For the Love of an Oni

Grimmora, 10:30 am, Honen Calzoun's Room
Honen:
Zumo: Hey, boss. Boss?
Honen: What you want, Zumo?
Zumo: Musclehead is looking for you. You haven't reported in yet.
Honen: Tell him I'm not going to. I don't feel well.
Zumo: Are you allright?
Honen: Yes, I suppose. Just very tired.
Zumo: Okay, I'll go tell...him. Oops.
Nucleo: Hey, there, Zumo, Honen. ... Honen are you allright?
Honen: Professor, I'm not going to work today. I'll accept whatever punishment later, but I need to rest right now.
Nucleo: Punishment? If you need the day off, Honen, that's okay. Uh, Zumo, can I talk to Honen alone for a few minutes?
Zumo: ... um...
Honen: Iz okay, Zumo. Leave us be now.
Zumo: ... allright. See you later, boss.
Honen: ... So, I suppose your wife told you what I said.
Nucleo: Well, Image told me that she thought you might not be happy, but she wouldn't say exactly what made her think that.
Honen: I'm probably not someone who iz meant to be too happy, Professor. But I think I'm okay. I said someting really stupid yesterday dat I didn't actually mean and I know you're responsible for me, so I don't want you to get in trouble with Crow...
Nucleo: Honen, I'm always in trouble with Crow for something. Why do you think I got approved for this expedition? He wants to get rid of me for awhile. But anyway, I wonder if maybe going with me on this trip would help you...
Honen: You'd...trust me to go with you?
Nucleo: Of course. It would get you away from this place for awhile...and, speaking of that...Honen, I'm aware of the situation with Deuce. Do you want me to tell her to back off?
Honen: What? No, iz okay. I can handle dat situation.
Nucleo: I'm not convinced that you can, Honen. It's not like you to not report to work. You're a workaholic.
Honen: Professor McRaven, zis has nothing to do with Ms. Koma. I...didn't want to say too much, but I really don't feel well.
Nucleo: Are you sick? Maybe you should check into the infirmary.
Honen: No, I don't think I am sick. I'm just very tired.
Nucleo: I think you're hiding something.
Honen: ... I feel like I have a hangover, but I didn't drink anyting last night.
Nucleo: Are you sure? Maybe you just don't remember drinking.
Honen: I don't think so. I worked late on ze Bluejay. Ms. Koma and everyone else left before I did. Then, I got someting to eat at ze commissary and went to bed. Sometime around 1 A.M., I think. All I had to drink was bottle of spring water.
Nucleo: Is it a migraine?
Honen: Doesn't seem like it. And iz not just my head.
Nucleo: Allright. Why don't you go back to sleep and I'll leave you alone for awhile. I'll put a sign on your door so that no one will disturb you. I'll check back in a few hours and if you aren't feeling better by then, I want you to go to the infirmary, okay?
Honen: Dat sounds reasonable, professor. I'll think about your offer, too. I know very little about archaeology, so I don't know what use I could be.
Nucleo: Just take some aspirin and rest up, Honen. Don't worry about anything else right now. I'll see you later.

Crow:
Nucleo: Professor Crow, what are you doing...
Crow: Why hasn't that worthless scientist reported to work yet today?
Nucleo: Worthless? Have you seen the work he's done on the Bluejay? It's quite impressive. He's actually managed to improve it in several critical ways and...
Crow: If that Oni gets drunk and misses another day of work, he's gone.
Nucleo: Sir, he's not drunk. He's either overworked or sick. I'm not sure which, but...
Crow: And if you don't stop making excuses for his behavior, I'm pulling your grant.
Nucleo: ... Well, then pull it.
Crow: What?
Nucleo: Is your hearing going in your old age, too, Crow? For the love of all things unilateral, just pull my funding, already! I'm not letting you throw him out.
Crow: Why you little insufferable cave-dwelling mountain rat. First you bring humans to Grimmora, and now this creature whose sole purpose in life is to exterminate magical-blooded people like us! First you desecrate, then you destroy--
Nucleo: For 32 years I've put up with you treating me as though I'm going to suddenly wake up one night and murder everyone in their sleep! I've learned to accept it. But I'll be damned if I'm going to be bribed into allowing you to treat my friends that way! Leave Honen alone. He needs his rest. Now, excuse me, but I have work to do.
Crow: ... I still have seniority here, McRaven!! ... *hrmph* ... Disrespectful little mole.
Honen: ... ... ... I don't believe what I just heard.

Juice Bar
Lizaki: Hey, there, ma' mountaindevil man! What's goin'...on? Hey, you look a little down today. Somtin' wrong?
Nucleo: Eh... Crow pulled the funding for my trip because I refused to let him kick Honen out.
Lizaki: What? He can't do that. Aurora won't let him. Just tell her about it.
Nucleo: I know. I just hate how he thinks he can dangle grant money in front of me to manipulate me into turning against my friends.
Lizaki: Why does he want to eject Honen?
Nucleo: Same reason he's wanted to oust me for the past 32 years. He doesn't like him and of course, anyone Crow doesn't like can't be trusted. *sigh* I trust Honen, but I'm worried that if Crow unleashes his attitude on him, he'll lapse right back into his paranoia.
Sesa: Hey there, Professor McRaven, can I get you anything?
Nucleo: No thanks, Mr. Markino, but perhaps you can tell me...Honen seems like he has a hangover, but doesn't remember drinking. Was he here last night?
Sesa: Nope. Didn't see him here at all yesterday. And even if he was, I have a limit to how much alcohol I serve to a single person. No one gets drunk on my watch. If he has a hangover, he didn't get it here.
Nucleo: Thanks, Sesa.
Lizaki: He could've broken into the wine cellar.
Nucleo: I don't think so. That doesn't sound at all like something he'd do. I wonder if Deuce could tell me anything...

Deuce: ... Hmm...he's not at the lab, not on the Bluejay...where could he be? Is he still in his room? Hmmm... ! Nucleo?
Nucleo: Hello, Ms. Koma, I was wondering if you could tell me if you noticed anything strange about Honen last night?
Deuce: ?? No, not really...except that he kept working long after everyone else turned in for the night. He was fixing the steering mechanism and said that he didn't want to quit in the middle of it. I would've stayed with him, but I was so tired...Do you know where he is?
Nucleo: He's in his room. Something seems strange about him so I told him to take the day off.
Deuce: Strange? In what way?
Nucleo: Like he's sick, or something.
Deuce: What? Seriously?
Nucleo: Calm down. He might just have sleep-deprivation. I just wanted to make sure he wasn't getting drunk and not remembering it.
Deuce: I want to go check on him.
Nucleo: Wait, Deuce, I want him to...rest.. Damn. That woman can move fast.

Deuce: Honen? Honen, are you asleep?
Honen: Hello, Ms. Koma.
Deuce: Professor McRaven said you were sick. You're just...staring out the window? ... Are you thinking of leaving again?
Honen: No, of course not. Iz just nice day out today. Wish I could have enjoyed it more...
Deuce: So, what's up with you? Were you drinking last night?
Honen: No. I ate dinner around 1 A.M. and went to bed. All I had to drink was spring water. I think, Ms. Koma, I'm just getting old or someting.
Deuce: You're only 30. You don't look old at all. Um...but, actually, I don't know how long Onis typically live...
Honen: Same as humans, I think. I'm just feeling older, I guess.
Deuce: I understand. I'm starting to feel that way, too.
Honen: Ms. Koma...
Deuce: Rosalyn.
Honen: Um, what?
Deuce: My real name is Rosalyn. Rosalyn Koma. I haven't gone by it in years. You can call me that if you'd like.
Honen: Rosalyn? With a nice name like dat, why you want to be called "Deuce"?
Deuce: I don't even remember how I got that nickname anymore. I was very young, in grade school. Guess it got started on the playground somehow when we'd play war games and pick code names, and well, it stuck.
Honen: I see... Rosalyn...I had a nice time with you yesterday...working on ze airship. I really am sorry for betraying your trust.
Deuce: But you didn't really mean it, right?
Honen: I don't really know. I don't really know what ze hell I'm doing anymore. I seem to have lost all sense of purpose. All sense of identity. All I know is dat I kept thinking dat if I started to get comfortable here, it would only be matter of time before I do someting dat gets me kicked out. And I don't think I could handle it again...first my parents, then Leona...But on ze other hand, zis iz only place my work has ever been appreciated...
Deuce: You're not going to get thrown out of here, Honen. I don't think Professor McRaven would ever allow it. And if I'm wrong...then I promise I'll go with you.
Honen: Rosalyn...
Nucleo: Honen, Deuce, is everything allright?
Honen: ... Professor...Why you two do such stupid things for me? How can you possibly care about someone who was once your worst enemy? How can you be so kind to someone who once so easily hated people for having magic in their blood?
Deuce: ...
Nucleo: Maybe it's just my nature, Honen. I really think you should check into the infirmary. You still seem a little strange to me.
Honen: Professor, why you let Crow pull your funding because of me? I really should leave here. I just keep getting you into more trouble...
Deuce: Crow pulled your funding?
Nucleo: So, you overheard that...Honen, please don't let him bother you. It's been this way ever since I first came here. Aurora and Preston had to fight Crow at every turn to be able to keep me here. If he thinks he can bribe me into turning against you or any one of my friends, then he truly doesn't know me and there's no hope he ever will.

Honen, I don't want you to leave. But if you're really not happy here, then you have to decide what's best for you. I can't stop you. I'll try to talk you out of it, only because I'd hate to see you go down a path I feel will only lead to your destruction. You're brilliant and most people here appreciate that. It'd be a shame to waste it...You're not a prisoner here, but you'll always have a home here if you want it.

Honen: I just don't understand it! My own parents couldn't stand me. Ze woman I loved couldn't stand me. Why do people whom I was once bitter enemies with care so much?
Nucleo: Honen, when I was very young, my mountaindevil parents sold me into slavery. When I overheard them talking about it, my best friend and I planned to run away together. But when I was just getting ready to leave, she ratted me out to my parents and they stopped me. I can sort of understand if she changed her mind about leaving, but she should have then just let me go on my own. By squealing on me, she made my departure much more difficult. Instead of just sneaking away, I had to forcibly escape from the slave mines, which would not have been possible had I not been a strong magic-user. I also had to leave without any provisions, no food, no money, nothing, which I would have had if I had gone when we originally planned. As a result, I almost died trying to get here.

So, I too, know what it's like to be abandoned by the people you love the most - the very people who are supposed to care for you. It was a long time before I was able to trust anyone again, but Aurora and Preston never gave up on me. Maybe that's why I feel I can't give up on you now.

Honen: ...I see...I had no idea you'd been through all dat...
Deuce: Just because we got off on the wrong foot, it doesn't mean that we can't be friends now, Honen.
Honen: It waz a pretty big foot...
Nucleo: Well, maybe that's to be expected. Mountaindevils and Onis have rather large feet.
Honen: ... Eh-heh... ... True.
Deuce:
Nucleo: I guess I'll leave you alone now, Honen, but please consider checking into the infirmary if you don't start feeling better soon. Page me if you need anything.
Honen: Thank you, Professor. I'm sure I'll feel better after more rest.
Deuce: I think I'll head on out, too, Honen. I don't want to keep you from catching up on your sleep. You can page me anytime, too.
Honen: Thank you, Ms. Koma.
Deuce: Rosalyn.
Honen: Aye. Rosalyn.
Deuce: ... Honen, I still don't know what the deal with this "Leona" person was, but...
Honen:
Deuce: ...I'm gonna be here for you no matter what, okay?

Goodnight, Dr. Calzoun.

Honen: ... *soupir*

Later That Evening
Zumo: Hey, boss. How are you? I brought you some dinner.
Honen: .. *yawn*...Um, Zumo? I must've been out cold almost whole day, huh?
Zumo: Something up with you? You've been calling me by my name instead of "worm".
Honen: Do you NOT want me to call you by your name?
Zumo: Doesn't really matter to me, but it's just not like you. You haven't been ordered to be "nicer" to people by anyone, have you?
Honen: No. Of course not. Zumo, I have small problem...
Zumo: Well, you have some pretty big ones, too, but go on.
Honen: Ze mercenary girl...Professor McRaven...they really do care about me.
Zumo: Yeah. So?
Honen: And...I don't know if I can be their enemy anymore...
Zumo: It's called growing up. Just took you longer than most people. So, what did happen to you today?
Honen: I'm not entirely sure. I used to be able to work all day and stay up late without much effect, but I'm getting older and...Ever since dat bronchial infection, I get worried about what would happen to me if I got sick again and I was alone...You've been very good friend, Zumo, but you'd have trouble getting help for me on your own...
Zumo: Hmm...so I guess that's why you haven't skipped this joint, yet, huh? I think you just worked too hard and stayed up too late. Probably nothing to worry about.
Honen: But ze mercenary girl...
Zumo: Yeeeessss?
Honen: We are not same race, but we have more in common then I did with Leona. Deuce already knows I dabble in technology and she does, too, so...
Zumo: Allllllright. Just admit it. You're smitten with her, aren't you?
Honen: ...I don't really know...
Zumo: It's not gonna work, so you might as well just forget about it.
Honen: Zumo, are you concerned dat if I had relationship with her I'd spend less time with you?
Zumo: Pfft. No. But anyone can easily see it isn't going to work, Honen. I'm just telling you the truth. You'll only get hurt again. Especially since I'm convinced that eventually she'll work things out with her partner and then she'll ditch you like yesterday's soufflé. They're the same race, same profession, known each other far longer. Hell, if she can't make a relationship work with him then...
Honen: Mr. Forrester is obnoxious. Sometimes, he treats everyone so rudely dat he seems more like a villain than me. I wouldn't blame her for ze failure of dat relationship.
Zumo: Well, whatever. Do as you please but just don't say I didn't warn you. Not like I'm your nursemaid or anything like that anyway. See you tomorrow.
Honen: I've been asleep so long, now I'm not tired. Maybe I go for short walk.

Computer Lab
Deuce: Tomes, please, it's late, I have work to do, and I just don't want to be bothered right now...
Tomi: Why does it seem lately like your work has little to do with our plans to return to our home planet?
Deuce: When I have more time, I'll help you with that, Tomes, but I'm telling you right now that I've decided to stay here. I have nothing on Darlos anymore. No friends. No family. Ghestov took that all from me. But here, there are plenty of people I care about and this work is much less stressful and more reliable than being a mercenary.
Tomi: So in other words you're giving up everything because of that insane Oni.
Deuce: Is that what you really think or are you just saying that to piss me off?
Tomi: It's true, isn't it?
Deuce: No! I like Honen a lot, but right now...it's not like there's anything serious going on. If it works out, it works out, if it doesn't, so be it. I'm staying here either way. Besides, Dr. Abirok says that he isn't really insane...
Tomi: Deuce, I don't really care what that prissy shrink says. Honen is a liability. I think that eventually he's going to realize he can use this little crush you have on him to his advantage, and he'll take advantage of it. And when that happens, I'm going to laugh at both of you. I'll laugh at him because his incompetent plans will fail just like all his others, and I'll laugh at you for not listening to me when you KNOW I'm right.
Honen: .................

So you seriously believe your friend and partner might be in danger, yet your response iz to laugh at her???

Deuce: Honen!
Tomi: Well, speak of the devil!
Honen: You can laugh at me all you want, Darlosian. I've never been one to give a damn what people think of me. But Ms. Koma...iz a very nice young woman and deserves to be treated better. She deserves someone better than me or you.
Tomi: I don't need to be lectured by a comical cartoon villain. Gee, I wonder which cliché you'll use to take advantage of Deuce. Here, I'll give you some choices:

1. Kidnap her so that you can force everyone else to surrender.

2. Work on a giant robot or other machine capable of mass destruction together, and then steal it out from underneath of her.

3. Trick her into building a bomb or programming a computer virus.

4. Chain her to the outside of one of your battle machines so that no one can attack it.

5. Or will you just do a good ole-fashioned tying of damsel in distress to the railroad tracks?

Deuce: Tomi!!
Honen: You must be purposefully trying to be jackass. Because I cannot believe dat's what you seriously think and yet all you can do iz laugh about it.
Tomi: Are you saying I should just shoot you now before you get a chance to try something?
Honen: I'm saying dat maybe I'm not as predictable as you seem to think.
Tomi: Yeah, okay, whatever. You and I both know that you'll eventually play out one of those scenarios and despite that I've given all the warning I possibly can, Deuce still chooses to ignore me. Not just me, but all common sense. What else can I do? Mope and worry my ass off? Hey, it's a cartoon. Everything will always be okay in the end somehow anyway. Might as well laugh it off. Deuce, I'll see you later when you've wised up and decided to work on the moon project again. Bye.
Deuce: Maybe I will if it means getting rid of you sooner, Forrester! *sigh* I'm sorry, Honen...Now you see what I have to put up with...
Honen: Iz allright, Rosalyn, do not apologize to me. Um, I was going to work on ze computer for awhile, but if you'd rather not be bothered...
Deuce: No, go right ahead...Are you feeling better?
Honen: Aye. Only problem iz I slept all day so now I'm not tired. I need to fill out my e-report on ze Bluejay repairs from yesterday. Sure I won't be bothering you?
Deuce: Of course, I'm sure. I've just been running a few experiments. They require a lot of setup, but I'm done with that part and now they just have to run for awhile.
Honen: I see. If you need my help with anyting, just let me know.
Deuce: Thanks, Honen.

Meanwhile, Professor Crow's Office
Aurora: And what's this I be hearin' about ye pullin' Amadeus's funding?!
Crow: The Oni scientist was drunk and didn't report to work today. Instead of telling me the truth, McRaven tried to cover his ass for him.
Aurora: Amadeus told me Dr. Calzoun is sufferin' sleep-deprivation, not a hangover, and I trust that he be tellin' the truth. I'm orderin' Preston to make the transfer to Amadeus's account and I don't want to hear no yappin' outta ye over it! *SLAM!!*
Crow: Fine! But only if he takes that useless scientist with him!! I don't want to see either of them for a very long time...*sigh*

Back at the Computer Lab
Nucleo: Honen! There you are. I've been looking all around for you. Feeling better now?
Honen: Hello, Professor, I suppose I am better now. Just working on some reports. Iz there someting you need to discuss with me?
Nucleo: Yes, actually...um, what's wrong with Deuce?
Deuce:
Honen: Oh, she's allright. She was working on some experiments and got tired waiting for them to finish running, so she fell asleep in ze chair. I try not to bother her. So, what you want with me?
Nucleo: Well, remember what I asked earlier about going on that trip? Um...not sure how to say this, but I hope you decided your answer is "yes", because now you have no choice.
Honen: What? Why iz dat?
Nucleo: Crow is only going to re-grant my funding if you agree to go with me. I suppose you do have a choice, but if your answer is "no", it just means I won't be able to go. I'll understand if you can't or don't want to, though...
Honen: Ah, I see. Crow wants to get rid of both of us. Well, of course I'll go, Professor, but can Deuce come, too? I'm somewhat...concerned about ze way Tomi treats her...
Nucleo: I'm afraid I don't have enough funding to bring along a fourth person unless Im was to stay behind...
Honen: No, dat won't do. Mrs. Arcane iz archaeologist and belongs on zis mission. Um...hmm...maybe I just tell someone else to look after her for me. Zumo...not responsible enough...
Nucleo: Preston, Lizaki, and Robin would be your best choices.
Honen: Okay. I'll tell them. Thanks, Professor. You are great help.
Nucleo: No, thank YOU for agreeing to come along. I'll see you tomorrow.
Honen: Goodnight, Professor. *soupir* Just a few more sentences and I'll be done with zis report...
Deuce: ... *yawn*... Honen? Um, what happened?
Honen: You fell asleep, you silly woman.
Deuce: Oh. I guess I did, huh. Wow. You type really fast...
Honen: I suppose I do. Rosalyn, I've decided to go on ze archaeological trip with Professor McRaven. Will you be allright if I go?
Deuce: Oh! Really? Of course, I'll be okay. I mean, I'll miss you, but I'm happy that you're going. I'm sure it'll be a lot of fun for you.
Honen: But about Mr. Forrester...
Deuce: Oh, don't let him stop you. I've been dealing with him for years now. It's much easier to get away from him now that we aren't cooped up in a small spacecraft together. And just for the record, Tomes is never physically violent. Just really annoying, sometimes.
Honen: Okay. But if he gets to be too much for you to handle, don't be afraid to ask someone for help. Just because you have tough exterior doesn't mean you don't deserve to be treated well. Hmm...I am done with my work, so I am going back to my room now.
Deuce: Honen, wait...
Deuce: Thanks so much for sticking up for me today.
Honen: I, um... I really didn't do much, though...
Deuce: It was more than enough. ... I've noticed you don't get nervous anymore...
Honen: I'm not real touchy-feely type, Rosalyn, but...heh.
Deuce: Well, I still have to finish up these experiments. I'll see you tomorrow.
Honen: Goodnight, Rosalyn.
Deuce:

Honen: ?? Zumo?
Zumo: Ah, ha ha ha! I knew it! You're in love with her, aren't you?
Honen: Have you been waiting outside zis door ze whole time??
Zumo: Admit it! Admit it!
Honen: Pipe down! She might hear you!
Zumo: Well, then, let's move away from the door and then you can admit it! :)
Honen: And you think I'm immature. You're acting like 2-year-old. So if I treat someone ze way I feel they should be treated dat means I'm in love with them? Iz dat what you think? Then I must be in love with you, too, because I'm going to start treating you like ze lowdown dirty worm dat you are if you don't shut up.
Zumo: Oh, c'mon! You didn't even flinch when she hugged you. No one else can even touch you with a 10-foot-pole without you hitting the fan.
Honen: ... So you were not only eavesdropping on conversation, but you were somehow peeping through ze window, too? What are you? Some kind of voyeur now?
Zumo: Hey, c'mon, big fella, I was just kinda worried about you, that's all. Look, if you're in love with her, then go for it. But it won't work and you'll only end up getting hurt again. Heck, maybe it'll be good for business. You'll probably get so pissed off, you'll want to destroy the whole world and become a true villain again.
Honen: Iz dat all I am to everyone around here? Just a cartoon cliché?
Zumo: Hm. Maybe. But at least you were a damn funny one.
Honen: I don't have to take zis from you. Goodnight, Zumo.
Zumo: Wait, wait, wait, boss...You know I'm just messin' with you. Um...tell me something...just between you and me and I swear I won't tell anyone else...Were you planning to do any of those things Forrester suggested? I kind of liked #2. I don't think we've done that one, yet...
Honen: Just between you and me, worm?
Zumo: Annelid's honor!
Honen: No. Absolutely not at all.
Zumo: Oh, come on, you're lying.
Honen: No, I'm not. Deuce iz ze first person who ever truly appreciated me for who I am. She compliments my work and even likes ze way I talk. If ze day ever comes when we have to part our ways and if I become villain again...I would not do so in any such way as to personally hurt her. I may never be able to force zis world to appreciate my technology so it would be stupid to destroy ze one person who decided she liked it all on her own.
Zumo: Wow...that makes sense...I think. But you know eventually SOMETHING will happen that will make her realize how much she really does care for Tomi and that a relationship between a villainous Oni and a law-enforcing Darlosian was simply never meant to be. I know it seems like I'm being a jerk, but better to be annoyed by me now than to be totally crushed and heartbroken later.
Honen: You might be right, worm. Dat is...ze way things usually go in zees situations, no? Well, I think I should return to my room now. Goodnight, Zumo.
Zumo: Well, goodnight, but I'm checkin' out the commissary before turning in, myself. Heh. Later, boss.
Deuce: ..........

I'm not as much of a cliché as you think, either, Zumo.

........


Chance: Wasn't I supposed to have a scene in this?
FO: Yeah, it got cut.
Chance: Thank goodness.
FO: Would you rather have a Talon Battles Cancer storyline instead of the Honen's Midlife Crisis arc?
Chance: This is supposed to be a comedy. That was more like...fanfiction.
FO: They would've been in bed with each other by now if it was.
Chance: Allright. Let's just stop right there.
FO: Game on.

Now I'm not like this, I'm really kind of shy. But I get this feeling whenever you walk by. I don't wanna down you, I wanna make you high. If you could see your way to me, come on and let me try.

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