It’s been a strange few weeks. Baldur might even say they’d been dull, but then that’s because things have been quiet, even…dare he say it? Routine. It’s been a strange few weeks. Baldur might even say they’d been dull, but then that’s because things have been quiet, even…dare he say it? Routine.
While he hadn’t sustained any real damage during the altercation at the mall, he’d gone to have his systems checked out, if only just to be on the safe side. At least, he’d think that would have been what Natsuki would have suggested, and with her having so much else on her mind, he decided to save her the trouble.
And then he lost track of the time. It’s not a difficult thing for him to do. Years have blurred into an unintelligible mess that takes some real effort to pick through at times, and it’s a miracle if he remembers what day of the week it is. Was he supposed to check in today or tomorrow? …or was it yesterday? Well that’d be mighty awkward.
It might be a little late to be second guessing himself as he stands not far from the gates of the Taniguchi residence. Hopefully the guards won’t be giving him any funny looks as he seems to be trying to count on his fingers. Eventually he just tosses his hands with a shake of his head. “Screw it,” he says, sauntering up the way.
If Natsuki hadn’t recommended, she should have. But then again, the fight with Jarvin and the aftermath had left the dark haired, pointy eared, part-elf rather shaken. It had taken her days to recover and even now she’s still not sleeping properly.
Although, her confession to Jericho and his response to it, might have something to do with the renewed wave of almost insomnia.
Baldur’s not accosted by any of the bannerman, in fact he’s waved on through. To Natsu’s studio, not her office. She’s there, dressed in leggings and a tunic, glaring at a sheet of paper of her desk. In her hand is a fountain pen but she isn’t writing.
Around the room are paintings and drawings and on an easel in the middle is a half finished painting – the view of the mountains from Natsu’s window.
It’s with a slight hesitance that he approaches the studio. He’s never been here, so part of it is to do with wanting to make sure he’s got the right place. His knock is heavy but muted, the knuckles and palm of his metal hand encased in leather fingerless gloves. That’s to announce himself before he steps inside.
“Miss Taniguchi?” he calls, and once admitted, he’ll pause yet again, because it’s not the sort of room he’s accustomed to being in, and he can’t help but feel like he’s invaded some kind of inner sanctum. It’s a brief feeling that will quickly be overtaken by curiosity as he’ll have a look at whatever pictures are on display, and for a small while he gets a bit distracted before his optics find Natsuki where she sits at her desk.
It sort of is an inner sanctum. A place Natsuki can retreat to. A place where she can express herself. The paintings are wide and varied. Flowers, landscapes, people and buildings. There’s a sketch of man, short hair and the collar of the jacket he’s wearing suggest military. Baldur probably recognises that one.
At the knock, there’s slightest tightening of her shoulders before she turns and looks over to her guest. “Mister Baldur. Come in. Have you been waiting there long?” She glances at the paper and puts the pen down.
“Are you … well?”
They’re lovely works. Baldur studies them as he can before Natsuki’s captured his attention again. With the way he tilts his head, what’s come to be his standard version of a smile takes on a lopsided sort of aspect. “Not long, no. And that was supposed to be my question but you beat me to the draw.” He starts over towards the desk, seeming to take care with each step as though he’s afraid he’d scuff the floor.
“I’m well as can be. Still functioning, that’s always good, right?” He does his little ‘jazzhands’ thing for which Mars always teases him about. “How’ve you been, Miss Taniguchi? I wanted to come and see you sooner, but… I figured you might need some space.”
The works not bad. It shows some aptitude and some training. Judging by the pile of canvasses in the corner, Natsu’s been doing this for a very long time.
BaldurRising to greet the Cyborg, the part-elf gestures to a chair, smiling slightly at the ‘jazz hands’. She remembers Mars teasing him about them, the first day they arrived.
“I’ve been remiss, in not seeking you out. Please. Take a seat, if you will.” she’s not sure he will, but she sinks gracefully down onto her chair again. He’ll note that the sheet of paper is blank. Whatever she was doing, she hadn’t got very far.
“Thank you though. I’m as well as can be expected. Better than I might have, if it hadn’t been for you. I … really must thank you, Mister Baldur, for risking yourself like that. What was waiting on the other side of that portal wasn’t nice.” Her voice fades as she remembers and there’s a slightly haunted look in her eyes. “Did you get a check up? I should have checked in on you sooner….”
He prefers straight forward art over abstract. In his opinion it takes more skill capturing something you see in three dimension and transferring it onto a two-dimensional canvas. …and he likes pictures of scenery and nature, especially.
“Aw, don’t worry about it. You probably had your hands full with other things.” Glancing at the chair, Baldur looks between that and the half-elf as she reseats herself. Maybe he’s afraid he’ll break it. He very slowly lowers himself to sit, like an elephant trying to sit on a walnut. Once he’s sure it’s not going to collapse under him, he relaxes. His head tilts as he looks at whatever Natsuki had been busy at…or rather, had been attempting to write, anyway. At least it seems he hasn’t interrupted much?
His optics flickering in a blink, the cyborg looks up at Natsuki again before he shakes his head. “Was just doing my job, ma’am. And anyway, I wasn’t about to stand around and watch some nut job make off with you.” He looks at her, concern somehow implied upon his metal features. “…I don’t know what was on the other side of that hole, but I just knew I had to get you out of it.”
Slowly he looks back at himself, lifting an arm in a half shrug. “I did, actually. Didn’t feel like anything got damaged from that, but I felt a little…off. Maybe my brain was trying to catch up with everything. Anyway, I’m fine.”
Natsu watches as Baldur seats himself. Maybe she’s wondering the same thing as well. Is the chair sturdy enough? It seems it is.
“Whether I have my hands full with other things, Mister Baldur, neglecting our people isn’t really allowable but I thank you for your understanding.” she lets out a sigh, leaning back in her chair, long legs stretched out in front of her, crossed at the ankles.
“Nothing good was on the other side, Mister Baldur. I could feel it’s presence. Dark and foreboding and it … felt like it was waiting for me.” It sounds fanciful but the part-elf shudders. “I believe I owe you my life and I won’t forget.”
At his assertion of feeling off, the part-elf cants her head “I’m pleased everything is well. Do you remember much of what of happened? I’m trying to piece it together. Having ones self buried in a portal changes the perspective, I’m afraid.”
“I’ll admit, it’s nice to know you were concerned,” Baldur replies. It’s…not something he’s particularly used to. Usually people only cared about the job being done, not the one doing it. Ah, the life of a soldier and a mercenary.
“Oh, hey now. You don’t owe me anything. You’ve already hired me an’ Kai. Serving under you has been about the most enjoyment I’ve had in years.” And Natsuki actually took the time to talk to him. There weren’t a whole lot of people who did that unless they were filling him in on job details or telling him to move.
His eyes track off to the side, drifting towards the painting sitting on the easel, of the mountainscape. “…it kind of all just happened all of a sudden, huh? I wasn’t so much paying attention as I was reacting. I…couldn’t say for sure what all went on. I know the Trents were shooting, and I tried shooting, and that guy was all waving a stick around doing things he shouldn’t have been able to, and not in that place.” He shakes his head.
“It’s what we do, Mister Baldur. Our people are the structure that our business is built on. It’s incumbent on us to ensure you are looked after.” It’s a little unusual, to be sure. Natsu is perhaps a little more aware of the tenants and retainers and takes a little more care than other nobles.
“All I remember is that the portal operated it and I was being sucked in. You caught me and then the portal wasn’t there anymore.” She watches him, looking at the painting “It was magic he was using, Mister Baldur. He got artifacts from a Techno Wizard and used them. Against me.”
“Oh. Well yeah, I can see how that’d be important.” He tries not to sound too disappointed. Business is business, though, and at least Natsuki is aware of the importance of those working under their name. He remembers how she’d interacted with the people they’d gone to check up on. “Too bad not everyone runs things that way.”
The cyborg seems to scowl a bit at the m-word. “Oh, I know it was magic. That’s why I was saying it shouldn’t have been, not there, not in his hands. That dirty little…” Catching himself, he ‘coughs’ and straightens a bit in his seat, freezing as he hears it creak, although it doesn’t do more than that. “Erm, maybe it malfunctioned or something? Not that I’m a magic expert. I try to keep away from the stuff.” Being in a war against people who used magic kind of left that impression on you.
Natsuki cants her head at the cyborg, dark eyes considering him and that slight disappoint she can detect. “I don’t offer to let just anyone drive my car, you know. I have to like them. Quite a bit.” she says with a smile, teasing just a little. It’s not just business.
Baldur’s response to magic has Natsuki shaking her head. It’s not uncommon really “Now you sound a bit like my Grandfather did.” It’s unclear if her Grandfather remembered the war because he was part of it, or if it was just through his father. She quirks an eyebrow at the cyborg, daring him to pick on her for the age implication…
“Well, it’s done now. And maybe the portal malfunctioned. I don’t know and I don’t really care what happened. It stopped and I’m still here.”
The chair creaks in emphasis of the slightly hunched up posture the cyborg adopts at that as he sheepishly ducks his head. One gets the feeling that if he were able to, he’d be blushing right then. “Nice to know,” he murmurs into his scarf.
His mouth claps closed with just the slightest *tink* of metal as Natsuki compares him to her grandfather. “There a problem with that, young lady? Why, back in my day we had hordes of mages flinging stuff at us and traps set up to no end- Oh yeuch! Okay, if I ever start talking like that for real, someone just shoot me.”
Baldur lets himself relax again at the chair’s expense as it gives another creak in protest. “What’s done is done, and best yet? We got that Jarvin guy, finally. He going to get taken care of? I know you said he was more of the sneaky kind of crazy but um. Back at the Concourse? He sounded pretty crazy to me.”
Natsuki chuckles. It’s a relaxed, clear sound. Baldur should be pleased with himself, he’s managed to get her to forget her troubles. At least for the moment.
She’s a flirt though. He should remember that. There are some things so ingrained in her nature, she just help but act as she does.
“Now, now, grandpa…” she says with wink. “If you ever start talking like that to me, I will shoot you. Promise.” The mention of Jarvin has the shadows back again though and the part-elf chews on her lip.
“I think, my buying the mine and removing his source of income pushed him over the edge.” Of course, there was also what Vos said. There was a touch of something else about Jarvin. Natsuki isn’t sure what that even means. “He’s with the Barons Court, they’re hearing his case. Mister… Trent is acting as liaison for me there. We received copies of correspondence that implicate him in plotting against us. It’s unlikely Jarvin will survive.”
He might secretly enjoy being flirted with. Because seriously, when’s the last time that ever happened?
Being called grandpa gets a shudder from him, exaggerated, but he still clearly has no care to be called such a thing. “Yyyes ma’am!” At least they’re both on board with that. The not talking like an old fogey, that is.
“Speaking of shooting,” Baldur mutters. “Maybe I should’ve just saved everyone the trouble and shot his face off then.” He effects a sigh, although the slight hesitation in naming Factor Trent does get a curious look.
“Just so you remember.” Natsuki answers quietly, seeing that curious look from the cyborg. “Perhaps but Mister and Miss Trent were also there. Shooting them wouldn’t have been … politic.”
At least someone enjoys her flirting. It’s a refreshing change to have someone respond to it. Even if it was just in fun, mostly.
Taking a deep breath, the part-elf considers Baldur for a long moment, then shakes her head. “Besides, if you shot him, we couldn’t make an example of that kind of behaviour now, could we?” That’s probably not what she was going to say, but it’s likely she won’t be drawn on what caused the hitch.
“I feel like a walk, around the gardens, Mister Baldur. Would you care to join me, again?”
“Well…yeah. I guess not.” Baldur shuffles his feet a bit, not really seeing the whole benefit of drawing it out. In his opinion, taking care of the problem then and there would have made a clear enough example, and word traveled fast. Probably why he ended up being a soldier over a politician.
Natsuki’s proposal seems to brighten him up. He nods, the slight movement still enough to illicit a squeak from his seat. “…I think this chair’d be happy if I left it alone too,” he says as he casts a quick look down. Hopefully it wouldn’t collapse on whoever sat upon it next.
Natsuki unfolds from the chair, rising to her full height and stretching. The blank sheet of paper is forgotten on her desk and she holds an arm out to the Cyborg. “I’m sure the chair will be fine. As will both of us.” He might get the feeling that she’s trying to convince herself as much as anything.
Waiting for Baldur to take her arm, she gestures to the door “Shall we then? After this, I must return to my duties and I’m sure Captain Michaels will have something for you to do.”
Getting up with a brief look at the chair to make sure it hasn’t gotten bent out of shape or something, Baldur’s only too happy to forget about it as he slips his arm around Natsuki’s. “Well, with you saying so, how can I think otherwise?” He nods and then starts towards the door.
“….oh joy!” he says, mustering up as much of a sarcastic cheer as he possibly can cram into those two words. Well, he could kind of mean it since he’ll at least have something to busy himself with.