good heart."


"Corniest thing I've ever said," she adds in mutter, defensive.

Nessa Donovan has posed:
"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone you're a softie and ruin your reputation as the Punk Princess," Nessa says, giving her another squeeze and sinking her head down to rest on Kat's shoulder for a moment. "It's what people should do, though. People don't deserve this kind of shit, and you certainly don't. I guess I see a lot of you in me and I sure as hell wouldn't have left little Nessa to deal with figuring herself out."

She lets out a small sigh. "I think Olaf got something right. Warm hugs are great. You have no idea the kind of stuff you miss until it's just not there for you anymore." She pauses, then lifts her head back up to compose herself. "But this isn't about me. This is about you."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"I-.. might, though," Katsumi murmurs, in regards to deserving the problems she's facing. "Doesn't matter."

Refocus! Things are in a positive direction! No dwelling on the negative!

Finding Nessa's head on her shoulder is an unusual sensation. Katsumi has had very few hugs in her life, and certainly none that were relaxed. She's never felt like someone's support before. But that little gesture gives her that feeling. It's nice. Validating. Her arms bundle Nessa in a little more warmly at the mention, and tilts her head to get a look at her face when she lifts again.

"Hey, it's /always/ about me. It can be about you some, too." The corners of her lips quirk upwards in a playful grin. "Only a little, though. I don't share the spotlight."

"But, um."

Those brilliant magenta eyes shift sheepishly aside.

"You can have those. Any time. I guess. I mean, it's only fair. A-and I suck at making people feel better about stuff. I can do that, though. The, uh, hug. Thing."

Nessa Donovan has posed:
"I usually don't risk it with people. Especially with people I'm not sure if I can hurt. It's usually okay if I'm expecting it, but being surprised or someone I don't want in my space... yeah. It's like a porcupine but with ice quills."

Nessa laughs just slightly. "I appreciate the offer of hugs, though. I just try to be careful. Hurting people I care about is big on the list of things I hate more than anything. Especially if it's some dumb accident."

She puts her hands on Kat's shoulders. "I'll let you in on a little secret--I hate being in the spotlight. Quite a bit. You can be the starlet, I'm more than happy to be the tech crew." She does pause a moment to take a look at the magenta color in Kat's eyes. "I wonder if your eyes are always going to be like this now."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
As Nessa's hands settle over Katsumi's shoulders, Katsumi's arms adjust to relax around Nessa's waist. Those eyes in question return to her face, studying her as she talks. "You seem so normal, though," she mentions in regards to her worrisome frigidity. "And who knows? Maybe this... magical.. /whatever/-the-Hell will make me immune? Like I can rock a bikini in December. Take that, society." Her smile softens with the low-caliber joke.

"I'm gonna let /you/ in on a little secret. After everything you've done, and how nice you've been to me? You're always gonna be a star to me."

The mention of her eyes gets a light wince, her gaze uplidding in dread. "I- I don't know..." The smile finally fades. "..I kind'a wish you could've seen my eyes before they changed. The real me."

Nessa Donovan has posed:
"If you somehow end up immune to cold, I'm afraid you'll get sick of my constant hugs," Nessa points out. "But icy skin is always easier to hide than a lot of things. People don't know there's anything wrong other than me apparently being incredibly conservative in dress. I sure stick out like a sore thumb being all covered up in July, though."

The blonde pokes at one of Kat's shoulders gently with a fingertip when she sees the smile fall. "Katsumi, I /did/ see them. The day we met. I saw a lot of them, actually, because I kept checking to make sure you weren't passing out. I was scared shitless that you would and then I'd have to be extra careful not to freeze you in the midst of trying to help."

She smiles again. "I remember the color. This beautiful vibrant green. Trust me, you have no idea how jealous I was of that color. I totally would have rocked that look." But she shakes her head after a moment. "I've seen the real you this entire time. Maybe better than a lot of people have gotten to see you. Your eye color isn't changing who who you are. It's just different. It's not /bad/ either, it totally works for your look. So I call bullshit on not seeing the real you. You've never been fake with me."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro uptilts her chin in a mild show of defiance. "Bring it on. I can take'em," she challenges in response to the hugs. She's warming up to them. She can see why Americans do it. Not that she expects people in general to be lining up to hug her. That is, except Nessa maybe. "And I'm gonna teach you the wonders of fishnet. Do a little gothy ice-witch thing. You're gonna look ridiculously hot, and have kind've a buffer. I got your back, boo."

She falls silent, however, when the topic of her eyes are really explored. The smile starts to make a comeback, hesitant at first. The eyes slowly half-lid, settled on flicking between her gray-blues. At last, they fall fully shut and her head tilts forward to touch her forehead to Nessa's. "No making me cry. I do that way too much around you." After a beat, she murmurs, "You say the nicest things. I don't even know- like.. what to say.."

Nessa Donovan has posed:
Nessa rests her forehead against Kat's, letting her own eyes shut. "Look, everyone needs to have someone they can ugly cry in front of. I'm clearly that person. If you ever need it, you just go for it, okay? It's kind of nice to be the person someone goes to for that kind of thing. I'm used to keeping people way more distant than this."

There's a bit of a sigh. "You don't have to say anything, Katsumi. You realize that I talk too much in the first place, so I'm liable to ramble on and fill the silence so you don't have to. I'll give the inspirational speeches and you just stand there and look pretty. We've all got our strengths." The tone is a bit of a teasing one.

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro rotates her head just enough to gently, playfully rub noses with Nessa in that proximity. "Wrestlers don't keep their distance well," she murmurs.

As Nessa speaks, however, Katsumi smiles a little more. A faint giggle bubbles forth, and her eyes open again to stare back at Nessa's face. "You think I'm preeetty," she teases airily. "I'm gonna flaunt it in front of your boyfriieend~..."

Nessa Donovan has posed:
"Yeah, that's why I'd totally be bad at the wrestling thing. People being too close! Wrestlers aren't so bad, though." Nessa laughs, and her smile ends up broadening at the tease. "He's not my boyfriend, Kat. He's a wealthy, attractive, weirdly magical person who I imagine isn't interested in a girlfriend. I don't even know if that's his cup of tea, but you should see how jealous his staff gets. And have you /seen/ those dancers and waitresses?"

She shakes her head slightly. "It's not a thing I'm pushing. Maybe if I had some idea if that was even something he'd go for, sure. But it'd feel kind of dumb to expect way too much. So, y'know, flaunt it if you like. He'll probably flirt with you."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"Oh, what, you got a new type now?," Katsumi teases. "Want me to set you up with Mason Maloney? I can't remember, but he might've been eyeing you up..."

Her smile dims a little and her gaze dips. "I don't get that guy. The- erh, Luci guy. Not Mason. Mason's easier to understand than a pop-up book. But he's got someone like you just /waiting/ on him to get his s*** together, and he doesn't." Her arms shift a little comfortably around Nessa. "Beautiful, easiest person I've ever met to talk to, with a heart that's way too big... and nothing for nothing, but with a couple'a gorgeous eyes, herself."

She bobs her head to gently nudge her brow against Nessa's.

"You're special. You should be with someone who.. makes you feel special."

Nessa Donovan has posed:
"Bah, that's just cause my family's Irish. Made him feel at home," Nessa laughs. "Honestly I get that way too. Reminds me of when I'd visit my relatives over there. I don't get over there that way much, but it'd be nice to visit again." She lets out a deep breath.

"He's hard to understand, I think. I don't know what's on his mind all the time. He's got all these mysteries that I'm not sure he'll ever share. He's easy to talk to, though, and I doubt I could ever hurt him even if I tried. That automatically wins points. I've just not had that sort of opportunity come up, really, and I'm not sure what I want from it. I don't know what he wants from it. It's a bit confusing, to be honest."

She laughs after a moment, though her own eyes almost mist up. "You know what I missed the most? Comfort. I miss the way my mom would rub my temples when I had a headache as kid. I missed being able to hold hands with someone when I was scared. It was a lot of being alone because of that. So Luci was someone I could talk to, someone who can't be really hurt by me. But that's the kicker... I can't really hurt him, but by being close he can hurt me. It's a hell of an uneven balance and I feel like an idiot for it. I'm not sure which is worse, being able to have that again and being hurt from it or keeping away and not hurting anyone else."

She releases one of Kat's shoulders to rub at the back of her eyes with a hand, just to make sure she's not crying. "You've definitely got the cool eyes. Before and now. Mine are just math class."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro is frowning again, but not because she's miserable or doubting herself. This is sympathy. Rare, almost unheard-of sympathy. It's not native to Katsumi. But somehow, Nessa is stirring that from her.

"I.. guess I can.. sort'a relate to that. It's complicated..." She hesitates a moment, then attempts to reaffirm the hug she has on the strawberry blonde with a gentle squeeze. "His loss. I mean that. I've never known anyone to be so nice, or patient, or cool with me being me. And that's not even touching on all the stuff you do without anyone asking. And, listen. I hate you. You're gorgeous. You got the blonde hair, the blue eyes, that smile..."

As she mentions it, Katsumi starts to smile, herself.

"You just being you is like the best thing you could be for anyone. Because you're the kind'a girl who breaks the mould. Sure, I might pull you out've your shell, but it's just to emphasize what you've already got. You're a beautiful /person/, Nessa. Inside'n out." Her head tilts slightly. "..I'm a little jealous of that."

Nessa Donovan has posed:
Nessa laughs, bumping her forehead to Katsumi's. She's going to enjoy the contact while she's still managing to control it. "If people don't let you be you, they don't deserve you. I like that you're a badass but you're also very sweet. Especially to me. Kinda feels nice to be the one you're not a total asshole to."

She lets out a deep breath. "Honestly, I don't think you should be jealous of that. Not really. You've got a lot going for you and I'd be seriously disappointed if you tried to change who you are. You've got nothing to be jealous of."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"I thought I was, though. Or- I dunno. It's weird. I never know when I am." Katsumi's brow furrows briefly as she considers it. That's her problem, after all. She has no clue when she's crossing the line with someone. But she's positive after as much time as she's spent with Nessa, she must've crossed it a couple times by now. Yet here they are, embracing.

"Pfft. Sweet. To you, maybe," she submits, tucking her chin. "Don't tell anyone."

The rest earns a lingering, thoughtful look from the punkette. "I just can't imagine anyone not liking you. That's what I'm jealous of. It's... uh..." She swallows. "..lonely, y'know?," she concludes in a quieter voice. Once again, defenses are lowered.

Nessa Donovan has posed:
"Don't worry, I won't ruin your reputation with talks about your soft gooey center. Not even if the tabloids offer me tons of money," Nessa looks back thoughtfully. "But really, I feel like you're real with me. You are who you are. I don't think a lot of people just know how to treat you the way they should. Plus I imagine you're around a lot of industry and fans all the time and all you do get the chance to be is the heel. I don't think that's all there is to you, so... kind of nice to be here to see the rest of it."

There's a slow nod. "Honestly, Kat? I'm not like this with everyone. You can't imagine anyone not liking me because you're seeing me not pushing you away. It's usually way easier for me to just be aloof and distant and sarcastic and not emotionally invest in people. So people who might've liked me don't get the chance. I don't let them, because I want them to be safe. You're a bit of an exception because you need someone around. I feel like pushing you away would hurt you more than it'd help you, so I just have to make sure I don't accidently ruin your career with a nasty case of frostbite."

There's another sigh. "I guess it's just nice to be a little selfish sometimes. It's nice to not have to shove people away to keep them safe."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"Heel?," Katsumi asks with a blink. Those eyes are then squinting, and she coyly noses at Nessa with a purred, "Oooh, talk industry to me, baby~."

However, Nessa's further explanation seems to tug on something in the back of her mind. The mirth dims, and Katsumi is studying her a little more closely. "Hey. Do you keep me around just for.. uh.. my sake? It sounds a little like you come around because I need someone, instead of you wanting to hang out, or do stuff. I don't wanna be a charity case..."

Nessa Donovan has posed:
Nessa laughs, actually turning a bit red. "Look I looked up a bunch of terms for stuff before the night because I didn't wanna sound like a buffoon not knowing any of what was going on. You said you're always booed and disliked... so it's pretty easy to tell what role you're pretty much playing."

There's a sudden frown when Kat questions her. Her brow furrows a bit. "Kat, you aren't a charity case. You need someone, sure, but if I felt that you needed just anyone, why would I have been so ridiculously vulnerable with all of this? Why would I show you my magic and worry about texting you when I was a /bunny/. Paw texting, Kat. /Paw texting/." She shakes her head.

"You're a delight to be around. I'm here because you mean a lot to me. Hanging out, talking about dumb stuff, watching movies, making you totally fat with the food I bring over. I'm gonna make the most of the time I've got with you here while I can. So don't get all worried about that. I need you too."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro crinkles her button nose. "Yeah. Playing." She isn't playing. The audience is booing the real Katsumi. She's just out there having fun and living her best life.

She falls silent for the rest, however. She absolutely remembers the bunny fiasco. Paws tapping at a screen. The panic and helplessness she felt when she realized what had happened. The only thing she cared about was keeping the precious Nessabunny safe in a world that would hurt her.

No one's ever said something like that to her and made her believe it. It's always come from fans, or guys trying to score points. She's pretty sure it's because she /isn't/ a delight to be around. But from Nessa, she feels like it rings more sincere. All of the things she's listed, she's loved doing. And it meant the world to her to have someone like her present, not only while going through her horrific American experience, but also simply because it's rare. Special.

Make the most of the time they've got. It reminds her that it's limited. The very last statement, however, gets the biggest pause.

Katsumi starts to speak, only to catch herself. Once. Twice. Without warning, the Japanese starlet tilts her head in again. But this time, it's to press her lips to Nessa's in a soft kiss.

Nessa Donovan has posed:
There's a brief flash of cold in the kiss, but it's only there for a second before Nessa's got things under control again. Her hand squeezes Kat's shoulder to assure her that things are okay and that she's not about to accidently freeze her. She leans in a bit, just for a moment or two before pulling back a bit.

"You could've warned me. I'm not /great/ at all of this, you know. It'd crush me if I hurt you somehow." She moves to rest her forehead against Kat's again, letting out a soft breath.

"I'm gonna make sure you're okay in all of this. Because I want to. Because you're important to me, okay? I /want/ to make sure you're going to get through this and come out the other and kicking even more ass." There's a bit of the misty eyes again. "I'm really being careful not to hurt you." Maybe in more ways than one.

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro felt the chill, but pushed for it anyway. It was impulsive and possibly stupid on more than one front. But every millisecond that Nessa doesn't pull away, Katsumi coaxes herself to breathe and relax into the bold move. She feels the squeeze on the shoulder, at first unsure if it's a non-verbal plea for mercy - a normie tapout - but that doesn't seem to be the case. When Nessa leans in, Katsumi /finally/ allows herself to breath, the exhale gently breezing Nessa's cheek.

And then the kiss ends.

And Katsumi needs to process what just happened.

"I-I-I," she starts at a quiet, near voiceless stammer, "sorry, I just-.. I thought-.." Nessa's brow touches hers. She's calmed a little by the touch, and her gaze lifts to meet hers.

"...you're important to me, too," she whispers. Her right hand travels up Nessa's back until it rests between her shoulderblades. "You're not gonna hurt me..." Her heart is practically in her throat. And thanks to the embrace between them, Nessa can no doubt feel its hastened, nervous beating against her chest.

Nessa Donovan has posed:
"You don't need to apologize," Nessa says after a moment, her lips curving into more of a smile. "It was a good test of self-control. I just... I'm always scared. It's easier to keep someone safe when they aren't close. Not just physically either. People sort of naturally like to be close. So I do my best to just... not."

She takes in a few breaths when she feels the racing heart. "You're an exception to all that, I want you to know that. I wasn't kidding about feeling like it was more of a risk for me to hurt you to back away than to stay." She shuts her eyes for a moment.

"It's going to really suck when you go back."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"I," Katsumi swallows, trying to get her heart out of her ears, "I don't understand. I just-.." Her head is swimming. "..all I know is you're special, and I just.. want.. more of that. Of you. If you don't, you can't let me squirm, okay..?" Her voice nears a plea, desperate for some sense of direction, something solid to hold onto. "I didn't plan this. But..."

But it felt right. At least to her. And though Nessa leaned into it, Katsumi is pitching back into self-doubt.

Nessa Donovan has posed:
"Remember the part where I said I wouldn't hurt you? That I was gonna do my best? That still stands. I wouldn't just leave you hanging regardless of my feelings. I'm not an asshole, Kat." There's a sheepish smile at that, Nessa's attempt to keep the mood light. "It's not something I planned either, but..."

She pauses for a moment, moving away just enough so she can take her gloves off. They're set aside, forgotten for the moment before she returns her hands to where they were. "It's okay. We'll figure it out together."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro looks at the gloves, then her hands. And all at once, she's cursing what must be her stupidity. None of it makes sense. Nothing is clear. She wants to believe a certain way, but she's terrified to assume. It's fair to say she's never allowed herself to be this vulnerable before. If she misread thigns now, it could be so much worse.

Wincing, Katsumi tries to match her eyes to Nessa's. "What.. what are your feelings? I'm sorry, I-.. can we just be blunt? Please?," she begs. "If you don't know, it's- it's okay, I don't- I mean, I- I know it felt- I mean you're-" A whole string of unfinished thoughts.

Nessa Donovan has posed:
"Shh," Nessa leans in, rubbing her nose gently against Kat's. "You're stressing too much about this. I trust you. I told you that you were important to me. I mean that. I know you're trying to give me an easy exit and I appreciate the concern, but I told you I'm going to stay. I wasn't kidding when I said I wanted to make the most of the time and that it was really going to suck when you go back to Japan. I wasn't kidding about coming after you, either. Logistics are complicated, but..."

She smiles again. "I care, Katsumi. I mean, if you want me to get really corny about it I could but it might ruin my badass reputation." The smile's a little broader as she brings the hint of playfulness into her tone.

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"F-for God's sake, get corny," Katsumi continues to beg. But the pitch in her voice has been somewhat subdued by Nessa's noserub and easing.

"I'm not good at this either, y'know..." Her gaze falters, but at least her voice is starting to even out again. "I can't pick up clues.. or signals.. or whatever. It's why I piss off people all the time. And I-.." The heart has lept back up her throat. "..I might've.. gotten.. you know.. feelings.. for you. Without even realizing it was happening."

Her hand slides up from between her shoulders to set against the back of her neck, gently brushing the skin. Unless she's wearing a turtleneck again, in which case the fabric is a continuing buffer.

"I don't wanna be away from you, either..."

Nessa's a trooper, attempting to bring humor and playfulness back into the mix. Meanwhile, Katsumi couldn't possibly look more sincere and searching.

Nessa Donovan has posed:
Katsumi's in luck. While she's wearing long sleeves, the neckline of Nessa's shirt leaves it exposed. Which means she's once again faced with the contact of skin. She swallows carefully, certainly looking like she's concentrating on something. There's no flash of cold, though, perhaps expecting this a little more than she might have been before.

Nessa's expression is softer. "This isn't something I normally do. I mean, being close in any way. I've had fun being around you. It's been amazing. You gave me trust in ways no one else really has and I didn't know that was something I really wanted or needed. It was being close without as much risk as I thought there'd be."

This time, there's misty eyes again that almost threaten to spill over. "I don't have the heart to try and push you away because I like it. But this is hard for me. I'm terrified I'll lose control, I'm terrified of you being attached and me not being able to keep you safe. I'm more used to pushing back and dealing with this sort of thing alone. But I'd be lying if I said that the thought of this hasn't crossed my mind before."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Nessa's words, or more specifically the order in which they roll out, twist Katsumi's heart. In her mind, it sounds like she's bracing for rejection. A 'but I don't feel that way'. When Nessa's eyes begin to mist, Katsumi's follows suit. She's sure it's coming. She's demanding herself to take it like a champ, to not let it humiliate her, or wound her. It was her own fault for behaving so recklessly. It-

It's not what she was saying at all.

Katsumi releases a breath she'd been holding, almost at once floored. In a breathless rush, Katsumi says, "Then stop worrying about it and kiss me!"

The hand at the back of her neck pulls her close again, head tilting to kiss her lips anew, this time more decisive, more heartfelt and empassioned. She may hope that Nessa's skin isn't frigid with cold, but she's prepared to endure a little of it if she must. If it's painfully cold, she'll recoil. But she wants this too badly to let that worry stop her.

Nessa Donovan has posed:
While the kiss isn't unexpected this time, it's distracting. Nessa leans in, returning the kiss, but it's a mix of both eagerness and holding back. It's clear after a moment that it's not because she wants to--she's focusing. There's no flash of cold, but perhaps a little distraction.

It's not enough to keep her from the kiss, though, and she shifts her hands so her arms can be around Kat, one of her hands mirroring the slight touch of skin on her neck. There's a moment where she actually /shivers/, perhaps a bit of a foreign sensation, and she pulls back.

"This is not quite as easy as I might have thought." There's the slightest hint of frustration there, mostly because this was a situation where she was hurting herself in it. "I'll have you know I'm really trying, okay?"

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"I know. I know. F*** easy," Katsumi breathes after the kiss. The touch to her neck sees her leaning more into Nessa. That shiver was absolutely, one hundred percent noticed. Somehow it was more of an answer than anything else leading up to this point. "We'll work through it. You know?" Her face tilts in, not for a kiss this time, but to affectionately - and unabashedly at this point - nuzzle against her cheek. "Repetition, right? That's- that's how anyone gets stronger. And I don't want you worrying about me getting frustrated, or impatient, alright? Because you're worth it. Because I've been around for over twenty damn years, and I don't think I'd run into another Nessa if I waited around twenty more."

The fingers behind Nessa's neck and against her back curl, gently scritching her.

Nessa Donovan has posed:
That's certainly something that strikes a chord with Nessa. She swallows hard, leaning in a bit closer just to be close. She shuts her eyes again, mostly because she's trying not to get too emotional. The touch on her neck has her exhaling a shakey breath. "Yeah," she agrees. "We'll work through it. We'll figure it out. We'll figure something out."

When she opens her eyes again, she's at least regained some of her composure. "I should probably go before I make things real awkward when your manager shows up." She pauses for a long moment. "If... when you find out about what's going to happen, you tell me, okay? I think I might end up making cakes or something at this rate." There's another brush of her fingers on Kat's neck before she straightens up. "You gonna be okay?"

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro turns her head enough to cuddle into Nessa's, brushing her cheek against her hair. The mention of her general manager gets a giggle, both in mirth and relief. It feels good. The tension is mostly gone. Nothing else matters in this moment other than holding the blonde securely. "He'd have a stroke," she muses. "I mean.. I didn't think I was even into girls."

The long moment passes with Katsumi adding another gentle, reassuring squeeze. It feels good to have something like this; remarkably good. She'd had the rare date before, but she feels like she has a real connection with Nessa. And it makes a considerable difference. But when she speaks again, the punkette exhales a quiet sigh. "I'll tell you as /soon/ as I know. And then you're definitely helping me eat all this stuff, because it's way too much for just me. Fat doesn't fly around so well in the ring, and I'm totally not giving that up. Got it?" She bumps her hips against her playfully.

The question gets an even rarer warm smile from Katsumi. Her arms withdraw from her figure to instead place her hands gently along the corner's of Nessa's jaw to frame her face, brushing over her ears. "I think I'm gonna be okay," she says. The optimism is punctuated with a tilt in for a third kiss, this one intended to be brief.

Nessa Donovan has posed:
"Honestly, I didn't really let things progress in general enough to know what I was into," Nessa laughs, the tension beginning to fade from her. "Alright, alright, I'll come get fat with you. Just let me know when and I'll be back by. You know how to get ahold of me. I promise I won't get turned into a bunny while I'm gone."

There's a slight grin in Kat's direction before she leans back into the kiss in response. Brief as it is, it still feels longer and lasting. She takes a moment to affectionately rub her nose against Kat's before pulling back. "Yeah, I think you'll be okay."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
During the brief noserub, Katsumi's right hand trails down from her jaw to the side of her neck. "Yeah. Buh'wait! No! No bunnies! I about had a heart attack! I won't let you be a bunny anymore! Unless it's like a sexy bunnysuit or something, then maybe we'll talk, but actual fluff and tail and stuff? No. Forbidden." Katsumi pouts at her, but it's short-lived. She can't stop smiling at this point.

Reluctantly, she begins withdrawing her hands from Nessa completely. But her gaze doesn't leave her. It's steady, as affectionate as any kiss they've shared so far, and sparkling.

Nessa Donovan has posed:
"Let me know as /soon/ as you know, okay?" Nessa keeps her gaze on Kat for a long moment before she retreats towards the door. "Not going to lie... bunny snuggles are pretty good though. Not an experience I'd care to repeat on purpose." She flashes a last smile in Kat's direction before opening the door to leave. "Keep your chin up. We'll figure out everything. Together."

With that, she's out the door.