7028/Fight For Your Right To Be Edgy

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Fight For Your Right To Be Edgy
Date of Scene: 21 January 2020
Location: Shrine of Adversity
Synopsis: Rean and Riku have a duel for Rean to get the right to find out what's eating at Riku. Will he crack that edgy shell? Find out!
Cast of Characters: 6928, Rean Schwarzer

Riku (6928) has posed:
Welcome back to the stage of history.

    This isn't really Riku's first choice for a place to be. The Watch can't afford the exorbitant packages to deal with all of the typical results of Elite vs. Elite combat, but in situations like this there really is no better choice.

    So it is that Riku is leaning against the wall, brooding in the fine tradition of edgy teenagers found across the Multiverse. He's in his casual clothes, just waiting for his opponent to arrive.

    If nothing else, he's going to put this to bed one way or the other. "At least he has more guts than Seifer does." Riku mutters to himself.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean walks into the arena, sword sheathed and carried in his right hand. This is what, the second duel he's had here in two weeks?

And Riku is...standing against the wall, brooding. Again.  Rean sighs.  "...Hey." Rean says, giving the other teen a small wave. There's not really much for him to say right now, especially since he'd probably just piss him off more.

Well, if talking at him didn't work, there was always using your fists. Figuratively, at least.

Rean draws his sword, settling into his stance. "Whenever you're ready."

Riku (6928) has posed:
    Rean is learning the ways of wisdom in dealing with tempermental edgy teens. If he ever gets a New Game Plus option maybe he'll have a better time of it next time.

    But for now, Riku just pushes off the wall. Black flame rolls over his body, his clothing being replaced with a tight purple battlesuit that Rean might have seen once or twice. His hand flicks, an ominous blade that is mostly formed from a bat's wing and bone manifests with another surge of Dark. "At least you had the courage to show up. I'll give you that much. Let's get this over with."

    A moment later, Riku lunges, attempting to out-speed Rean as he slashes past the meddling swordsman. The Soul Eater rips through the air, trailing a black tracery that shears along the cutting line.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
No, the battlesuit's not familiar. Maybe he'd caught a glimpse of it during that mess in Ketchikan but this would be the first time they've really been in combat near one another. Rean quirks an eyebrow, then shrugs. "Well, I was the one who asked for this...And I try to keep my word."

Rean raises his sword as Riku rushes past him. Steel scrapes bonesword, and Riku's strike hits his shoulder, cutting into his jacket. Rean whirls around, trying to hit Riku with a wide strike to the back before he gets too far away.

Riku (6928) has posed:
    Riku's fast, but Rean is just as fast. The blade carves into his back, the Heartbrand just barely unable to get out of the path of the retaliation strike before he tucks and rolls away. "Gggh. Not bad." He mutters... And he falls right through the floor as he vanishes into a black hole that swallows him up.

    The other end opens up in front of Rean, Riku plummetting out of it in a spinning slash to cleave downwards, trying to batter down his guard. "So." He says as blades clash, the Heartbrand kicking in the air to reverse his path and flip over Rean to strike at him from the opposite side. "Why do you actually care about this enough to fight over it?"

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Riku disappears into the floor, springing up directly in front of him and launching into the air above him. Rean raises his sword again, struggling to keep the aerial strike off of him.  "Because I get the feeling there's more to you than just angrily glaring at everyone." Rean says.

Riku's strike to his back lands and he staggers forward a bit, but quickly regains his footing. "Ugh...Having the past tangle itself up in the present is something I know pretty well." He then rushes forwards himself after a moment of focus, his single strike blurring into many as he passes by the Heartbrand.

There was also something else he picked up on, though he wasn't sure of it. He  might have gotten him wrong, earlier. Still, he gives it a shot. "...Being afraid of hurting everyone around me is something I know pretty well, too."  Rean says.

Riku (6928) has posed:
    "Digging for the truth, huh? Join the club." Riku dances backwards, his blade flicking back and forth. "The past tangling up in the present? That doesn't mean anything. The past always messes with the present."

    And then they're clashing against each other. Even as Rean strikes again and again, Riku's blade is there, fast as shadow as sparks fly. Rean and Riku seem evenly matched in terms of swordsmanship. There is a grimace as Riku finds himself pressed, having to give up a step or two under the intense bladework. When Rean ventures his guess, Riku twitches for a moment. "You think you know everything, huh? Let's find out how much you understand."

    His shadow extends, moving as if alive under Rean and past him. Behind him, he feels a presence rise. If he looks, he'll see it: A hulking monstrosity of black, muscular skin, wrapped in white bandages. The eyes glow gold, the arms ending in deadly-looking claws. Most striking of all is the heart-shaped hole in its chest, however... And one hand rises, burning with black fire, slamming it forward as Riku, too, clenches a fist. It also surges with black flame, and they both strike at the same time, the surging Dark energy exploding around Rean to engulf him with corroding, sapping energy. "DARKNESS!" Riku calls.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
"It does, yeah. But maybe I got the wrong impression of you and you /are/ trying to move forward despite it." Rean says, parrying Riku as he pushes forward.

He senses something come up behind him and he turns, freezing in place. He's seen Mikoto do this too, and she implied that she 'stole' it from Riku. Hers was different, of course, taking after the Witch her attempt at escaping her fate made. Was this what the original looked like?

He braces for impact, taking the double punch head on. He screams, the corrosive flames burning him. He falls to one knee, breathing heavily. "ARCUS, activate." Rean murmurs, and a blue ring of light surrounds him, shifting into a spray of teardrop-like lights falling down onto his body and cleansing some of the corrupting flames. He slowly stands back up, getting back into his fighting stance.

Perhaps now was the time to go full blast. Rean closes his eyes, trying to focus on his desire to win and get through to Riku.

But something goes wrong. Maybe he wasn't as over the Ad Coelum as he thought. Maybe weeks of getting caught up in the politics of Multiverse Radio Chatter frustrated him more than he realized. Or maybe this was just what happened when his power came into contact with more negativity, similarly to how Mikoto's Soul Gem corrupted when she was near him in that state.

Rean suddenly vanishes.

And then, there's a bestial cry from behind Riku as Rean slashes vertically at him from behind, his sword coated in black flames. If he turns to look, Riku will see Rean is engulfed in a aura of darkness, his hair whiter than even Riku's and his eyes blazing red. It's not capital-D Darkness, like Riku knows, but the hateful feelings behind it - flaring out from him - are the same. This Rean wants a /fight,/ and he's getting it, consequences be damned.

Riku (6928) has posed:
"I'm trying to save Kairi. That's all that matters right now." Riku says. "Just don't get in my way." He doesn't immediately follow up on the attack, and that might be something that costs him. Rean warps out. Is it speed? Spatial alteration? Riku doesn't know, but he does react instantly to the cry behind him. The roar tips him off just in time for his blade to sweep in behind himself and stop the black burning blade from carving him in half. It buries itself into his shoulder, leaving a deep wound as Riku hisses, the blade struggling against the powerful strike from the student. "... You too, huh? This matters to you that much?"

    There is a ringing noise as Riku surges, pushing the blade out of his flesh and twisting around to fall into a ready position. "All right. Come on, Rean. Let it all out. Beat me down if you can! Give it everything you have, or I'll never forgive you!"

    Riku launches to one side, falling into another black hole. But the Eidolon surges up, winding up to slam a huge fist into Rean's position, moments before Riku flies out of another hole, vaulting over Rean. Black flames slam down in an array as he drops, immediately launching into another low, wide, iaijutsu-like strike as he cleaves through Rean's position in a sudden escalation of intensity.

    Looks like Riku is taking this seriously too, now.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean's not really in the mood to respond anymore. Maybe once he stops trying to shank Riku he'll say something about the quest to find Kairi.

But for now:

Rean darts forward, trying to catch Riku with another slash as he jumps into another hole. The Eidolon tries to punch him again, and he jumps back, only to land right in the wall of flames caused by Riku's descent. Riku's low slash catches him too, and he lets out another roar, as blood starts to stain the white front panel of his jacket red. Still he leaps forward, coming down on Riku with his sword raised over his head, still blazing. If he hits, he'll then start trying to slam the blade into the other teen as many times as he can.

Riku (6928) has posed:
    Riku seems to be everywhere, attacking in perfect synch with his Eidolon. But he wears his heart on his sleeve, as it were, and Rean strikes with a powerful blow. The burning blade scorches Riku, the Heartbrand reeling as Rean continues to slam attack after attack into his defenses, overwhelming him with sheer power. No matter how fancy you get, if someone just starts hammering into you enough your guard might break.

    And break it does, Riku taking slash after slash through his body, the purple armor shredding under the repeated impacts until the Eidolon imposes itself. Riku leaps away as Rean rips into the dark being, the projection of his Heart taking the blows and disintegrating rapidly under the furious blows. "Ggh... You're still into it, huh? Guess I have no choice..." After a moment, the Eidolon vanishes, and Riku holds his blade across, focusing. "Fall into darkness..." He says, black holes beginning to open all over the battlefield. Riku leaps back into one... And as before, comes lunging out of another, slashing past Rean, this time burning with hints of a dark flame that dances over his body in an aura. He continues surging past, flying into another portal before emerging from another, repeating the attack over and over again, getting faster and faster and faster until he finally appears above Rean, cleaving downwards. "FALL!"

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean swings wildly at Riku as he dashes in and out of portals, faster than he can keep up, even like this. Trying his damnedest to hit him as he passes, to grab him and stop him, anything.  And then Riku appears above him, his blade piercing though his back and straight through his chest.

Rean falls over, the darkness around him fading as he stops breathing.

The arena resets.

Rean sits up, hunched over on one knee. "...Damn. I should've guessed it wouldn't be that easy." Rean murmurs to himself, clutching his chest. He's mostly referring to the fact that he lost control again, after using his power way more often than he probably should have over the last few days. Of course he still needed to be careful with how and where he used it, before he hurt someone who couldn't take it, or himself. But Riku did give him a run for his money, which he kind of expected, but not this much. That he was willing to admit.

He looks up at Riku. "You win. As I promised, I'll stay out of your business from now on." There's a sad smile on his face, like he's a bit disappointed in himself, but hey, a promise is a promise. Rean gets up from the floor and dusts himself off.  "...I hope you find her." He says. "And I hope that whatever you chose to do, is worth it, in the end."

And with that he starts heading for the door.

Riku (6928) has posed:
The battle ends as suddenly as it begins. When Rean collapses due to the volume of damage that has been dealt out, Riku finally stops. Something in him exults in seeing Rean like that, confused, beaten, small.

    Riku takes that part of him and pulls it up, taking a long hard look at it. Silently, it is pushed aside, Riku pulling himself up with a more humble, more accessible look than he might have had a moment ago. There is no mockery in that softer gaze.

    Rean promises he will abide by the terms of the agreement, and Riku just reaches out and grips Rean by the shoulder, pressing him back down. "Sit." He says. "I know that's what you promised, but I'm not going to hold you to it."

    Riku grunts as he sits down, feeling the ache and burn of the battle in his muscles despite the wounds themselves being rewound. "You've got questions. Ask one. The one that's digging at you most. I'll answer the others later."

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean's gently pushed back down into a seated position by Riku. "Huh?"  Rean says, looking at Riku, confusion crossing his face. The expression on Riku's face isn't contemptuous at all, though. He was serious.

"...Alright." Rean takes a seat again, settling into a slightly more comfortable position with a grunt. He crosses his arms over his chest, thinking. What to ask...

He /could/ ask about what happened to Sora, but then what? Regardless of if Riku was holding the info back because he didn't want to find him, or if Sora was dead or something and he was trying to keep Seifer from finding out...What could he even do with that information? Give it to Seifer and betray Riku's trust? Try and find him himself?

No, there's only one question he wants to ask right now, and it's admittedly one he's realized Riku might not even know the answer to.

"What happened that makes you keep lashing out at everyone? Is it because you're afraid, or...?"

Yes, that's technically two questions. At least they're related.

Riku (6928) has posed:
    The situation is kind of awkward. Riku is sitting down himself, his outward wound evaporating but his movements still stiff. He's hurting, even if he 'won'.

    But Rean asks his question. Riku glances over to Rean and frowns for a moment, trying to parse what he said, as if he was speaking another language.

    "Why do I lash out at everyone?" He shakes his head, looking away. "Having people close to me is dangerous. For me, and for them. My friends betrayed me. My teacher disappeared. Everyone who I cared about had cut me out of their life. And after all that..." He shakes his head again. "There's no point. Friends just get you hurt. You have to do it yourself if you want to succeed. But all those worlds out there... They're full of people who think friendship solves everything. They don't realize that they're going to just do the same thing. All the good feelings in the world aren't going to change that."

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
"...I see...That's a lot."

Rean shakes his head. "...If you really thought that were true, you wouldn't have opened up to me. You would've just let me walk out the door. You're right. Friendship doesn't solve everything. You can't just talk everything out, as much as I'd like that to work." Rean sighs. "...But you'd have to be perfect to be able to do everything on your own. To never make a mistake that requires someone else's expertise to fix, or to help you handle your emotional burdens. There's probably a balance somewhere, between trying to solve everything with friendship and shoving everyone away."

"...Mikoto was like this for a while, too. After she lost everything, it was hard for her to get close to people again. At some point she realized she couldn't keep living like that. She couldn't keep running from the things that hurt her."

Riku (6928) has posed:
    "And what's wrong with trying to be perfect?" Riku replies, shrugging. He shakes his head. "I stopped you because I thought you deserved something for all your efforts. Making you just walk like that..." He closes his eyes and sighs. "You were honest. And an honest effort shouldn't be left to rot."

    He scowls for a moment, a fist clenching for a second before he slowly releases it. "I've had enough of that, after all." He glances to one side at Rean and frowns. "If I mess up, I need to fix the problem. That's what responsibility is. It's not about never making mistakes. It's about being strong enough to deal with those mistakes. If I can't do that, maybe I never..." He stops, and sighs. "Never mind. This isn't your problem."

    The mention of Mikoto causes Riku to squint. "You do realize she's just using people, right? She might not be running, but that doesn't magically make her a good person. After all, the Concord has a /type/." He says, looking away. "It's none of my business what you do with your time. But watch your back."

    Maybe that problem is a little deeper than it seems. "So what else do you want to know? Take advantage of it. You might not get another chance."

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
"Not much, if it's a goalpost." Rean says, shrugging. "...Still, you'll never actually /be/ perfect....Neither of us will." Rean glances down at the floor as he says this.  

"...Right. Thanks." Rean says.

Rean nods. "Yeah, of course. But can you honestly say there's /nothing/ you can't fix by yourself?" Rean raises an eyebrow at Riku. What was that? Blowing his question, he continues prodding. "...No, tell me. Maybe you never what?"

Rean sighs. Here we go again. "...I'm aware she's the sort of person that takes any advantage she can. I don't mind it. And I'll be right there to stop her if she goes too far. "

Riku (6928) has posed:
    "It's way too late for me to say I'm perfect." Riku replies. "I'm not like that King of Heroes guy." He scowls again about that. "I probably never will, either. But he makes me so /angry/."

    The edgy teen leans back and flops onto his back, folding his arms behind his head as he stares at the ceiling. "There's a lot of things I can't fix by myself... right now. Maybe later ... Who knows? I just have to get stronger, right?"

    Rean chases that down though, not willing to let Riku take the Edgy Boi Out on that one. He looks back to Rean, his eyes dark, as he frowns, quiet for several seconds. "... Maybe I never deserved the Keyblade in the first place... Or Sora and Kairi."

    But Riku then sighs, and shrugs. "You're some kind of guy, Rean. I can't put my finger on it. But like I said. It's none of my business in the end. It's up to you on what you do with her. Maybe it'll work out. Maybe not. But that's just my take on it."

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean groans. "Tell me about it. I get wanting humanity to advance, and better themselves, but...Ugh, that's some ego." He laughs, finally getting a chance to air out his true feelings about the King of Heroes. "You're lucky you don't have to hear him in the Paladins comms."

Rean lies on his back as well, arms folded over his chest. He looks over at Riku and shrugs. "...Maybe, though I guess 'other people' can count as a form of strength too. Just...Be careful." Rean says, resting a hand over his heart. "Strength of any kind can be dangerous if misused. Though, I'm guessing you know that already."

Rean nodded. Yeah, that sounded painfully familiar. "...Doesn't mean you don't deserve other things. And if they abandoned you that easily, at a time when everything was falling apart and you needed them most...Then they probably don't deserve you either."

He kind of just hums thoughtfully at the input on him and Mikoto. "Thanks for  worrying." Rean says, grinning a bit.

Riku (6928) has posed:
"Tch. You, having to hear that all the time? No wonder why you're running around yelling at everyone else. You just want someone else to listen to for a change, don't you?" He actually chuckles a little at that, giving a little smile at Rean...

    But that smile disappears at Rean's warning, a haunted expression on his face. "... I know." He says simply. "It's easy to get lost in the Darkness..."

    There is a silence as Rean speaks next, and then he simply nods to Rean. "Yeah. No problem." He sounds a little distracted at that, but then he stands.

    He looks away, leaving his back to Rean. "... Maybe I don't deserve it. You kept asking if I was happy." He shakes his head. "... Someone who's done the things I've done doesn't deserve to be happy. The Darkness is where someone like me belongs. Be careful, kid."

    At that, Riku begins walking for the door, likely leaving Rean with even more questions to be answered than before.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean laughs a bit, looking away from Riku. "Yeah, maybe..."

Rean's silent as Riku heads for the door. It's not hard to guess what kinds of things he meant. Rean's hands clench into fists, as his mind lapses back to a few months ago. He sighs, releasing them.

"...Maybe it's stupid of me to say this, but if you're willing to take some form of responsibility for your actions, to acknowledge that it still hurt people regardless of if it was 'right' or 'deserved'...You deserve at least a little happiness. I'm not sure if you are for the things you did, but...I'm not so sure you're as hopeless as you think you are."

...'Kid?' Wasn't he younger than him? Then again, that didn't mean that much out here. "...Same to you. Be careful."  And with that, Rean heads out himself.