My father says that almost the whole world is asleep...

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I Can't Believe You're Here Tonight
Bundled Up
leekspin wrote in thewakelogs
Who: Orihime Inoue, [Those who replied positively to her inquiries about the singles ads]
What: Orihime decides to find out what this dating business is all about.
Where: Varies
When: Varies (please state in the subject line!)
Warnings: Probably mild perverted humor
Notes: I figured it would probably easier to put ALL THE DATES in one place. Prose or [ACTION] tags are both fine, whichever you're comfortable with! So is handwaving, if you don't mind giving me a summary just so I know how she'll respond to your character in the future. If your ad wasn't in the first newspaper but was run in a future section, and you really want Orihime to give the ad a call to find out who it was, you are welcome to join this log with your very own thread!

Orihime was nervous, but, she told herself, in the good way! She didn't know what to expect for the most part, and she did like surprises, but she also wasn't entirely sure what she was expected to do.

Oh she knew the basics. Be yourself, don't kiss on the first date, show gratitude, don't fall down the stairs. Things like that. But the other little things she'd have to figure out as she went, hoping that her friends would be patient and willing to correct her if she happened to err. Dating was brand new to her. While she'd made plans with Kick-Ass before, they'd never been realized, and so she had to wing it.

~Maybe I should have asked V-san for some tips?~ she thought, furrowing her brow as she knotted the hem of her blouse in her fingers. Too late for that now. They could talk about it later, though, for she was definitely eager to share her experiences with someone who enjoyed such conversation topics, and she knew V was very passionate about these things.

She reminded herself to look in the mirror before she left, to make sure her long, chestnut hair was neatly combed and styled, and to ensure she hadn't accidentally brushed up against some flour in the kitchen or picked up some hitchhiker crumbs while bustling around her apartment in quick paces to work off some of the anxiety and excitement. Taking three deep breaths, Orihime closed her eyes, and relaxed her fists at her sides. It was time to try something completely new, and she was as ready as she'd ever be.

In the blink of an eye, she vanished, teleporting punctually to the meeting spot she and her date had agreed upon.

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Souji jumped at the sudden appearance of someone right next to him, almost ramming himself into a tree. Then again, that was relatively easy to do in this part of Nautilus anyway.

"...Forgot you could do that for a sec," he explained, quietly straightening his jacket and smiling sheepishly. He'd arranged to meet Orihime outside the movie theater in the Southern District, and had only been waiting about thirty seconds. Surprising or not, teleportation seemed to be handy.

"You look nice," he said, in the most sincere way he could manage a standard greeting. He himself was wearing his usual black jacket over whatever button-up he'd managed to Bend close enough to cleaned and ironed, but this was a casual date.

Orihime laughed. She couldn't help it! Souji's expression hardly ever changed, and though she hadn't meant to scare him, at least it eased up some of the nervous tension in her stomach. At least he didn't run into that tree.

Once he was settled, Orihime smiled right back at him. "Sorry! I didn't want to be late." And she'd learned that flying in a skirt could end up embarrassing people who happened to look up. Walking was out of the question, since she would have had to wear winter garments, and it was much too warm here for those.

His compliment earned a quick blush from Orihime, who bobbed a swift bow in thanks. "Ah ha ha, thank you! I wasn't really sure what was appropriate, to be honest. You look very nice too!" Even if that was what he normally wore, she was glad for it. It was a familiar look, and at the moment, anything familiar was helpful at keeping the anxiety levels low.

She glanced up at the glittering bulbs of the theater sign, clasping her hands behind her back. "So which movie are we going to see?"

"Well, I noticed one from my world," Souji said, pointing up at an overly-long Japanese title.

"Never actually watched it, but 'Raidou Kuzunoha' is a pretty memorable name. It's probably kind of actiony for a date movie," he admitted, mentally adding that Chie had heard of it, after all, "but it sounds fun."

It was that, or an American movie with puppets, and Souji wasn't going to suggest the latter himself.

"Oh, I like action movies!" Orihime chirped, her eyes lighting up. The only movies she didn't care for all that much were the realistic horror movies. Old ones with cheesy effects and over-the-top gore were more of a comedy than anything, and she was fine with those, but seeing people get murdered in horrible ways on the big screen made her squirm.

"Let's see Raidou Kuzunoha, then!"

So far, this seemed to be in line with what she expected a date to be. A movie was pretty classic, and she was sure they'd probably huddle close over a shared bucket of popcorn while staring at the screen, completely mesmerized. This, she was perfectly okay with!

As they bypassed the ticket office, she turned her head to regard Souji curiously. "Did you go on a lot of dates back home? You seem pretty experienced."

"A few," Souji said, getting in line for popcorn.

Even when there are no other player characters around, somehow, there is always a line for popcorn.

"I was dating Yukiko for...six months, about. I think," he said. "We mostly just hung out with our friends like we would have anyway, but there were some things that'd count as dates."

He pauses and thinks for a second. "I'm not totally sure, but I think you're not supposed to talk about exes on dates. I'm fine with it if you are, though."

"Really?" That was news to Orihime. She didn't have any exes to speak of. "But Yukiko-san isn't really an ex, right? She's just...not here right now."

Unless Souji had come to the same conclusion she had about Ichigo. ...She could see why the topic shouldn't be brought up, it could turn sad or awkward pretty fast under the wrong circumstances.

"I'm fine with it! I mean, whatever you feel like talking about. Just stop me if I sound like I'm prying, since I don't mean to." Six months was an awfully long time to date someone. The two of them must have been very close.

"I think the idea is that my attention should be on you," Souji said. "And we agreed we weren't dating anymore when I left Inaba, we back together for a few days while she was here, I guess. If she's not Awake anymore, I think I'm single."

He stopped, and ordered food, using the time to collect his thoughts. Then he noticed that the concessions were just kind of coming into existence, and remembered there was only one person in this town who wanted money.

"Do you want candy, or just popcorn and soda?" he asked. If it's free, it's free.

Oh. That made sense, she supposed. And though it was decidedly less awkward to be out together if he was single, she still felt badly for him about Yukiko's absence.

Well THEN. She would just have to make this 'date' as fun as possible. She'd brought up the downer topic, so it was her job to make up for it, right?

"Let's do it all!" she grinned, picking up a tray of cheap nachos along with a box of chocolate-covered raisins. Whatever they could get away with carrying into the theater, they totally should. "We'll make it the ultimate movie experience!"

"I like the way you think. Have I mentioned that?" Souji asked, grabbing his own nachos and...well, no. No more chocolate mints in the same meal as spicy foods. Ever. Even if they weren't going to be mixed. Better go with the chocolate-covered peanuts. And some popcorn. Some expert stacking later, and he manages to grab a drink, too.

Orihime paused, blinking at him with a mouthful of popcorn. She swallowed, then smiled. Most would have chided her for her supposed gluttony, or made a remark about where it would all go. "I like how you think too, Souji-san."

This would work out fine, wouldn't it?

The last traces of her uncertainty over her first 'date' were wiped away as she watched him follow her lead, loading up with snacks. Arms heavy, she walked beside him into the theater.

Her drink went into the cupholder first, before she began arranging the rest at her feet, or into the empty chair at her left. Naturally she felt the popcorn should be eaten first, since it was best when it was still hot. Orihime tipped the tub in Souji's direction. It was anyone's guess as to when the movie would start, but from past experience, she was sure that it would begin at any moment now that an audience was present.

Souji smiles and takes a handful of popcorn, turning to look as the lights dim and the previews start. And briefly praying that the trailers are different from the last time he was at the movies.

It seems that the first one is, at least.





And then there were many explosions and no mention of any plot or, indeed, any actors. Souji suspects Nautilus summoned the platonic ideal of an action film trailer...or they've just gotten really generic lately. Encourages him to eat more of the popcorn, though.

Orihime couldn't help it. She laughed. There was no sign of the man, gun, or destiny, but it was hard to miss the explosions! She shook her head, still giggling. "I want to see that!" She doubted it would ever happen, but still. She loved this city's weird sense of humor, it was so great!

"Oh look! Tanks are flying out of that one!"

Which, of course, cracked her up even more.

When the trailer finally ended, she was almost breathless with mirth, and she leaned back in her chair fully and completely relaxed. There was nothing like a good comedy in the company of a good friend, even if it was just a 90-second trailer.

She beamed up at Souji. "Do you think the movie itself can top that?"

[Prose... and Jan. 21st? (Saturday) - or later?]

Sanji was putting on the finishing touches on the table, feeling a little anxious as he waited for Orihime to show up for their date. Well, "date", technically speaking. This really was, at the heart of things, more a shared dinner. Given what had happened when Sanji went to visit her house, after Augie had returned to sleep, and all she had told him that night... well, it just wasn't gentlemanly to push her in any way! For the ease of the lady's spirit, he would keep this open and friendly. He didn't want to upset her in any way... no... Tears did not suit that beautiful face. She was strong in spirit, Sanji could see... but she was such a gentle heart... He didn't want to see her melancholy again.

Puffing on his cigarette, he re-adjusted the place settings, then stood back and examined the table. They were out on one of Budehuc's balcony, overlooking the castle grounds. There were the two place settings, with two tall candles already lit and providing a dim glow. He had browsed through the book of flowers Orihime had given him, and set up a small vase in the center of the table. Yellow acacia was plentiful and circled the bouquet, with a few sprigs of currant flowers, and a beautiful water lily in the center of it all. Dinner was sitting under domed lids, to keep the meal hot. He had prepared yakitori, with grilled scallops, mushrooms and scallions over a bed of noodles, and a handful of edamame on the side. To drink, he'd mixed up a strawberry-pineapple punch... non-alcoholic, per her request.

Folding his hands behind his back, and trying not to look too anxious, he walked to the balcony's edge again, looking out over the grounds. Thanks to his amazing change in luck upon arriving in Nautilus, he'd already had one or two dates with some of the beautiful ladies of the city. Nothing came of either of those dates (Yuffie-chan had been cute, but the date was in return for her kiss to his cheek, to get rid of the mistletoe. She was like a little pixie - adorable, but seemingly a little too young for his tastes. Which was fine, as she just seemed to want to have fun, and Sanji could at least see that she had a nice day of things.), and he knew nothing would come of this one... but it still didn't stop the knot of anxiousness inside of him.

Edited at 2012-01-28 06:24 am (UTC)

[That works for me!]

From Sanji's location, it would be hard for him to miss Orihime's arrival. She appeared in the center of the courtyard, a faint flutter of a breeze rippling her skirts and hair as she settled in place. Her face was so serious when she used her powers! Her brow was furrowed over her closed eyes, and she frowned deeply in concentration. But the serious look was quick to vanish as her tense shoulders relaxed, and she straightened.

It wasn't hard for her to pick out Sanji's location. His reiatsu had become familiar to her senses, and after a moment of study, she turned in place and tipped her head back.

Sure enough, there he was up on the balcony. Her expression brightened back into the usual grin she wore, and she lifted her hand high to greet him with a wave.

"Sanji-san! Okay to come up?" She decided she'd use the normal route this time. If she flew, it would just seem like she was showing off.

[Sanji blinked at Orhime's sudden apperance. He wondered if he'd ever really get used to that. Eventually, he supposed. He smiled at her look of concentration. So cuuute~! ♥ He grinned widely and waved back enthusiastically, both arms in the air.]

Orihime-chwaaaaaan~! ♥ Please do come on up and join me! I have a meal prepared with love for you to enjoy~! ♥

Orihime laughed. "Well, I've heard that's the best spice!" He didn't mean 'LOVE' love, she was sure. Just fond of females. Saluting at his invitation, she dashed across the courtyard and through the arched doorway to patter up the steps.

At last she arrived, faintly breathless, but flushed with happiness. Sure she was nervous, but one of Sanji's meals was sure to settle her stomach. Speaking of which...

"Oh wow, it smells good even from here!"

"The best spice in the world, Orihime-chan! Even the most basic of dishes can become a masterpiece if made from the heart!" He was flirting with that line, yes... but he was also speaking from the heart; a truth he believed fully in.

He beamed at her appearance on the terrace, flushed and happy and healthy looking. He pulled out a chair, gesturing for her to sit down. "Please be seated, Orihime-chan... If you like the smell, I'm sure you'll love the taste!"

"I don't doubt it for a second. Thank you very much!"

She smoothed her skirts against her legs as she took the chair he offered. It was probably a good thing people didn't do that very often, she felt a little awkward about making others go out of the way for her sake. But she wasn't ungrateful, and she beamed her thanks up at Sanji before getting her first good look at the table.

"Oh wow...!" she breathed, clapping her hands together. "Good thing I've been saving up my appetite, I'm definitely going to try some of everything!" And boy could she ever put it away. Sanji wouldn't have to worry about leftovers, at the very least.

Well, here's hoping Sanji made enough! If they fell short, he could quickly whip up some more food. He seated himself across from her, with a grin.

"Please, by all means... I hope it approves to your tastes?"

He let one hand drop to his side, pressing against his pants' pocket, and the slim wallet inside. He'd found it on his nightstand when he woke up that morning... clearly a gift from the city. Orihime had expressed an interest in hearing about his crew, and, well... this would help things, a little. He was a little unsure how to broach the subject, though. It'd be rude to just dive right in to that, though. He had to give the lady time to taste, and appreciate the food first, after all!

"Yay! Thank you so much!" No one ever cooked for her...probably because her tastes were so odd. But just because she liked weird things didn't mean she disliked normal things. She dished up without hesitation once invited to do so, and as promised, she put at least a little of everything on her plate.

The first bite was wonderful. Her eyes widened as she slowed down and savored the taste and texture. She'd never had anything like it!

"Sanji-san...!" she gasped, holding up her fork. "This is the best food I've ever eaten! You're amazing!"

Sanji beamed! He knew he was good, but to see people appreciating his food... to hear the praise from a beautiful woman... it felt wonderful. Food for the ego. "Heh... thank you, Orihime-chan. I'm flattered. It's good to know I haven't lost my touch any," he added with a wink.

He took a few bites of his food, rolling the taste around in his mouth before swallowing, then took a sip of his drink to clean his palate. "...You mentioned an interest in hearing a few stories... about my crew, back home...?"

Orihime was still enjoying a large bite of the potato dish when he asked his question. Rather than speaking with her mouth full, she beamed and nodded enthusiastically. A story to go with dinner? What could be better than that?

She gave her fork a brief rest as she laid it down on her plate, settled her hands on her lap, and swallowed. And just to make sure how clear it was that she eagerly anticipated getting to know more about Sanji and the people in his life that were important to him...

"Yes, please! I'd love that!"

Sanji grinned; though excited, she was polite and mannered enough to wait until she had finished eating before speaking. Then again, she WAS a lady, and of COURSE a lady was polite and well-refined.

He pulled out a wallet, pausing, before holding it out to Orihime. Inside, there was a series of six photographs, with many empty spaces after them. Sanji took a drink, then cleared his throat, glancing aside, finding himself a little embarassed, oddly enough. "I received this a short while ago... guess it was from the city. Funny thing is, I don't remember any of those photos actually being taken. Guess Nautilus wanted to remind me of what I'm missing here? ... Chopper's not in the pictures, dunno why. Maybe because he's our newest crewmate...?"

He shrugged faintly. "The first photo is of the shitty old geezer, and the two idiots. The rest are of my crew. The shitty rubber idiot with the straw hat is our captain. The liar with the long nose is our sharp-shooter. The idiot moss-head is the useless swordsman." His feigned indifference then switched immediately to over-the-top joy. "The red-headed angel is the beauteous Nami-swan, our brilliant navigator. And the other lady is the gorgeous, kind-hearted princess Vivi, who we're helping save her country."

Orihime's smile only grew wider as she looked through the pictures, taking her time to study each one in rapt fascination. The 'geezer' had an incredible moustache, she was impressed at how he'd managed to braid it like that. And she adored the expressions on the faces of Sanji's crew, giggling openly.

"Wow, a giant duck! It's so cute!" she laughed upon reaching the last picture.

It was obvious to her why he was so smitten with Nami and Vivi. Both young women were very beautiful, and well-dressed as well.

But most of all, she liked seeing how happy Sanji looked. He was relaxed and smiling, comfortable in the company of his friends. Orihime grinned up at him, turning the photos over to the pirate chef once more. "Maybe he didn't want you to feel too homesick," she suggested. "I know I felt a lot better when I woke up to find my brother's picture one morning."

Hard to say when it came to Nautilus, but she still believed that the city was on their side.

The duck is Vivi-chan's... pet? Friend? I don't know, exactly. His name is Carue. She uses it to ride on.

[Sanji pocketed the wallet, a wry, almost tired grin crossing his features.] Either that, or the city likes to tease me, and make me feel more homesick. [He shrugged; that really wasn't a conversation for a dinner date. He smiled, softly.] Tell me a little about your world, Orihime. What sort of life did you have, there? ... If I'm not prying too much, that is.

Edited at 2012-03-02 04:27 am (UTC)

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