5338/P:WtWM - Confessions

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P:WtWM - Confessions
Date of Scene: 28 June 2017
Location: Alberichstadt <P:WTWM>
Synopsis: Janine tells her mother about what she's been doing. It goes about as well as you expect.
Cast of Characters: Janine Liberi, 999, August Kohler

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The Liberi household has fully recovered from that attack by the Wildekinder. Windows have been replaced, lawn has been returfed, furniture upgraded. Honestly, it seems like the place grew in property value. The wonders of a good insurance policy.

    But that's not important right now.

    What is important is Janine pacing on the front lawn. Her face, rather than the usual look of aggravated apathy, is incredibly fretful. It's quite literally as plain as the look on her face. For all her bravado on the radio, she's scared to her core about this. But she says nothing on the matter. To those who come, she only nods and beckons inside.

    The inside is still as warm and as lived-in as ever, a real home. There are signs of the younger siblings' play activities, toys scattered around. The smell of baking fills the place, likely something whipped up by Emily. Janine's mother reclines on a couch, reading a magazine. She looks up and smiles.

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    It most certainly is Emily's baking. The butler is working as diligently as ever, this time on a baked chicken with her own personal blend of seasonings. She's chosen the menu and side dishes such that as Janine and August are coming inside, she's just pulled the chicken out of the oven and set it on the counter to rest for a moment; she can quickly blend together the last pieces of the sides and set things out.

    While she's maintaining an incredible poker face, however, the butler is also privately worried. She'll have warned Janine that there's a fairly good chance they won't understand, won't take it well, or both; but doubtless Janine has insisted, and so all Emily Branford can do is support her, as is her job. "Dinner should ready shortly," she calls out from the kitchen.

August Kohler has posed:
This is a situation that August is surprised is occuring, but understands entirely. He couldn't do it himself if he was in Janine's shoes. But as her 'friend', he can provide her the support he needs. Dressed in a buttoned-up shirt and a pair of jeans, he looks way nicer than he usually does, nodding at Janine when he sees her and following her inside.

"Hello, Miss Liberi." August greets as she smiles at them, inclining his head as greeting, before turning to Emily and giving her a similar nod as she calls out. For now, August stands somewhere unless beckoned to sit, reaching into his pocket to check if something's still there. If Janine wants to show proof, she'll need it.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Bella Liberi smiles at August. "Oh, Mister Kohler. Welcome, welcome~ Did Janine invite you to study or something?" She hears Emily call and adds, "You're welcome to eat with us if you're hungry." Janine steps forward, and her grim expression has the jovial woman off-guard. "Mama, we need to talk. Call the kids." The older woman looks taken aback, but calls up the stairs for Felix and Penelope. The younger childen soon arrive, and sit beside their mother.

    Janine herself sits on a couch opposite to theirs, and waves for August to join her. "Emily, you get in here too please," she calls. Bella looks a bit nervous, looking between the two teens. "Is he about to ask me for your hand?" she says, trying to lighten the mood... before wincing, eyes looking to Janine's sling. "No Mama," Janine sighs. She looks at a total loss right now.

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    "Of course," Emily calls out. It's only a moment or two later that she's coming back out of the kitchen, sliding her usual white gloves into place and folding her arms behind her back. And while it would be very easy for her to stand with the rest of the family, to act the part of the unaware, that would be unbecoming of Emily entirely. Her place is beside Janine, supportive. Besides, with what's coming, they'd probably be able to figure it out anyway. 'Bodyguard' /is/ one of her official duties, after all.

August Kohler has posed:
"No, she didn't." August's voice is polite and soft, as if he's trying to gear himself to be as nice as possible. "Maybe some other time." When Janine steps forward, August steps back, and as Emily comes out, he's moving towards her, pulling his hand out of his pocket to show the butler the mirror he brought before repocketing it. August takes the opposite side of Janine, and winces slightly when Bella attempts to lighten the mood (due to how she's doing it).

At the end, though, it looks like Janine's having issues beginning it. He's here to support her, so he speaks. "Janine has something important to say. As her /friend/, I'm here to support her. Please listen to what she says carefully. It's not the easiest thing to say." Wait. That might imply something /else/ is going on. Well, too late.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    As Emily comes out to stand by Janine, Bella is looking downright scared now, and the two siblings seem concerned. Looking to August as he explains, she says, "Janine, what is going on? I'm your mother, you can tell me." Janine gulps, and starts to speak.

    "You've probably noticed I've snuck out a couple of times, you're way to smart not to. Well, I'm not getting into the usual teenaged trouble when I do. I've been... something happened after I came back from school. I tripped into something massive, something dangerous. And now... well. I go inside mirrors to fight weird monsters in a forest made of glass."

    That last part tumbles from her mouth, and silence hangs heavy after it. Bella shakes her head and says, "Oh darling... don't worry, we'll get you off whatever you've been using. Tell me more, and I'll get in touch with an addiction therapist."

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    There's a brief, silent moment after Bella's declaration.

    One white-gloved hand comes up to quietly palm a spectacle-wearing face.

    "Goodness, Janine, you can't just... if you come right out with it you just sound mad." All the grace and tact of a rhino, sometimes. ...most of the time. ...all of the time, really. "I should recommend starting at the beginning."

August Kohler has posed:
Well, that's an expected reaction. August just sighs and shakes his head, keeping the mirror out in his hand so that Janine can take it when she needs it. "Miss Liberi, she's telling the truth. I'm in the same situation. It's how we met, and is the basis of our relationship. The world's bigger than it seems, and that's scary." He takes a pause to move closer to his friend, before taking a moment to think. "You're an anthropologist, so I'm sure you're heard of Carl Jung. What if we said he was right?"

Janine Liberi has posed:
    "The beginning, right," Janine mutters in response to Emily. She's gone bright red and as she composes herself, Bella looks to August. "Jung? The psychologist? Persona, shadows, all that stuff?" She's interrupted by Felix going, "Who's Jung?" But by this point, Janine finally answers.

    "After I came back from the hospital, things were hard. I lost all my friends because they didn't want to be with the 'cripple.' Couldn't do fencing, the pain made studying hard, I was a mess. I got it in my head that if I did this mirror game that was being talked about, it would be proof that I could handle it. But when I did it, I got dragged into another world and had to face my... problems as a manifestation of myself. Then I had to escape a giant wolf. It nearly killed me, but the thing that pulled me in put me back out. After that, I had a Persona. It's this thing I can summon, it lets me shoot wind magic. And now we can go back to that world through mirrors, and fight the forces of this thing called the Black Queen that's dragging people in and replacing them with doppelgangers for some reason."

    The silence now is practically deafening. Bella looks around, narrowing her eyes at Emily. "Are you complicit in all this nonsense? Janine, I'm sorry, but this is all crazy. I need some proof..."

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    Having that stare leveled at her, Emily closes her eyes, lowers her head slightly, and lets out a suitably 'caught' sight. "I must confess that I am, to some extent, milady. But you've a very, /very/ stubborn daughter. It wouldn't matter what I did, she'd keep trying to go out and save the world, so to speak, and eventually she'd succeed in slipping the leash. I /am/ only human. So I determined my energy would be much better spent ensuring that she did so /under my supervision/, rather than out of my sight."

    Her hand dips into her pocket, coming out with a handful of change. "And at the very least, I can promise you that there are few bodyguards in the world more qualified to protect Janine from things that go bump in the night." She holds the handful of change out, allowing Bella to get a good look at it, then casually tosses all the coins up into the air.

    As they're coming down, around eye level, her right arm suddenly blurs into motion. Or perhaps it separates into several arms at once. It's hard for the human eye to follow, but she smoothly reaches out and snatches every single coin, seven or eight in total, in less than the blink of an eye. When she opens her right hand again, now at normal speed, they're stacked neatly. "I promise you, I am absolutely dedicated to ensuring your daughter's safety. But she's inherited your family's passion, milady, so I'm afraid my options for doing that are a bit limited."

August Kohler has posed:
"Yeah, that Jung. All of what you just said is real." August's face is so entirely straight-laced, he must believe it, or be the best liar in the world. He doesn't argue against any of Janine's words, just nodding at certain shared parts. And then, they ask for proof. Emily moves first, August watching her coin trick with that look of 'this is /still/ pretty weird to watch'. Once she's done, though, August holds the mirror up to show to the Liberis. "We use our reflection. Mirrors, usually." With a slow poke, his finger goes into it, and disappears into the glass. The redhead moves the mirror around to show that if it is somehow an optical illusion or a trick, it's a damn spooky one, before putting the rest of his hand in. After a moment, he pulls it out, looking at the mirror briefly. "Via these, we can summon our Personas."

It's as he finishes speaking that something weird starts happening, and August's eyes widen. Blue energy, a familiar kind, begins forming around him, but it's sparking wildly, like harmless flame. It's clearly visible, and clearly not normal or some light trick. Before it finishes, though, August quickly grabs the mirror with both hands and throws it at a wall, biting his lip sharp enough to draw blood.

The energy dies down. August is panting, staring at Janine and Emily. He's practically not even paying attention to the Liberis. "I don't know what the hell just happened, but it's never happened before."

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Bella, Felix and Penelope seem confused as Emily tosses the coins into the air. But as her hand whips out, sending a breeze through the room with how fast it moves it, they all seem stunned. Jaws hang open... but that could have been a trick, some sleight of hand, Bella reasons.

    What she can't reason through is August glowing, burning with blue fire. Felix and Penelope scream when he flings the mirror away, making it smash on the wall. Bella holds them close and looks at the three across from her, eyes slightly narrowed. Janine is throwing August a furious look as her mother says, "So, Janine. You can do that too?"

    The disabled girl nods slowly, pulling her smartphone from her pocket. Looking into her reflection on the black screen, she intones Persona."

    And elsewhere, the Darkness grins.

    The ghoulish creature emerges from Janine's body in a flurry of blue light. It becomes more understandable why she was so nervous about this. Biancabella is a horrid, maimed sight with the bloody head bandages and knotted sleeves to hide her stumps. Felix and Penelope scream and bury their faces in their mother. She wears an expression like Janine has ever seen. Her eyes are hard as stone, her face blank and emotionless. "Devil child," she says softly, before snarling, "Get out. All of you. Don't you dare come back."

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    And there it is. August's powers manifest beyond his intention, and Janine draws forth her Persona outright, and the reaction is... bad. Quietly, Emily pockets her coins. She straightens her cravat. Before Janine can break down, or explode, or anything of the sort, she has her hand on the girl's shoulder, and tries to steer her towards the door. "Come on, then. We should go."

August Kohler has posed:
When Janine glares at August, he just takes a step back, very noticeably freaked out. He doesn't say anything, watching as Janine summons hers as usual. Why isn't she having problems? What's going on with him?

When Bella freaks out, though, August begins moving to the door, dipping his head in apology. "I'm sorry." He leaves last, moving to almost shield Janine from having to look back. Once outside, he exhales, sharply. "I'm...sorry. There's nothing I can say but that. Branford, do you have somewhere to take her? Otherwise, Rondel offered if something happens, and there's always the Shack."

Janine Liberi has posed:
    A lot of noises come from Janine's mouth. 50 sentences that never get a chance to begin as she meets her mother's stony face. Finally, she manages to choke out an "Okay," with a voice like broken glass. She gets up and partially reaches out with her good hand, only for Felix and Penelope to flinch away.

    Her face falls, and she slowly trudges towards the door, not even asking if she can get her things. "It's not your fault," she manages to croak to August. "They're right to do this."

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    As they pass the door, Emily's hand squeezes gently at Janine's shoulder. "No, Janine, they aren't," she replies, voice soft. "But they don't understand. How can they? It's so far outside of their worldview that it's utterly alien to them. It's frightening. It's why most people shouldn't know about the monsters in the dark... but, chin up," she adds. "You just bared your soul to your mother. The fact that she is your mother shan't change, and no mother can turn their back on an earnest daughter forever. She'll realize someday what today cost you."

    She gives August a brief nod. "I've the spare funds to get us a hotel room for a few days, at least. Until we can sort something more permanent out. And Kohler, please don't blame yourself. When your powers behave as they've never done before, how are you supposed to expect it or control it? It's wretched timing, but it's not something you could have prevented except by knowing the future. And I'm fairly certain only /one/ of us has that trick in hand."