177/It's Totally A Date

From Radiant Heart MUSH

It's Totally A Date
Date of Scene: 29 July 2023
Location: Mitakihara Ward
Synopsis: A simple date night ends with feelings, the oddities of magic turning someone into a girl, and a first for Amy. SLEEPOVER!
Cast of Characters: Hannah Steiner, Amanda Faust

Hannah Steiner has posed:
Hannah stood not long ago before her section of the mutual closet she and Ami shared. A hand ran through her blonde hair, scowling. Fairly well out of trinkets to sell, she has to get an actual /job/ in order to properly date her Faustian Angel. Which...well, she partially feels joy for. Connecting with the proles? How else can one rule over a mountain of glorious souls than by understanding them? The arrogant nobeless considers such things, her first sojourn amongst the coinless ending up as a simple job as a konbeni clerk.

At first, all is well. Overly well, in fact. The till is /exactly/ as counted by sales. Hannah chats up every single customer as though they're her best friend for life, and suddenly...well, lines grow as the violently amiable young woman gets regulars. Then people start buying small things just to chat with the social savant once again. Old people. Young people. It doesn't matter, Hannah and her fluffy guide dog treat them like family, and it shows.

Ironically her energy and pure love for /people/ clogs up the shop, and after her third shift?

The poor manager reluctantly gives her a last and first check, with a hug. Hannah walks out with enough money to get a decent dress, confused and yet not angry at her sudden firing. The words 'overperforming' have her grinning.

And so she does. The young woman is clad in a brilliant blue-and-gold dress reaching to her ankles as she leans back in a chair, Blauer Greif pushing up her shades as she awaits her dear would-be Angel. Lyra is neatly curled up beside the seat at a very well reviewed sushi place in Mitakihara, the rest of her paycheck going towards ensuring both herself and Amy will eat well this night.

'Fake it and make it' is a byword in Tharkad society for those less wealthy. Her interactions with her parents' lower-born relations and Confidants prove useful as she awaits the arrival of her friend with a smile.

How long has it been since she's had a simple dinner party with someone she cares about? Hannah relaxes, swirling her sparkling wine idly. The ache in her heart pounds, but recedes, as all her forebrain can ponder is how best to charm Amy Faust!

Amanda Faust has posed:
    This is... this is a date, right?

    Amy wasn't really thinking in terms of dates per se, when she texted Hannah to ask to see her again. She just wanted...

    She just wanted... to feel like that again. Even just remembering it or imagining spending more time with Hannah makes her feel... something, inside. Is she *smitten*? Is this a crush? Why now? Mallory never felt anything like this in his first youth, let alone the rest of his life... On the one hand, it should be concerning -- why now, and of course, how fucked up crushing on a girl less than half his age is, and especially, deceiving this poor lesbian into thinking she's really a girl -- but, being near Hannah might be able to put those worries out of her mind. She wants to feel like that again. She can have a little happiness in this messed-up situation, right? This will have to be sorted out one day, but can that be future Amanda's problem, this time?

    Of course, she wants to look her best for her date! Fortunately for her, she doesn't know anything about makeup and doing her hair, or this might get quite involved, but she can at least pick clothes. She was originally planning to just wear a blue T-shirt and black slacks, but now that she's got a yukata... she likes how she looks in it, and she wants Hannah to see her! Well, Hannah's blind, but... *somehow* she's able to have a fashion sense, so... if *any* of the 'look' of it can somehow get to Hannah, she wants that. Also it's the nicest thing she has. And it was expensive, it should be worn more often than just the fireworks festival!

So it is that Amy makes her way to the sushi place wearing a yukata with a blue-and-white star pattern and white sneakers with red accents. She brushed out her hair -- which took a lot longer than she expected, having this much -- and has a purple hairclip on one side of her forehead, making her hair fall over her left eye when it isn't tucked behind her shoulders. She has her little blue bag with white streaks in it that goes with the yukata, but she also has a utilitarian blue messenger bag into which she's stuffed all the things that used to go in her cargo pockets.

    She's read of this situation in manga more times than she can count. Walking in public as a girl in pretty clothes. That didn't really mentally prepare her for actually doing it, though. It's supposed to be exciting, not that that's why she's doing it, but she can't help worrying. She's getting looks. They probably think it's weird that she's wearing a yukata when it's not the festival. Maybe she shouldn't have worn it. It's probably weird. Or worse, are men looking at her and thinking-- she shudders to think. Of course, all of them would have nothing but disgust and ridicule for her if they knew the truth. She hunches over a little as she thinks that.

    Sometimes someone, seeing the young girl in a yukata wandering alone with a troubled look on her face, approaches her, and she just says I'mfinethanks and walks faster.

    But then she's finally made it to the sushi place. She looks around nervously and sees Hannah, eyes widening at how dressed up she is, but before she can think more about that she's just so relieved to see Hannah, everything will be alright now, she's here and they're going to have a wonderful time!

    The troubled young girl's face brightens with recognition and she fast-walks over to give Hannah a tight hug. "Hannah! It's so good to see you!" She'll also pet Lyra of course, "And Lyra too, who's a good girl?"

Hannah Steiner has posed:
She might not know Amy's situation on the whole, but the young queer gal is nothing if not solid on that point. She likes Amy. Amy presented as one to her on the dance, and unless she says otherwise? Well. Tharkad is a planet of magical technology and absurd noble titles. Something so banal as gender doesn't even nudge into the noble lines of succession, nevermind the /royal/ ones.

Amy is a girl because she deigns to be. Upon pain of Hannah's wrath at anyone saying otherwise. Sometimes Truth needs to be backed up with a solid Device like Blauer Greif!

Thankfully for any fool's skulls, no one has dared challenge Amy's identity, and so as arms wrap about her, Hannah hears a familiar voice and belatedly wraps her own about Amy with a squeeze of affection! She can't see the beautiful yukata Amy has adorned herself with, but can feel and smell and all but /taste/ the confidence it's blessed her with. Hannah drapes herself with House Colors whenever possible, thanks to Lyra, but can feel her own confidence when she knows she's in Proper Attire!

"Mein engel graces me with her voice und touch!" Comes Hannah with that thousand-watt grin of joy! Squeeeze!

"By the Sankt! Clad und the silks of this land I trust? Beautiful! Wonderful!" Comes Hannah. Then, she pauses. She bites her lip. Hands pull from the hug, and reach up higher.

"...Should the good Frau grant me a gift of her visage?" Asks Hannah, even as Lyra leeeeans into the pets, then nudges Amy towards Hannah.

Her hands hang in the air, lightly, her last words whispered despite her normal volume. This is...well, just a bit personal. To touch. To know. To 'see' as much as she can, and the normally boisterous Steiner intends to keep the moment private!

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amy looks up at Hannah's smiling face, and rests her cheek and head against Hannah's chest as she's hugged back and squeezed. Oh Hannah's hugs are the *best* hugs! She didn't know hugs could be this good before the dance... She blushes at her... touch? being complimented, that's never been complimated before, and the comment about local dress.

    Grant her her visage? What? oh. She smiles and moves her hair back out of her face, closing her eyes and trying to imagine what it's like to get a sense of someone's face by touch.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    ...After a few seconds her face reddens a bit more. "Uh, I mean, yes, you may, I mean, I do."

Hannah Steiner has posed:
Hannah's fingers meet Amy's face gently. She traces the other young woman's visage as though trying to burn it into her mind's eye. Once, twice, thrice, does she pass Amy' face in its' entirety, her mind soaking in the feeling and contours of Amy's shape, even as her Device helpfully takes in the raw numbers. Enough to eventually add to the little device she has still storing the face of her parents.

A memory cube of those most close to her and willing to allow her to record their face.

Eventually she sighs, and pulls her hands back. Amy might notice wetness seeping down her cheeks.

"Sit, please!" Smile! She's trying to hide her own warmth.

Hands ball up and squeeze a bit. Another sucked breath, and Amy's face in her mind, she finally waves to the server that greets them both!

"Pray, give mein beautiful friend all that she desires!" Comes Hannah, ordering a few varied bits of sushi. No two alike, it seems this Royal is practicing proper Steiner hedonism by trying to get every experience possible on her admittedly shameful budget. But one problem for another time!

Her attention is on Amy above even sushi.

"Amy?" She lets her use of Amy's given name hang. Even for a society as passionate as her own, there's a certain level of meaning in omitting the 'Frau'.

"Has anyone ever told you that you are so beautiful as to take a fool's breath straight from their lungs? Your voice und visage are twin delights! Rarely do I lament mein lightless eyes, und in this one case, well. Perhaps I should touch again just to reaffirm mein own vernunft! Should the good Frau deign mein fingers worthy of twice an indulgence!"

Grin. She grins, openly, teasing Amy with...not so much shamelessness, as pure disdain for the concept! This girl is beautiful, she wants to 'see' her again, and so teases her properly about her good looks. Such is the way of a Steiner, and a most passionate one at that!

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amy opens her eyes and looks up at Hannah. Is she... crying? She opens her mouth to ask, but is the directed to a seat.

> Pray, give mein beautiful friend all that she desires!
    Amy's face hits up and she hunches a little more in her seat. She's not anyone special! She doesn't deserve this! When orders are made, "Uh um, just some different types of tuna and salmon is fine... maybe I'll try eel..."

    Hannah addresses her. She straightens up a bit and looks up at the girl across the table from her curiously.

    And then she's deluged with more compliments she doesn't deserve. An appearance she only has because of magic and luck, even if Hannah doesn't 'see' her normally, her shape, her presence, her voice, the whole sitation is based on a deceltption. She looks away, hunching up a bit more in her seat as her throat tightens and her eyes start to water.

    "I..." she takes a breath, and swallows, trying to stop the tightness in her throat. "I don't deserve this..." she chokes out. She puts her hands on the table and tries to look Hannah in the eyes and can't, her gaze falling to the table. "You... you need to find someone real..." a little sob escapes at the end of that sentence and her eyes water more, a tear running down her cheek as she continues speaking. "I don't... look, it's complicated and magic and you wouldn't believe me, but..." she has to take a couple of breaths and fight the tightness in her throat, trying to calm down enough to speak, and eventually buries her head in her arms as tears start flowing. "I don't deserve this. *sniff* Amy isn't real. I'm just..." she swallows and lifts her head again, "...in this body, and... I don't deserve this. I don't deserve any of this and I'm sorry!"

    For whatever reason, panic doesn't drive her to run, so she just sits there a mess, tears flowing, sniffling, breathing, trying to clear her throat, not knowing what to do.

Hannah Steiner has posed:
Hannah's mouth opens, then closes, as suddenly Amy is pouring out her soul in a way that the charming young Steiner hasn't exactly planned for! Embarrassment, shyness, not liking fish? She's planned out a few social parries to get the obviously cute and lacking-in-self-esteem girl to find some love in herself. But this level of disbelief, not only personally but...deception? Her very own being!? Not deserving to be here with her in this place?

Hannah Emilia-Lina Araki-Steiner the Fourteenth finds herself in an utterly unprecedented situation. She makes a sound of pure confusion, her brain furiously trying to make sense of the words the poor, lovely girl she's so enamored with is trying to convey to her.

Sushi is delivered, and Hannah only vaguely registers the fact. A second later, a chopstick stabs first through fish, then through plate before she lifts said poor uncooked salmon into her maw just for some extra thinking time.

Sankt Kaiser help her!!!

Chomp chomp gulp.

She finally feels somewhat able to confront this most difficult situation. Kind of. Since when has she been so lost?

And so the Countess-Palatine just speaks her mind, lacking anything else, without a hint of subtlety.

"Und how exactly do you know the limits of mein beliefs!? By Sankt Olivie! Upon Her very lost bones mein Engel!!! I may well be sightless, however you wound mein pride by saying I do not know what is real! The girl before me is warm, beautiful, und writ upon mein herz! I have known your face, danced with you in mein arms, und felt your breath upon me!"

Her voice raises quickly, she sound absolutely angry at the /concept/ of Amy being anything less than herself. She suddenly loses words again. Twice. A Steiner unable to speak from sheer absurdity!

"Nein! You are YOU! Should even the Sankt Herself draw a Blade before me in denial of your existence mein Faustian Engel, I should return the fact even should it cost me mein very life! Let any who deny your whole being as 'undeserving', for..." Teeth grit. Blauer Greif tries to warn her.

"For such an insult upon one so close to me shall be an insult upon the House of Steiner! Und I shall challenge such a wretch personally! Let none dare claim you not worthy!" Growls Hannah, deep in Space German. Luckily for how the entire restaurant is staring at them as the young woman so fiercely growls, no one has quite latched onto the /meanings/ of those words!

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amandra sits there struggling to try and get herself back under control. She jumps a little when Hannah *stabs through her plate*.

> The girl before me is warm, beautiful
    Tears run down Amy's face, which she covers with her hands as a sob slips out, *twice*, before she can control her self.

> Should even <indecipherable German> deny your existence--

> Let any who deny your whole being as 'undeserving'--

    Amy starts fumbling through her bag for a tissue before just grabbing a napkin to blow her nose.

    Amanda takes breaths, and swallows, and tries to get her voice back as her tear-streaked face looks up at the Angry Space German.

    "...You..." Breathe, swallow. "You were nice to me. That day at the dance..." she clears her throat. Grabs another napkin to blow her nose and dab at her eyes. Blows her nose again. Swallows. Twice. "You..." deep breath. "You made me feel... I didn't know it was possible to feel like that. In thirty-six years I've never known a hug could feel so good..." Breathe. "I got greedy. Selfish. I wanted to feel... I wanted to be around you again. Feel how you made me feel again." She breathes and swallows. "You... you made me feel wonderful and I don't know if it's love or a crush or what..." she clears her throat. "You were so nice. You're wonderful. And pretty but I don't care about that, not that I deserve it anyway. I... I... I can't have a relationship in this situation. I... I just wanted...."

    Amy sniffles and looks away. Slow breath. "I never felt like that before and I got greedy. I was thinking only of myself, not what I'm taking from you. Your chance to... your chance to find a real girl your own age you can have a future with. You'll... you're gonna make her very happy..."

    And then whatever else she was going to say breaks down into sobs as her face scrunches up and tears steam down her face.

Hannah Steiner has posed:
Hannah very, very slowly manages to stand up from her booth seat. Not because mobility is ever a real factor for her, but because the young woman is again facing a situation unprecedented in her life. It's not anger, specifically. She has raged many a time, and has had her wroth hammered into a mat by her parents, their Mistresses, or other trusted Confidants for various reasons as she's grown into herself.

This is a new type of rage. One born of confusion. Of being lost. The numbers quail at her head, as does Amy's pure regret at daring to try to feel something for her!? And then she's just using a flapping napkin. A /napkin/! It's the least consequential thing in poor Amy's suffering, but the ruler of a whole planet latches onto that single point just to focus her own roiling feelings. A second chopstick hammers straight into the stack of napkins.

Lyra helpfully hiss-growf's at people nearby. The pair have a sudden clear area of the restaurant, between an Angry Space German and an Arritated Space Lizard-Dog.

Suddenly there's warmth at Amy's side, and arms wrap about, pulling her close as Hannah tries to nestle her head against Amy's hair. Just bodily offering her presence where no amount of infuriated words can suffice. A lean. Her bowler falls to the ground, her glasses hang nigh to falling off and breaking, and Hannah Steiner does not give a care. She tries to smother out those tearful words with her very being.

"Und just how real is this, Amy? You, in mein arms, right now? Forget the future, und most importantly, the past. Thinking of yourself indeed! I have half a mind to challenge you to a duel of Honor for /daring/ to tell me whom I can and cannot be happy with! Pray to the Sankt that I find meinself merciful!" She sounds very, very irritated at the unintended insult, but calms swiftly. Her voice grows softer.

Squeeze. She holds Amy tighter, loosens, but doesn't let the girl go.

"You have a story, clearly, und I shall have all of it. But I hold a beautiful girl in mein arms. 'Real'? What is 'real' other than the warmth of one another in each other's presence?" Pause. She pulls out a handkerchief from her pocket, and starts to dry Amy's tears even as she rocks the young woman in her arms.

"You are too sweet to be so sorrowful, no matter what the romantics und poets should writ. Shhh. Get it out. I shall listen, und forget, that you may be joyful mein dear Engel." Comes Hannah quietly and warmly in a personal bid to the downtrodden Amy!

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amy sniffles as she's hugged, but... The pain of knowing she can't have this is too much, so she'll take a moment's comfort. The squeeze gets a sob out of her. She might never get to feel that again. She presses into it. Tries to savor it and burn this feeling into her memory. Eventually she looks up at Hannah with watery eyes. And lets out a strained fraction of a chuckle, almost smiling as she adjust's Hannah's glasses back into place. "A-alright. I guess if you end up thinking I'm crazy, then... at least you'll find someone better. Just... I need a moment... Let me *sob* have this..." It might be the last time, after all. She blows her nose on the handkerchief, and dabs her eyes, and tries to let herself be soothed by being held protectively and rocked like this.

    Eventually she takes a deep breath. "Alright." She slides out of the hug and sits back down, patting the seat next to her for Hannah to sit with, as she starts explaining...

Amanda Faust has posed:
    ...As she tries to sort out her thoughts and find the words, Amy remembers they're in, y'know, a restaurant. "Um... Actually... can we get our food packed up to go and maybe talk somewhere more private?" She looks out the window. "...Actually I know someplace near here we won't be disturbed."

    It's a short walk, a couple of blocks. "I guess this might help prove I'm not crazy... but you'll sound crazy to anyone else if you tell them... It's better if you know it's true, though. Then... You can keep me honest. Make sure I don't do this to anyone else..."

    It's an apartment building. The small redhead walks up to the mailboxes with casual familiarity, pulls a keychain from her bag and unlocks one. "Junk mail, junk mail, bill, bill, credit card offer... Nothing important." She closes it and walks up a couple flights of stairs, to a door with a namecard next to it reading FAUST MALLORY, and unlocks it.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Ashley flicks the lightswitch to reveal a small open-plan apartment. The main living area has a bed, a flatscreen TV (of the sort that might've cost 10-25KY or so several years ago) and a table and chair. There's also stuff like a dresser and an empty bookshelf. A desk where a computer WAS, that still has a printer-scanner on it. Then there's a counter separating it from the meal preparation area with fridge, an electric or gas stove, microwave, etc, and there's a closet and bathroom.

    It is at the same time cluttered but empty. Papers and bills and some clipped or rolled-up open bags of snacks are scattered on the desk, a man's clothes -- sneakers, a couple of T-shirts, a pair of cargo pants, sweatpants, and athletics shorts -- are scattered around the bed. The empty boxes that a game console and smartphone and their accessories came in are tucked in a corner gathering dust. However... It's also devoid of that personal touch. There are no posters. There isn't some collection of figurines on display, although a lone gunpla - an MSA-003 Nemo painted in AEUG colors - gathers dust on the bookshelf. (Its empty box is in that corner, too.)

    It's lived in, messily, but not... *personalized*. There's no sign of any passion that's left a mark here.

    Ashley sets the restaurant doggie bag down on the table and walks to the fridge. "Can I get you a soda or anything? There was a sale on Dr. Pepper right before this all started, and I can't fit it all in Mio's tiny fridge." She grabs a reused PET bottle of water from the fridge and gulps half of it down before refilling it at the sink and putting it back. She's really thirsty after all that crying and talking earlier. "Oh uh, I guess if you wanna take a frozen personal pizza or anything home too, you're welcome to it. It's just gonna sit here until... whatever happens when you don't pay rent, I guess." She walks over to sit on the bed.

Hannah Steiner has posed:
Hannah Steiner grows increasingly concerned for her friend the more she listens, her brow knitting just a bit as she pays and they head off towards the apartment! Notably, /not/ to a dorm as she would suspect. Lyra sniffs around as Ashley lets them in, and at the offering hanging in the air? She finally smiles again.

"Certainly mein engel. I...hm. A soda will be fine." She mutters, tapping over to the table and leaning on it a bit. Her fingers gently run their way over the surface to make sure she's not pushing anything off, then grips the side and crosses one leg over the other while her cane rests under her armpit.

"So. You entreat to a truth that would have us both labeled mad. An apartment going unpaid for with food und drinks looted more than touched, meaning this was not long ago occupied. What happened? Were you..." Her teeth grit.

"Abandoned, Amy? Such a thing is a cruelty and a failure of your caretaker, not of /you/, regardless of the reasons!" Comes Hannah, coming to an entirely wrong conclusion!

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Oh right this is in Japan where such things are easier to get. A Real Personal Trooper-007 Gespenst Mk II stands proudly gathering dust next to the Nemo.

    Amy grabs a soda when she grabs the water, bringing it back to Hannah on her way back to the bed.

    Only then does she think to question whether showing the apartment has any effect. It's not like Hannah can see it!

    Amanda mishears, and winces as her character is impugned. "Well... I live in the dorm now, so like... why pay bills for a separate living space? Especially when I don't have a source of income anymore. No paychecks have come since the day this all started." That's one of the papers on the desk, actually, the last paycheck from Radiant Heart Academy's accounting department for Mallory Faust, dated 2023-07-14. And with it, the invitation for Amanda Faust to Radiant Heart Academy.

    "Oh... I guess I should start at the beginning. [Atashi wa-- ano... *Ore* wa] Mallory Faust, 36. I came to Japan several years ago, I'd always wanted to see it, and they're always looking for foreigners to teach English, right? So I taught English to middle-schoolers at Radiant Heart Academy for a couple of years, but I wasn't... I wasn't a great teacher. I transferred to the IT department and I've been there since. Well, until a couple of weeks ago."

    Amy looks at Hannah's face for a reaction, as she tries to decide whether to go all-in and mention being a magical girl or not.

Hannah Steiner has posed:
Hannah's brows knit tighter and tighter as slowly, very slowly, she passes that information through her braincase. Then silently gets Blauer Greif to confirm she's not mishearing what she just heard. Amy was Mallory, a teacher. And now...is Amy. The ability to de-age someone is beyond even her home world's technology, aside from a bit of life-extending procedures. She often laments the technology on Earth, and has no doubt it doesn't possess some hidden ability to work such a miracle.

"...by the Sankt, you were not lying. I hear your words mein freund, but even I struggle to take them to heart. Und yet, I hear the ring of pain that only a horrid truth can bring in your voice. Mein heart believes you, but mein head reels!" Admits the young woman openly, clearly split between logic and what her gut is telling her.

There's only one way such a thing could happen. She grips Blauer Greif. "You are this far. May as well tell me the rest before mein head melts from the incongruity, engel." A little smile, more of a smirk as she lightly prods and pokes verbally to cut down some of the tention!

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amy smiles a little as Hannah keeps up the flowery speech even now. There's something kind of charming about seeing her maintain the chuuni even in the face of this.

    "So, uh, on Friday a couple of weeks ago -- the 14th -- I'm walking down the street and suddenly these giant feathers are bursting through the storefront windows, knocking people out and draining their color. I duck for cover, and there's a goddamn magical girl fight happening. Like, in reality! I'm not crazy! This lady with the feathers, and some kinda giant purse monster, is fighting a bunch of magical girls inside the clothing store. Sailor V is there, too! Or... maybe it was a magical girl cosplaying as her. I guess it must be, it seems like people mostly can't remember magic, so -- ack, getting ahead of myself."

    Amy shakes her head and continues. "Anyway... I was watching, because oh my gods, *magic* stuff is happening, in real life, but the fight wasn't going well for the magical girls. And this weird little talking animal walks up to me," she holds her hands apart to indicate size, and then feels silly because Hannah can't see, "and says I can help them, if I become a magical girl too. Or, I can see if they win, and hope to survive, and I'll probably forget all this. A-apparently that's what happens to most people. I kind of wonder what happens when I tell this second-hand, come to think of it, maybe you'll forg-- Oh my gosh I've (she switches back to atashi here) been rude, I have *two* guests!"

    She stands up and hurries to the kitchen to fill a bowl with water and then set it down in front of Lyra before sitting back down.

    "So um... where was I... right, so I (ore)'m offered the chance to become a magical girl. And I mean..." She sighs. "What would *you* do? It turns out -- if you found out magic was real, and you could become a hero that helps people? I've..."

    She looks down at the carpet. "I've just sorta been... Other people have big dreams and know what they want to do, but... I always just... Nothing in life that I'd get to do was ever really interesting, you know? Like, I work, but that's just so I can pay bills and continue to see what new games come out and play them, and read manga and webcomics and stories and watch anime and stuff. I'm heh, kind of a loser, huh?" ^_^;

    She rubs the back of her head. "Thirty-six and never had a girlfriend... probably never gonna have one. It's not that I don't care about things... like, I look at... When, when I was young, and first started getting exposed to news of the world, I was horrified. You hear news stories of people starving halfway across the globe, or being oppressed, and... and it's *wrong*, and you wanna do something about it, but you're just a kid, and, and the adults aren't able to fix it either, and... and you hear it again and again and again and you can do nothing...!" She clenches her little fists, frustration creeping into her voice. She sighs. "...But that's life. I'm not... I just... I'm not some man of power and influence. I can't... fix these problems. S-so I... Well. So I grew up into someone who's alone at 36, not doing anything with my life." She looks solemnly down at the carpet for a beat.

    And then her face brightens as she turns to Hananh again, fists clenched in front of her chest. "And then it turns out magic is real! And not only that, but I can... I can become an ally of justice, a hero, and save people?! Help them? Of course I'd do it!"

    She goes back to staring ahead as she exposits, "...The fight wasn't going well. The other three girls -- by the time the little white creature had explained it, three of the magical girls were trapped in the purse monster, and the villain had Sailor V -- or whoever she was -- up against the wall. What am I gonna do, *not* help?"

    Amanda takes a breath, then reaches down the front of her yukata to pull out the necklace with her soul gem on it, and transforms. ...And then realizes that might not mean anything when Hannah can't see it.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Oh well. "...I guess you can't see the costume, but I transformed now. Here, my magic weapon's a rocket launcher." She manifests it in its default, AT-4 like appearance and hands it over so Hannah can feel a thing she couldn't have casually grabbed during the conversation. Amy moves like it weighs a few pounds at most, but to anyone else it weighs like twenty.

    "I uh. I was *aiming* for the villain but I missed, blew a hole in the purse monster, and the other magical girls escaped and we won the day after that." She's switched back to atashi now. "Everybody uh... kinda scattered when we heard sirens. And when I came home and detransformed..." She changes back, and the rocket launcher vanishes into sparkles, "...I was still this girl. The next day I got an invite to Radiant Heart Academy -- under a girl's name, one no one could possibly have known -- and... well, since then... I dunno what's happening, exactly. I'm (ore) not listed in the employee directory, and my coworkers don't seem to remember a Mallory Faust. My logins to the school systems still work (ed: actually they don't, at present! But she hasn't tried again since someone got around to deactivating the mysterious account), but..."

    She looks around the apartment. "...So yeah. I've been going to school as a teenage girl for the past couple of weeks. Well, last week summer break started, but you know what I mean. Making friends and..." She sighs. "Living this lie, but what else can I do? I guess being a magical girl means... this, and..." she smiles awkwardly, "Hey, on the upside, if I don't die in a monster battle I guess I get a couple extra decades of life and youth! So that's pretty good. But..."

    She sighs, as she turns to Hannah again. "...You see? You've been... like... you thought I was this cute little girl, but on the inside, I'm..." She winces and looks away. "...Yeah. It's... it's not fair for me to deceive your heart. But I... I really appreciate the dance. I'll never forget it as long as I live." Tears start to come to her eyes again.

Hannah Steiner has posed:
Even for a socially-spec'd Belkan of all people? Well. Amy's story is A Lot to take in all at once. Thankfully, as ever, Hannah has the advantage of being able to cheat. Offloading some of the more stressful parts of Amy's explaination to Blauer Greif for a quick wash-n-reload in something digestable?

Oh yeah, it fails utterly. Even Space German Magic-SuperScience can't make this bomb any more seem less like utter madness. In her world? Magic is a science. Belkans might be the more martial and religious end of things, but the reason House Steiner is around today is because at the end of the day, they love people and money. Mid-Childans happen to be great people for the most part, no matter how much clashing cultures create a lovely friction.

Earthlings it seem have a similar, if far, far too /backwards/ 'country' charm to them Hannah's finding. And so the nobless stands up straight, one heel to the other and leans on her cane with the indulgent smile of one that thinks she's superior to basically everyone on this planet but loves them all the same.

Which in her mind is true, that chuubi energy perhaps more real that she would like to admit despite having the title and training to back some of it up.

Lyra hiss-barks warmly, and is sucking down the water! Oh and big Totally A Normal Dog bumps Amy's leg briefly for a pet or three before settling down. Slurp. Pant pant pant. Staaaaare. Just so much staring /right/ at Amy.

Amy tells a story of an average, wonderful person that nevertheless is one of mediocrity. Hannah can't relate, of course. Born to wealth, power, and a whole several tech-bases above it all in a society of competition and martial pride? She feels so apart from the story of a person just getting by and then finding something new, a ticket out, a ticket to being who they want to be on the inside. Magic is science to her. Another cog in the machine of industry and governmental power. A thing to be wielded by tradition and to help keep a steady hand to ensure an entire world is safe and prosperous.

But to Amy it's all amazing. Life shattering. For once Hannah actually openly struggles on how to respond. She finally ends up rubbing one of her temples to calm down the headache as she processes it all.

"Oh Sankt grant me strength! Frau Amy." She emphasises the /Frau/ to make sure it's extremely obvious from the start what she thinks of 'living a lie' even as she flounders for words.

"I am afraid I find ich selbst to be at a...loss. Mmm. You know normally I have an opinion for just about anything! As deserving of mein...acht, well, that is neither close nor far! Mmm. How shall I put this?" Amy has just shared her whole strange life and circumstance. It /burns/ that she knows giving her own in turn will just draw Amy in to her own problems. Amy has a whole pile of them, mostly on the personal if she's any judge. Adding to that would be a crime. The people who know her deal are those either already in the magical game and too sharp to /not/ poke her existence full of holes. Or in the case of one Koji Silvia, has a Device known to her own.

"Not everyone /has/ a choice, mein freund. Some are born to circumstances where such things are expected, und have the training to not be driven mad by it." Comes Hannah with a shrug, utterly ignoring Amy's mention of whether she'll remember this or not. It's telling, perhaps, that 'magic is real' doesn't even seem to warrant a reaction from the young woman. Indeed, Amy's fight with the concept of gender seems to draw her concern more than evil purse-monsters. Which to be fair, is /new/ to her coming here. But not so unbelievable after a fight or two. She has reluctantly agreed to a truce with so much oddness. It must be an Earth thing. Ya'll are weird and not Belkan enough anyway, so why not?

Then she shrugs. "I do have a few thoughts, however. First, the fact that your magical ticket to power has granted you this form...one taken up by chance from an unknown animal-thing in the midst of a fight" She pauses, again just to emphasize

Hannah Steiner has posed:
Then she shrugs. "I do have a few thoughts, however. First, the fact that your magical ticket to power has granted you this form...one taken up by chance from an unknown animal-thing in the midst of a fight" She pauses, again just to emphasize the fact that Amy has taken up a deal with a weird animal just out of the blue in stressful circumstances. And then proceeds to prove she is the teapot calling a kettle black.

"While I can understand the need for battlefield decision making, that was a bit reckless, no? Always read over terms before agreeing to /anything/! It is the fine print that ruins many a megaconglomorate! Acht, but at least it sounds on the side of good." Hannah is so very right and yet so very, very, very wrong.

"Point being, you are a girl. I can hear your sweet head trying to contradict me. Stop. You are wrong. Whatever you were previously? Well, you are a girl now. A sweet one with an engel's own voice, und very, very comfortable in mein arms! Acht, am I truly so boreish Amy that you shall toss me aside? Wounded! You WOUND me mein Faustian Engel!" Oh yeah there's the drama. She leans back, hand to her chest as if she's been shot.

Grin. It's warm, teasing, and then it softens. "You have an opportunity, mein lovely. Embrace who you are. Is it truly so strange that perhaps this pure desire to help ended up seeing the truth in your heart? Something longed for? A way to help. A way to be who you have always wanted, have always been inside?" Offers Hannah thoughtfully. Gender on Tharkad is a fluid thing, technology being what it is and their open morales. The de-ageing is a bit of a shock, but gender is easily understood. Casual, even.

"But it is your choice. You are who you are. If you are not a girl, then you are not. If you are? Well. I accept you. Wholly." Her voice is light and whispered here, and she wanders over with some tapping to offer her shoulder to cry on.

All while feeling that rocket launcher. Really feeling it. Running her hands over it...and then she hefts it. Now, most people would not know what to do with a weapon like that. After some groping of the thing, she hefts it as if she's held something similar. A girl who is blind is casually hefting a magical rocket launcher. With, Amy might notice, actual trigger discipline.

This does not at all add up. Nor does how she scowls at the thing, offering it over.

Her face looks like she's been insulted. The discrete visual scan from Blauer Greif only has Hannah having to swallow in pure /irritation/ at being handed such a low tech piece of weaponry.

"Perhaps, when you are more....at home within your body. We should have a discussion." She taps a knuckle on the boom tube, brow twitching at being handed such a prole-like device, and offers it back.

She'll have to go over a few TSAB accords and treaties, but she's pretty sure she can come up with suggested improvements that doesn't end up with her being nailed to the wall by her allies. The words 'SRM-10' pop up into her mind.

Amanda Faust has posed:
> doge
    Amy pets Lyra a bit, but stops as she gets absorbed in telling her story.

> Frau Amy.
    Amanda flinches at the tone, but the start of a smile creeps onto her face anyway.

> Normally I have an opinion for just about anything!
    "Oh right..." Amy looks away awkwardly. "I guess most people don't think about this stuff much... I'm just weird..."

> that was a bit reckless, no? Always read over terms before agreeing to /anything/!
    Amy bristles as the suggestion that this was a bad decision rubs something deep inside her the wrong way. She clenches her fists. "I-I knew it was risky! But for the chance... for one chance at... at a life that *means* something... It doesn't matter what the consequences were! Dying in battle was already on the table, it's not like I thought this was all... all... all happiness and... and sunshine and rainbows!"

> Point being, you are a girl.
    There's this little positive twinge inside her. Like when fate makes some error in your favor, and you get something good you weren't supposed to, but it's not hurting anyone. But she also starts to look away and hunch again. As the compliments come again, the two conflicting feelings intensify...

> Am I truly so borish that you shall toss me aside?
    She looks up at Hannah almost in horror and leans over to hug her, shaking her head. "No! Never! I... I... I just... you're too good for me..." she sniffles.

> Embrace who you are.
    Yeah, it's great that she gets to be a hero! But she has the sense that Hannah's trying to say something she's not picking up.

> You are who you are. If you are not a girl,
    Amy *stiffens* and shudders a little. It's true, but hearing it from Hannah's mouth rubs some raw nerve. It's been... nice, these past couple of weeks. Being treated like one of the girls always made him feel special, showing that people recognize he's not like from his boorish, sex-obsessed, women-objectifying peers. And this, this... this magical, one-of-a-kind experience of getting to *be* one of the girls and even go on a clothes shopping trip, which she never understood the appeal of before but oh wow seeing yourself in pretty clothes *as a girl* is amazing and she totally gets why women are into it now -- secret knowledge, a rare treasure no other guy will ever know and understand -- Well.

    Mallory knows he's weird. But this aspect is just open-mindedness and scientific curiousity. Any open-minded guy would want to know what being a girl is like. They're half the human race! Understanding other people is important! And of course, the simple scientific curiousity of what's different... And how that's different too! It's not perverted, she swears! ...Okay, well, maybe she has to face that it is, after how she spent most of Tuesday -- or wait, maybe that was Monday, it was wasn't it, god she really lost sense of time this week -- far more time than was strictly scientifically necessary. She should be ashamed.

> If you are?
    Huh? She's a guy... He's a guy, and nothing can ever change that. It's not like he's one of those poor unfortunate trans people who know they should be women. That must really suck, surgery can only change so much. Actually if anything isn't he in the reverse situation? This is what being a trans guy would actually be like, huh. It's a good thing gender isn't a huge part of who he is. This would really suck if like, he was macho or had hobbies requiring a big strong body.

Amanda Faust has posed:
> I accept you. Wholly.
    Amy stares down at the floor, thinking. "This... I... I don't want to rock the boat and make things more complicated by demanding I be treated like a guy, you know? I look like this, and I'm in school records somehow, and it's not like I was a macho guy anyway, I'm all into geeky stuff. It's..." She straightens up and smiles at Hannah. "It's actually kinda nice, I mean, in a way I'm lucky, getting this rare experience to see how the other half lives. How many guys get that?"

    Then she looks away. "It's just that... y'know... obviously this makes things awkward. If people *knew*, they'd make a fuss about... like where would I even go? You can't put me in the girls' dorm *or* the guy's dorm." She turns back to face Hannah and clasps her hand between her own. "I *promise* I'm being a perfect gentleman. I'm not perving on anyone! I-I keep my back turned and stare at the locker when we change for PE, a-and I keep my eyes on the floor in the dorm showers until I get to the stall. I wouldn't... I won't... I could never objectify anyone!"

Hannah Steiner has posed:
Hannah lets out a very, very big sigh. This is over even her very large industrialk-shaped paygrade. This is a job for...and it pains her that she thinks of it...a Mid-Childan. The little ranged-mongers are good at things like this. Sure, she's great at negotiating contracts, being loud and proud and stompy socially. But this requires a subtle touch. There is just /so/ much going on that she has either no experience of, or is clearly so insanely personal and throbbing raw like a recently opened wound? Well Hannah likes this girl, and so being faced with the gordian knot of Amy's feelings?

She takes the opportunity to hug the girl tightly, warmly, and leeeeeans into her compatriot with warmth and love. There's no revulsion at Amy having been a guy, and now...well, clearly her jury's out, but Hannah has a pretty good inkling of where the truth may lay.

This is the person she danced with, posessing an angel's voice and full of that glorious contradictions that is both attractive and more than a little worrying.

She doesn't want to break a very vulnerable girl. And so she switches tacts. No amount of affirmations will let Amy be at ease with herself, in Hannah's mind, coming from a stranger however pleasing. Time to dole out some actual advice. Unasked for, of course, because she's a Steiner. Her opinion is always important!

"First! The only person whom shall tell me whether someone is good for me or not, is me, und Lyra! None other!" Comes Hannah, snarling a bit at the implications in turn openly! Luckily she's not /that/ angry, and refrains from any dueling.

That'll be later, you're on a List now Amy.

"Second, while I am happy and do not think you are a fool, I merely must caution in exchanges und business deals. I have a...background in such things mein freund! At the very least go back and get your freund to list off terms und conditions. I do not wish you to catch a hund with fleas, is all I am saying!" Emphasizes Hannah. Magic being offered freely is strange to her. You're either born with it, or not. That's how it works back home.

This feels like there's potential for a sour deal.

"Oh dear Amy, deep breaths, please! By the Sankt Kaiser you are going to give /me/ an anxiety attack if you keep on worrying like that! Your respect is noted, appreciated, und yet may I also give you food for thought. How do you think...acht, what is the word. Soph...Sack...It is on the tip of mein tongue!" She's still getting used to Earth languages and stories, give her a second!

"Ah, yes, the 'sapphic' amongst ladies deal with such problems, hmmmm? Well. The ones with working eyes anyway! Quite the conundrum amongst this very, painfully, reserved und backwards little..." She almost says planet, then catches herself.

"/Country/ such as Japan? I swear, flash of an ankle is like to put half of the people here with their faces into the ground in sheer embarrassment! Und you are not even Japanese! With a last name as 'Faust' you aught be more...more proper und open!" Oh yeah, Hannah has some frustrations with the locals, and Amy's just as bad.

"Und so for the record, deal with it! I for one enjoy being looked at. You have the blessings to be able to, und so long as the one you admire is willing? Enjoy yourself! Life is too short und brutal und misery comes without restraint! Have none und make memories that have this life be worth it!" Rants Hannah, going entirely off course before slowly circling back around.

She grunts, and shakes her head. "Where was I? Right. Mein engel, have you met with frau Kyouka Inai, the guidance counselor? Because bluntly mein darling, while she is very much common clay of the earth, that sort of advice might well benefit you. Und frankly I have not the ken upon your manners to help walk you through your beating, confused little heart in that manner. She is rough but wise und subtle in her way. Talk to her. Please. She can help." Encourages Hannah, belatedly realizing that Amy may well benefit from the /other/ help Kyouka can offer.

"As for the rest? I a

Hannah Steiner has posed:
"As for the rest? I am sending you a calendar invite, Amy." Declares Hannah, pulls out her phone, and puts an earbud into her left ear. A bit of tapping?

There's an invite. It says 'Date Night With Hannah'.

"I am quite fond of Amy Faust. I wish to date her again. Girl, guy, non-binary? That is for you to decide. However I am going to date you like a girl such that you can have the experience. Und if it feels right, my taking you out as a girl? Well. Perhaps that is your heart telling you something. No, you do not have a choice in this matter. I insist! Hm. Something with music. Acht, what is the word? Kar-eoh-kee? Yes, that will do! You will think less und feel more if you are singing your heart out in desperate attempt to defeat me in rhythm und flow!"

She's a Belkan. The Gordian Knot of gender is being faced head on, with a sword hammering down on it. Only the sword is a date. Grin. She just gives Amy that teasing, thousand-watt /grin/ that's invitation and challenge all at once!

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amy knows so little about the world. If magic is real, what *else* doesn't she know? But hugs are wonderful, and Hannah's hugs /especially/ so. This she /does/ know.

    Hannah is insistent, despite knowing everything, and Amy doesn't understand why, but she's tired of fighting it. It is kind of nice that someone feels this way for her.

> You already signed it, but go read the terms and conditions!
    "I... talked to him about it. It's really not so much a literal contract as just, the way the magic works."

> It's okay, every lesbian has to deal with that! Japan is just repressed!
    "I-I, I'm not... I'm (ore) a guy, so... that's... different... I guess... Nobody ever seems worried about lesbians and gay guys in such places, come to think of it... I-I... I can't be completely open, about all this, obviously, but... i-it's a lie, this body, so... I mean... ...I don't know."

> Have you considered meeting with the guidance counselor?
    Amy is surprised at the suggestion. "My kouhai?? But... I... magic? Magical girls? I turned into a girl? It sounds craz... okay, I guess I explained to you. B-but what if... they take me out of school? Put me all alone? O-or, what if they can't remember the magic stuff? What if, what if they think I'm a pervert? There's so much that could go wrong telling anyone this..." She clings to Hannah, trying to calm herself down.

> Date Night With Hannah. I wish to date her again. ... I am going to date you like a girl such that you can have the experience. No, you do not have a choice in this matter. I insist!

    Wh-wh-wh-wh-what?? Amy gets that same sort of flustered she often has before at this sort of thing. The same sort of thoughts that the reader is familiar with from this scene.

    "Karaoke?!" Amy brightens up. "And I get to sing sounding like this?! Hell yes!" She grins excitedly.

Hannah Steiner has posed:
Hannah audibly sighs in relief as Amy states she's actually broached the subject. "...Sankt be praised! Good, good! As long as you know what you are getting into!" Comes Hannah warmly. With that, she lets out a shake of her head!

"'You do not know' may as well be a by-word, coming from you mein engel! Of course you do not! Find out! Experience! ....Also I find context is very important. Public baths, for instance? Regardless of one's attraction, well, the purpose is more salient than the lack of coverings shall we say! A matter of comfort. More a matter of being comfortable in your own skin, und all!" Comes Hannah thoughtfully. This /is/ something she's given some thought to after all. Most Tharkadians are very comfortable wtih themselves, and if not? Are actively working on the problem through societal pressures and medical technology.

Hannah is clearly putting Amy in the 'working on herself' slot.

The young woman openly laughs at the suggestion of Amy being kicked out. "You underestimate the good frau's talents! Remember that you were delivered an invitation to the Academy, yes? I do not think they would so cavalierly punt you on the rump when they seem to know more about you than you currently do." Comes Hannah pointedly, bluntly giving her that logical connection. Right to the skull, as a Steiner does.

Smiiiiiile! "I expect to be charmed und be given a challenge worthy of mein name, amy Fuast. Mein engel? I entreat you to /feel/ rather than think. Your situation is one born out of magic. Magic has a...logic shape to it, to some. Yet in this case? I believe it is where logic goes to happily die! So calm down, enjoy the ride, don't die, und let's have fun, hm?" Hannah is suddenly, very, very close. She leans down, gently pats Amy's cheek, and then she presses a soft kiss to the other girl's forehead.

Not wanting to make Amy implode, she does the second best thing, and goes for the forehead. She does, after all, want to make Amy quail in her presence most queerly.

And then catching Blauer Greif in her arm, tapping away and Lyra pushing her lead into Hannah's hand? She grins over her shoulder.

"Now then, as you are yet to be evicted? I am tired, mein head hurts, und I am going to bed! I am stealing the one here. Goodnight, Amy. Stay or go, it is your decision." Taunts Hannah, and then with a yawn? Lyra leads her off to collapse into Amy's former bed.

Dramatically. Like a proper jerk of a Steiner noble!

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amy considers these thoughts. Like, that makes sense. People set policies as if guys and girls can't control themselves if put together, but... *He's* not like that, and yeah no one is concerned about gay guys or lesbians. And there are nudist colonies. In some social contexts people *do* seem to accept that people do not in fact act like perverts at the first opportunity. Like if he's in the hospital he doesn't care if a female medical professional examines him. ...Wait, shit, what does he even do for doctors now?! People will want a medical history, and Amanda Faust didn't exist until... Oh wait. Maybe the school actually *can* help with that. She'll look into it soon.

    Magic has a logic to it. She nods, well aware of things like the law of contagion and the 'logic' by which magic works in stories. But... to try and live by feeling? She's never done that.

    Well. Except when she asked to see Hannah again.

    The thing that she was earlier deriding as... greed and selfishness. But it was... okay?

    And then Hannah is close and that's the first time anyone not related to her has given her such a show of affection. And while she's flustered suddenly Hannah is in her bed. And offered to let her... stay?

    A girl is in her bed. Could it be? Does this mean she's gonna have...

    ...A SLEEPOVER?!

    There is another warm twinge in her chest at that thought!

    "I-I-I already took all the pillows and sheets to my dorm room, but uh, I guess we can kinda improvise with my old clothes... they're mostly washed!" Herself, she turns on a fan for white noise, quickly changes out of the yukata -- they're both girls, err, well, she hasn't got anything Hannah hasn't seen, at least, well Hannah can't see her anyway she's blind! -- and goes and gets one of her old guy shirts in the dresser, since they're the size of sleepshirts now.

    This one is a red shirt with the human transmutation array in white on the front and the flamel symbol on the back in black. *Nerd*.

    And while she first tries to stay near the edge of the bed, not touching Hannahh, she feels a cold wet nose prodding her and then suddenly she's cuddle-sandwiched between the crown princess of Tharkad and a big fluffy lizard-dog.

    It might end up being the best sleep she's ever had.