4870/Non-Violent Heroics

From Heroes Assemble MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Non-Violent Heroics
Date of Scene: 25 January 2021
Location: Chickpeas Gyro
Synopsis: Katsumi reaches the end of her rope and realizes she's found herself in a dark place. She reaches out to Jennifer for help. But this isn't the kind of problem that can be punched away.
Cast of Characters: Katsumi Oshiro, Jennifer Walters

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
It's late. Late, late, late.

The New York skyline is atwinkle in lights. The sky is streaked in silvery clouds, the moon drifting into and out of sight. Somewhere, Katsumi texted someone she knew. Someone strong. Someone with experience. She told her where she was.

It's been about fifteen minutes. The young diva is seated at a booth with nothing but a mug of some dark, aromatic liquid in front of her. Very little of it has been drunk at this point. She doesn't really want it. But she also doesn't trust her own hand. As she starts to lift it now, the tremble in her hand causes the mug to jostle, upsetting the contents. She gives up again and sets her cloudy gaze upon the table in front of her. She doesn't look particularly well. She's been crying. No makeup today; she started with it, but quickly washed it back off when she realized it was getting oafishly smudgy.

A waitress drifts by every now and again, quietly noting the near-untouched condition of the coffee.

Katsumi's wardrobe is remarkably conservative compared to her normal fare; a snug gray hoodie, the hood drawn up. Black tights. Black boots.

Jennifer Walters has posed:
It doesn't take long for Jennifer to reply to the text message she got from Katsumi. She could almost hear the panic through it. She replied, saying that she'd be right there. It took her about twenty minutes to work her way through traffic, but eventually Jen's big ole Cadillac pulls up to the curb to park.

Getting out of it, she drops some of her spare change in the meter. Not knowing how long they're going to be there for, she puts in enough quarters to last a couple of hours before heading inside. It's easy to find Katsumi, once she's inside. She's the only customer here.

Jen herself is dressed just as simply. Tight jeans tucked into fuzzy boots. A Dazzler T-Shirt and her warm fuzzy coat complete the ensemble.

She finds her way to Katsumi's table and sits down across from her. "Hey," she says, voice full of genuine concern, "What happened? Are you all right?"

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"D-did I fall into another dimension?," Katsumi asks, not bothering to look up from the table. "Is this Hell? I think it might be Hell."

She starts to lift the mug again, but the tremors in her hand have only worsened with her attempts to organize her thoughts. She sets it back down carefully.

"I couldn't find what triggers it. Got punched out. But I was with my g-.. um.." She winces, then shakes her head faintly. "..whatever she was to me, I was with her. A-and that made it okay. And then she dumped me. And she said I'm a bad person for wanting some space from her after that. I- I don't know much about.. um, dating, but.. does that make sense? Am I stupid? I- I mean I know I'm stupid, but... do people just... lean into the pain like that? And stay close to someone who hurt'em? Is that normal? I felt like such a jerk.."

"No, I /am/ a jerk. It was all my fault anyway. Pushing for s-something she didn't want. I was.. high on f***ing optimism or something. Just a part of my curse. If I can't have f-friends, why the Hell would I be allowed to have more?"

Both hands settle around the mug, just to warm her palms.

"I'm sure my job's gone. My b-best friend knows what kind of dumpster fire I am. Everything I gave up to have what I wanted, doesn't matter. E-everything's gone. All of it."

"Something like me... s'just meaningless. I exist to hurt people. The one thing I wanted is gone. The thing that gave me the strength to pull through that, d-ditched me. I saw someone getting mugged, or.. or something.. earlier.. and I thought maybe my life would mean something if I used it to at least do /one good thing/ with it. Just one. Getting greedy is what got me here."

She shifts the mug in her hands.

"Powers came back. Moved fast. Hit hard.. -ish. I dunno. They got guns out. And I just..."

She hesitates. She doesn't look up.

"...froze. Would it be so bad?" After a beat, she adds, "S***tiest shots on Earth. I was standing still. None of'em hit me. Idiots."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Okay. This is a lot to take in at once. Jennifer takes a deep breath and reaches across the table to cup Katsumi's hands in her own. "Hey, hey, hey..." she soothes, dipping her head to try to meet her eyes with her own.

Jen squeezes lightly on the hands that are in hers. "There's a lot going on in your life," she says. It's kind of a duh statement, but it's said to let Katsumi know that she recognizes that fact. "Tell me two things. Are you okay? Physically, I mean. You didn't get shot?" She waits for an answer before asking the next: "What can I do to help?"

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro doesn't flinch back from the contact. She just continues to stare at the table. She's at least aware of what's happening. She lets the words wash over her, appreciating the placation, but still clearly in turmoil. Jennifer is likely to feel the persistent shake of her hands, the nerves causing them to be in a constant state of unrest.

"I'm not hurt. Cheek doesn't even hurt anymore. From the punch."

The second question is the doozy, though. It takes Katsumi a significant pause before she musters any kind of response.

"I don't know. You're the superhero, right?," she asks. She knows that's extremely unfair. So she gives Jennifer an out with a different topic: "I just want the pain to stop."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer's lips purse when it's mentioned that she's a superhero. "I can't punch the pain away," she says softly. "You don't need a superhero right now. You need a friend." She squeezes the hands in hers again. "I can be your friend, if you want."

She lets that sit for a minute before continuing. "Heartbreak is hard, and painful. I know. I've been there, myself, even as She-Hulk." A wry smile pulls at the corner of her lips, "I know this doesn't help, but it will pass, eventually. Give it time. And Hagen-Daas."

Another minute. "I'm actually serious about the Hagen-Daas. It may not seem like much, but treating yourself to something tasty is a form of self care... which you desperately need right now. Indulge. Focusing on the taste... the texture will help keep you from focusing on everything happening all at once, let your mind have a bit of breathing room while it all processes."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
She doesn't need a superhero, she needs a friend. But Katsumi can't have friends. The cosmos decided that years ago. She always hurts them, or does things to ruin them. She doesn't mean to. She never means to. But being hated everywhere she goes is her way of life. It just seemed different here - she got close to someone. Closer than she thought possible. And then heartbroken. It hurts so much worse like that. So, so much worse.

"Why would you wanna be friends with someone like me?," she asks. /Finally/, her magenta gaze lifts to Jennifer. "I'm not even interesting now. Pretty soon, what fame I had is gonna be gone. I'm just.. this.. human wrecking ball. The bigger strength is just redundant. Don't need it to do damage."

She looks at the mug and abruptly, it fractures and breaks apart. Katsumi startles, eyes widening, mouth open, wordless. Did she do that? Did Jen? Did she destroy something else? All she knows is her hands are now covered in specks of ceramic shards and steaming hot coffee. No bleeding, no redness, though.

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer's hands jump away when the coffee mug shatters, surprised, and a little bit worried that she might have been squeezing a little too hard. Once again, her first concern is Katsumi's well being. "Are you okay?" she asks, turning the young Japanese woman's hands over to inspect the damage. She starts plucking out shards of ceramic and lets out a breath she didn't know she was holding. "Okay. You're not bleeding anywhere. Thank goodness."

The waitress who heard the mug shatter hurries over to the table, glaring daggers at the two women. "I hope you're gonna pay for that," she drawls, clearly upset that they've been sitting here for a while and only paid for a mug of coffee. She, then, starts putting the pieces of the mug on a tray that she brought over, and mopping up the spilled coffee with a towel.

Jennifer pulls out a twenty from her purse and lays it on the table. Giving the waitress a winning smile she says, "That should cover it." The waitress grunts, mollified, takes the twenty, the damp towel and the remains of the mug away.

"Want to come over to my place and talk?" she asks. "I promise you there's nothing there that you'd accidentally break."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Frozen for much of that, Katsumi continues to stare at the remains of the mug. Her hands are easily turned and manipulated by the green mits of her company. Indeed, no damage. No burns. Nothing. When the waitress approaches, Katsumi finally turns her gaze up to the woman. Bright, jewellike pinkish-red eyes. She still has no words.

It isn't until Jennifer speaks again that Katsumi finds her voice. "That was me..?" Of course it was. It broke, didn't it? That's what she does to things; she damages them.

"...I'm hungry." It's every bit as random to her own ear as it likely is to Jennifer. "I haven't eaten today." She just realized that. She's been dealing with so much today that the thought of eating just made her miserable. But maybe that's steering a part of the problem. "..but, what do you wanna talk about?"

She's open to talking. She's desperate to think about something else.

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer shakes her head at the first question. "I don't know. Could have been me." She nods when Katsumi states that's she's hungry and pulls out a menu and nudges it towards her. "My treat," she says. It's the least she could do.

Off in the back she can hear the waitress and line cook arguing over something. Scowling, Jennifer arches her back to see what's going on and sees them both gesticulating at her. She scruntches down with a muttered, "Shit."

Making a snap decision she gets up and pulls Katsumi to her feet. "C'mon. We're going to my place. In about ten minutes this place is going to be swarming with cops." She starts pulling Katsumi to the car. "For me," she explains. "Not you. You're not the only one whose life is a dumpster fire right now."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Hands still wet, Katsumi takes a moment to napkin the coffee off of them. She then lifts the menu to look at it. The more she reviews the food, the more her stomach growls. She really /is/ hungry. Hungry enough that the commotion isn't even noted.

There's a surprised squeak when she's pulled to her feet. Super strength and super durability she may have, but Katsumi doesn't have super mass. No additional gravitational force for her. So lifting her, even when her powers are active, is no more of a challenge for Jennifer than lifting any one hundre and twenty-some pounds woman. "W-wha-?," she startles.

Jennifer was right to make that clarification. Katsumi's mind had immediately gone to assuming the cops would be coming for her. Why? Any number of asinine reason. It would be the way her day ends: in jail.

"It- wha? Okay. I'll- um, I don't have a car-"

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer ushers Katsumi into her Cadillac, a beast of a car. It would have to be to comfortably fit nearly seven foot tall She-Hulk. She waits to make sure they're all buckled in before pulling the car out and gently taking off. As much as she wants to just speed on out of there, she knows that would only draw more attention to herself... attention she just does not need.

"It's okay," she says to her passenger. "I can take you wherever you want to go. I'll make you dinner." Once they're a comfortable distance away from the diner Jen visibly relaxes. "I'm trying to keep a low profile after the Times Square incident," she explains. "But when a friend is hurting I'll come when called." This time Jennifer isn't giving Katsumi a choice in the matter. That's it. It's settled. Katsumi is now a friend.

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"You keep saying that. But I still don't know why." Katsumi, all buckled into the car like a good little passenger, sinks into the chair. Her head turns to look up at Jennifer. "You're cool. You're strong. The cops are being dicks, whatever. I'm just some... moron who probably should've taken the flight back to Japan. Why would you be my friend? And you should know, this? This thing that happened today? That's what happens to people who try to be friends with me. I either... kick'em into the hospital, or screw things up until they hate me, or hurt me, or.."

Looking ahead again, her gaze lids to halves. "I'm like a catastrophe in a human shell. World would be better off without something like me. Just give it extra strength, and I'm basically a supervillain."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
"Hey now," Jen says sternly, glancing over at her passenger as she drives. "None of that. I wasn't always cool, or strong and, as you've learned, strength comes at a price." She bites the corner of her lower lip, chiding herself that that probably wasn't the best thing to say. But there it is, out in the open.

"I want to be your friend because I *like* you," she says. "I don't think you're a moron, or a walking disaster, or any of those things. I think you're a sweet person, whos had a series of huge changes happen all at once in her life and feels like she's drowning." She glances over again, wanting to face her fully, but can't since she's driving. "Believe me. I've been there before. I know what it feels like."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"If this were new, maybe," murmurs Katsumi. But she's eating those compliments like rain to a desert flower. She badly needs a reason to like herself. "Look, I'm so screwed up a person, parents ditched me /twice/. Birth parents gave me up immediately, then the adoptive parents disowned me when I tried to make myself happy. I've always been a disappointment to people."

She glances again to Jennifer. She can't say that she's right - that feels like being vulnerable again. And the last time she did that, she wound up - well, here. Heartbroken. "I mean, let's at least be real. I'm not sweet. I'm mean."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jen holds up a finger. "Sassy," she corrects. "I know mean. I've been around mean before. You're just sassy." She's quiet for a bit as she drives, eventually pulling into a gated parking garage. She pulls out an ID from her purse and holds it next to a scanner, which then gives a happy little beep before rolling open the parking level doors. The garage goes down a couple of levels before she finds her parking spot.

"C'mon," she says. "Let me show you the digs. It's been ages since I've had a *friend* over." She emphasizes 'friend' in a way that would brook no dissention.

She leads Katsumi to an elevator, and presses the button for the top floor. She grins as they go up, looking down to Katsumi. "You're gonna love it." After about fifteen floors the elevator *DINGS* and the doors slide open to reveal a rather unremarkable hallway. She leads her friend down until they reach the end of the hallway where her apartment is at. The door looks rather plain, except that there doesn't seem to be a doorknob. Just a metal plate that you see on some doors to just push it open. Jennifer rests a hand on the plate, and there's a soft hiss from inside the door and it swings open. "Stark Tech," she explains. "Bio scanner. More secure than any lock. Or at least that's what he tells me."

Once inside it's apparent that Jen has a corner apartment. Two walls are lined with glass, one side leading out to a balcony. The view from up here is absolutely breathtaking. The apartment itself is tastefully decorated. Not too posh, but certainly upscale, like one of those tasteful high living magazines. Except her apartment definitely looks lived in. There's magazines and other detritus scattered about the coffee table, the couch has that lived in look that couches get after years of use. The kitchen has appliances scattered haphazardly about the place, and there's a sink full of dishes just waiting to be done.

"Come in," she says, inviting Katsumi in. She lays her keys in a small cup on a small wooden table next to the door, and her purse beside that. "Make yourself comfortable while I whip up something to eat."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
It's a miracle. Jennifer's correction to Katsumi's remark gets the tiniest little quirk of a grin from the punkette. It's the first sign of a smile since Nessa helped her out of the ring of Fogwell's. Shortly before rending her heart. But that's not where her mind is at the moment. Katsumi is politely quiet while they reach their destination, padding along. The scanner is given an odd look, and there's an impulse to try it for herself - but she refrains.

In they go, and Katsumi is immediately heading over to one of the glass panes to look out over the city. "I always wanted to live in something like that. To see all the lights of Tokyo, or Osaka, or-.. Hell, I'd take any city. It just feels like where you live when you've made it. When you finally matter."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer laughs lightly as she takes off her coat to hang it on a rather plain looking coat rack. "I guess I'm lucky," she says, moving to the kitchen. "I'm one of the few superheroes who manage to squeeze a decent paying day job into their lives." She rummages around the kitchen, pulling open cabinets, the pantry, the fridge, and even the dishwasher to get an idea of what to make. "Do nachos sound okay? I'm not the greatest cook on earth, but I can do a mean nachos."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"Ahh..," Katsumi hesitates, turning to look to the green woman. Food being prepared by a green person. What a bizarre life she's landed in. "..I could really eat anything. If you had a pet, they'd be in trouble." She blinks. "Oh my god, was that racist?"

With a sigh, she turns to look outside again. "I had a good job. I was the women's champ three times. You must know what that feels like. To have everyone watching you, all the cameras, kids wanting to meet you..." She sets a hand against the side of her neck, rubbing against it sheepishly. "...I was always the badguy, though. Just fell into it naturally. Never the one the audience wanted to see win."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
"That's still an important role to play," Jennifer says as she pulls out a baking sheet. She pops open a bag of chips and starts laying them out on the sheet until a perfect even layer is formed. "And you might still be able to find work. While Japan fired you, you could always try one of the big US leagues." She pulls a block of cheese from the fridge, and rummages around the dishwasher for the cheese grater.

"Lay low for a bit, get a handle on your power." She starts grating cheese over the first layer of chips. "When you come back you can probably spin the accident to feed more into your heel persona." She chuckles deepening her voice to mimic that of an announcer, "Big Bad Katsumi Oshiro! Who will she break next? People will eat that up." She pauses in her grating, looking over her shoulder and quickly amends, "Not that you'd *actually* break anybody."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro lowers her head enough to rest her brow against the glass. "I was never playing a role. I was just... having fun. Being me."

She exhales a soft sigh against the glass.

"I hope she's okay. I always wanted to check up on her. She's still in the hospital." Leaning off the glass, Katsumi turns to move towards the couch. "I'm scared I might've ended her career. That's not something I wanna play off of. That's just.. my curse ruining lives."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer moves to the fridge and pulls out a couple of Tupperware containers. "I'm sorry..." she says, sprinkling black beans from one container and ground beef from the other. "I didn't mean..." She slides the nachos into the oven and sets an old fashioned egg timer to ring when they're done.

Once that's done she makes her way to the couch and sits on the opposite end. "I understand," she says softly.

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro has seated and flopped her head back over the backrest by the time Jennifer has joined them. "It's... cool. It's whatever..." Her hands raise to paw her hair back from her face. "Just something I've dealt with since... uh, literally birth, I guess. My actual parents knew it and got rid of me immediately, so," her hands lift to flap in a loose, defeated shrug.

Katsumi rolls her head to look in Jennifer's direction for a few long seconds. "...I hate being like this, y'know? I'm never like this. Pathetic, and weak, and..," bare? "..lame. You're being really nice to me, and I.. I don't even know what to say."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer scowls a bit. "I don't think your parents got rid of you. At least not in that way. Yes, they gave you up, but I'm sure it's for reasons other than you were a blight to humanity." Her brows furrow as she says that. "Not that you are."

She shakes her head and waves a hand, "Don't worry about it. I help people. It's what I do. You need somebody who believes in you, and /I/ believe in you. You're a strong person, and you'll be able to overcome this."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"Okay, but, like, why?," asks Katsumi. "I'm not a nice person. I'm not even a /good/ person. I'm just someone who put a person in the hospital. Aren't you supposed to beat people like me up?" Katsumi sits up at that, folding her forearms over her knees.

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer leans back on the couch, twisting so she can face Katsumi head on. "Katsumi," she says, her voice serious. "You have done absolutely nothing that tells me you're a bad person. Or even a mean one. You obviously care about Sindie, and that's not something a mean person would do."

"You've had all these things happen to you all at once," she continues, "and it's a lot for anybody to handle."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"Y-yeah, but, you wouldn't just do this for anyone, would you?," asks Katsumi. She twists on her knee to similarly face Jen directly. "There's gotta be a lot of hardluck cases out there going through what I am. I mean- okay, not exactly what I am. But you know?"

Her left arm raises in broad, animated sweeping gesture about the luxurious apartment. "I'm the only one here, right? You chose to take me here. You could'a took me to a homeless shelter or something, or just paid for a room, but..." She pauses, studying Jennifer. And then, she's sinking into the couch again. "Why me?"

Jennifer Walters has posed:
"I mean... you /did/ text me." Jennifer says with a quirk of the lips. "I help a lot of people, Katsumi. Even people who people say don't deserve to be helped. Most people like that are just people who have found themselves in bad situations and do desperate things to try to get themselves out of it."

"I /like/ you. I want to see you get through this without doing more harm to yourself, want to see you get back on your feet."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"Ugh, okay, fine. I don't get it, but..." Katsumi rubs a palm against her eye. "...I don't know if I've ever been this low before."

With a start, she perks. "Wait, yes I have. When I was disowned. You know I'm technically not supposed to go by Oshiro. I'm lucky I haven't been taken to court or anything over it."

She turns her head to Jennifer again. It's a test, really; to see if her miserable past might scare Jen into second thoughts. Or maybe it's just nice to feel like she can unload.

"You ever make your family so mad they don't want you? Because I f***ing nailed that one."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
"Yes," answers Jen, perhaps surprisingly. "When I became a public defender. My dad was /furious/. He's a cop, see, and he couldn't wrap his head around the idea that I wanted to defend the people he was trying to put away. We didn't talk for years. It wasn't until I was nearly killed did he finally start to speak to me again."

"One of the things that make me who I am, is that I believe that /everybody/ deserves somebody to be in their corner. Everybody deserves to be fairly represented in court, and that has leaked out into my life."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"You told me that before. The thing about everyone having someone," Katsumi notes. She was paying attention! She may seem a bit daft half the time, but she's tuned in!

"Did he disown you, too? I tried calling my family every week to try to talk to them. They'd just hang up on me when they heard my voice. And eventually they started screening my calls. And the last time I went to visit, they had me, uh.. escorted off the property." She tugs her hair over her right shoulder to begin stroking through it. "They really hate me. I guess I get it. They invested everything in me, and I was selfish."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer looks a little sad at the mention of her father. "I never really got a chance to patch things up with him. He died before we could settle our differences." She shakes her head to clear her thoughts. "I know a lot of people who are in your shoes. It's hard to be disowned like that, but in the end most of them have found a family of their own, whose bonds are greater than anything that could have come from blood."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro shakes her head, scattering her bangs. "They weren't blood. I was given up at birth, grew up an orphan until I was.. I dunno.. thirteen? Something like that. Then I was adopted. And when I went to university, my adoptive parents disowned me," she explains.

She continues petting her hair, gaze hooded. "I knew they wouldn't take it well. But I never thought they'd hate me for it. Enough to make me an orphan a second time. Must've cried for a week when I got back to the dorm."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer throws an arm over the back of the couch, and tucks a leg under her. "Why did they disown you for going to university?" she asks, curious.

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro shakes her head. "Wasn't for going to university. It was for, uh.. screwing it up. I always loved wrestling. Always, /always/ loved it. Nothing but passion, and fame, and money, people cheering for you, or even just loving to hate you. Being bigger than life, strong, dominating... gladiators. S'how I saw it. Gladiators with cool clothes. And my parents hated it. They hated that I liked it. Kept pushing me away from it and to music. And when I went off to college, everything seemed really good. And I was pretty sure I'd only ever just watch wrestling on t.v. and be a musician or something."

"...then there were these tryouts. Well, like tryouts, but not really. But they were right there. In town. What, was I /not/ gonna go?" Katsumi has stopped pawing through her hair, and is simply holding the black mane against her chest. "Training was like, /just/ safety stuff. And one day. No one expected anything. But I blew'em away. I took risks, and made a huge impression. They had to have me, and there was no way in Hell I was gonna pass up on my chance to live my dream."

"Things were good! Sort'a. I wasn't getting great grades anymore, but f*** it. I was so happy. Getting my ass /kicked/ on a weekly basis, but it didn't matter. I was loving it. And I was, like- hang on."

Even just talking about the topic seems to lift her spirits and make her more animated. She fishes out her phone and quickly hits up Google images, searched for her name, and attaches "2017" to it. She offers the phone to Jen. On the screen is a slightly younger Katsumi, one foot propped on the lower rope while leaning over the audience with a fist raised and radiant smile worn. Her attire is a much more traditional purple singlet, elbowpads, kneepads, and boots, hair bound back in sporty ponytail.

"I was such a dork," she giggles.

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer shares a giggle with Katsumi. "Oh, you want to see dork?" She gets up and wanders off into another room and comes back with a print photo. In it is this mousy, brown haired woman with huge glasses in a graduation dress, proudly holding aloft a diploma. She hands the photo over to he guest. "There we go. That's me on graduation day. I was such a nerd."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Deft hands quickly snatch the photo, and Katsumi eagerly takes in Jennifer's nerdy appearance. "Hah! Dork!," she giggles. The photo is passed back, and Katsumi settles back into the couch, apparently content to let Jennifer hold onto the phone displaying 'vintage' pictures of her early career. Bright green eyes and enthusiasm to spare. Some shots with a bit more attitude than others. She was an upstart even then.

"But yeah.. so.. uh, a little later, I got picked up by the NLWF. They do this thing where they have dancers between matches, during commercials, things like that. They thought I could work my way into the ring as a dancer-gone-fighter. But it meant full-time dedication. I had to either give up the chance to join the big leagues, or give up college."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer sets the photo onto the coffee table, and turns her attention back to Katsumi. She nods as she listens, "That's a hard choice, but I understand following your passion."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"Either live the rest of my life with regret and probably hate the thing I loved the most, or chase my dreams, right?," Katsumi posits.

"I, uh.. wasn't.. a good dancer. Don'tlookitup! It's so awkward." Should Jennifer do exact as she's told not to, she'll find Katsumi's one and only appearance as a part of an ensemble of typically scintillating dancers. Everyone is having a great time - except Katsumi, who looks stiff, uncertain, and nervous. Just a row of dancers with pretty smiles before the camera finds her petrified face.

"One and done. They bumped me right to just wrestling, and that sucked. Could you imagine going back with that sort'a failure? And everyone who knew my in university would've seen it, too. Ugh. But it was whatever, cuz I /had/ to focus on improving. On being the best I could be. Screw whatever else, I was gonna make this work. So I didn't re-enroll. Wrestling became my life."

She falls silent, and the energy almost visibly drains from her person.

"And one holiday, I had to go home and break it to my family. I was braced to be yelled at, insulted, called stupid, or a failure. I wish that's what they did."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Of course Jennifer grabs her phone to look up Katsumi's short lived dance career. Instead of laughing at her, as one might expect, Jen just gives Katsumi a pitying look. "Oh you poor thing, look at you!" She puts her phone down to listen to the rest of Katsumi's story. "What happened?"

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro cringes at the reaction, clearly denoting Jennifer has done precisely what she asked her not to. "Aaaanyway." She clears her throat.

"They said their life's biggest regret was taking me in. That they wouldn't allow me to bring them any more shame. That I was no longer their daughter, and to leave."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer's entire face pull into a disapproving scowl. "Wow," she breathes. "That's pretty harsh. You deserve better than that."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"..do I, though?," asks Katsumi. Her gaze falls, and she resumes pawing through her hair. "I ruined everything. They put all their money into me. They overlooked a lot of stuff I was doing that caused them problems. I was nothing but a thorn. And in the end, I just... spit on all of it by only caring about what I wanted."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer's scowl deepens. "No.... no. That's not how it works. Parents are supposed to be supportive of their child. They should have been happy that you were able to follow your dreams. The fact that they disowned you for that isn't a reflection on you, but on them." She shakes her head, sadly, "They weren't being very good parents to you."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
"T-they were the only ones who'd take me in," Katsumi counters. Her gaze remains affixed firmly to her knees as her composure begins to crack. "No one else wanted me. No one would- would give me a chance. Not.. the birth-parents, not the people who were.. b-baby-shopping, no one. Just them. It would've... meant a lot to.. I don't know, /not/ make them regret it..?"

Katsumi finally releases her hair to quickly brush her wrist against her eyes.

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer's eyebrows knit together in concern, and she scoots over the length of the couch to reach out and gently take Katsumi in her arms. "Hey, now," she says softly, trying to be soothing. "It's going to be okay. You'll get through this."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro was determined to hold it together. She was starting to feel better, talking about a topic she was much more comfortable with. She'd been crying so much already, over what happened in the ring, over Nessa. And she'd already cried so much over her former family, she was pretty sure she could keep it together. But the X-factor here is physical contact from a comforting source. As she's tugged, Katsumi teeters over towards Jennifer in a near ball and cries. Both hands are covering her eyes, her slender frame quaking as she breaks down. Katsumi, typically tough and impishly aloof, is emotionally decimated and in no condition to handle the myriad scars in her past - recent or otherwise.

"I j-..," she tries to speak between sobs and sniffs, "I just don't-"

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Despite the fact that she could crush a car in those arms, Jennifer is a surprisingly good hugger. She rocks slightly as Katsumi cries, and she rests her cheek on top of her head. "Shhh..." she soothes. "It's okay." Being a hero doesn't always mean fighting epic battles to save the earth, or winning court cases against criminals. Sometimes it's just being there for somebody who's hurting an comforting them when they need it the most.

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
And that broken state is likely how Katsumi is going to remain, helplessly sobbing into her hands and reflexively hating how pathetic she must look. This has /not/ been a good trip to the States, from start to finish. But she's not going to complain about how things are right now. This is a sort of medicine; the type to which she is very unaccustomed.

BZZZZTT! That's the egg timer. Unless it's the kind that dings. Then it dings. That's how long Katsumi has been crying.

Either way, the sudden sound causes her to jump slightly. And as it jolted conscious, she begins desperately wiping at her face with her hands, wrists, forearms, whatever! She knows she has to compose herself, though she for sure looks a wreck at this point.

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer lets Katsumi go once the egg timer is done, and silently gets up off the couch to turn off the oven. Leaving the door slightly ajar to let the food cool down, she makes her way into the bathroom and returns with a roll of toilet paper which she sets down next to Katsumi. "Sorry, I don't have any Kleenex," she says apologetically.

She heads back to the kitchen to give Katsumi some time to collect herself, and pulls the nachos out of the oven, with no oven mitts. The heat doesn't seem to bother her at all. She brings out two plates, and separates the nachos into two roughly equal portions. She works slowly, occasionally looking over to see how her guest is doing, and once it looks like she's managed to put herself together she brings over the plates, setting one in front of the young woman.

"Here you go," she says kindly. "Do you want any sour cream or pico?"

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro makes no complaints nor demands. She takes what's offered, waits until Jen has 'left', and blows her nose. It's a heck of an undertaking, trying to fix herself up after that. And sadly, no amount of dabbing or blowing is going to make her eyes less cloudy, or her nerves less shot. Physically, she feels fine. But she's unbelievably exhausted.

By the time Jennifer returns to her, Katsumi doesn't respond. She takes a plate and is immediately finding chips to munch. After a few, she murmurs a sheepish, "Thanks.."

She was starving. She didn't even realize how hungry she'd become, herself.

"W-... um, what now?"

Jennifer Walters has posed:
Jennifer takes a few chips from her plate and pops them into her mouth, crunching slowly. "Well," she says, "That's up to you. I could take you back to your hotel room, or I can put you up for the night." She gives Katsumi a gentle smile, "Frankly you look exhausted and could use a good nights sleep. If you /do/ decide to stay, I'll give you the bed and take the couch for myself." She takes another chip, "Or, if there's a third option, I can help with that, too."

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
A third option - Nessa decides she wants her back. That'd be nice. But no amount of superheroics could make that happen. She'll just have to find a way to cope with things. Ideally without damaging herself in the process.

Katsumi crunches a chip, then abruptly says, "No." Chew, swallow. "I'll take the couch. I- I'm being enough of a problem. And I like the view. Seeing the city out there." She nods to the expansive window. After a beat, she sheepishly adds, "I- I'm not gonna jump or anything, don't worry. I'm okay..."

Jennifer Walters has posed:
"I wasn't worried you'd jump," Jennifer says gently. "I just wanted to make sure you got a good nights sleep, that's all." She half heartedly pokes at the nachos, not really feeling all that hungry herself. Instead she gets up, yawning and moves to the bedroom. She rummages around in there for a while before coming out with a pillow and a blanket, which she lays on the couch. "I'm tired, and it's late. You can have my nachos if you're hungry. Anything left over just throw in the fridge. Help yourself to anything you see in there anyway. Mi casa, es tu casa."

She thinks for a moment. "The bathroom is down the hall and to the right. Don't mind the mess it's.... well, you know how bad girl's bathrooms can get." Indeed, the counters are strewn with beauty products and brushes and all other sorts of implements should she venture in there. "If you stay up or get up before I do, the TV remote is there, and help yourself to the Playstation. In the morning we can discuss next steps, but for now just focus on getting some rest, okay?"

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro hasn't stopped crunching on nachos the entire time. Upgrade hungry to "famished". Just sitting and eating is a sort of therapy by itself, and it was likely doing her no favors. But she nods quickly to Jennifer's explanations, likely not going to use any of that any time soon. More likely, she'll chomp more nachos, and then practically pass out there on the couch. But hopefully without further tears. She doesn't think she has any more in her. She should be alright. Besides, the wide open space is sort of nice.

"Thanks," she murmurs again, by way of bidding goodnight. Then more nacho crunchings.