For Equality [Heiwa + Jakers]

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Right after after Mai asked her question, the next thing she knew, Kassian was literally on his knees facing her.
"Oh, please forgive me!" He whimpered. "I had to no idea - n-no idea - about all of this. To think that if you people hadn't told me..." He cut off. He felt so angry, so betrayed, and so heartbroken all at the same time. It was a burning pain of guilt inside of him as he thought about all of the people he sipped wine to as they died. Why did he, Kassian, have to be the bad guy the whole time? O, it wasn't fair!

...It was the government's fault. If all of this was true - which by this point he knew it very likely was - then they were to blame for all of this. They'd used his powers, his talent, and his lavishingly good looks for their own! They'd used him to help capture... not terrorists... not murderers... but heroes. And now, he wanted revenge.

Kassian's malicious and desperate thoughts were cut off as the children came and annihilated the rebel leader. Kassian looked up from his position on his knees, and blinked plainly with a blank expression. Thinking for a moment, Kassian quickly wiped stray tear residue from his eyes with his sleeve, and rose to his feet.

"Erm... Mai...?" He cleared his throat, looking in the pile of children for her. He couldn't see her properly, but kept talking nonetheless. "I know it isn't much, but...." He gives a very half-hearted pose nonetheless. "I... Kassian... would like to help you cook for these children. I understand if you'd like me to leave, but... please." He mumbled. His voice lacked the usual dramatic flair and confidence.

It wasn't just because he was a deft hand in the kitchen that he'd like to help cook, but... he wanted to talk to Mai. She was the leader, after all, and he wasn't just going to go home and cry about this all. He wanted revenge for what the government had done to him... and it would start after his great hands helped create a fine meal! He would take some time before asking to join the rebels, though. After all, all the others probably would despise the existence of a selfish bastard like him.
Mai fights the children off just as she heard Kas's offer, which also made the kids turn to him. After a moment, she smiles warmly and says, "Sure thing, Kas. We can also talk while cooking. Nora, I'm putting you in charge of guarding the kitchen. No one gets in for a sneak peek of the meal." Leading Kas down another hallway, some people stared at them while others were too busy working on other projects to be worried about them. Although they did call out greetings to the leader.

As they were about to enter the kitchen a young man stepped in front of them with arms crossed. Tall and muscular, the brunette male looked roughly around Mai's age as well as extremely pissed off.

"What is he doing here?" A gruff voice with a gruff face.
"Well, John, Kas is here to learn more about us. He even offered to help cook with me."
"I don't want him here."
"Too bad that's not your decision to make then. The rebels are supposed to stand for everyone, including high ranks."
"I get that. But he tried to kill you."
"Who doesn't?"

Pushing the big guy aside, Mai drags Kas into the kitchen and sighs loudly. Weariness shows briefly on her face before a cheerful grin spreads across her lips. "We have a lot of ingredients thankfully. Whatever you want to make let's make it." Starting to cut up vegetables, a serious look comes with a gentle voice, "I'm sorry you had to find out about her this way.. Don't blame yourself for anything, the government is very good at making innocent people seem evil. Um...that woman...The reason why she was killed may have been for her helping us.. Sometimes a high rank will come to us because they are suspicious of the government. Uh...oh! I'm sure you have so many questions. Please, go ahead and ask." The young woman understood the need for answers but...being a leader was starting to press down on her. But she couldn't let anymore people be harmed or mistreated. Those stupid government officials will feel her wrath when she got her hands on them.
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Kassian, whilst he usually would've said something indignant back to the so-called John, simply stood still and looked at the floor. Whilst Kas' plan back on the manor of the roof wasn't to kill Mai... he would've handed her over to the guards once he'd dealt with her. And that surely would've led to her execution. But alas, Mai was far too strong to be captured by his hands... in those circumstances, anyway.

He was almost glad she'd beat him at this point. Because... well... now that he knew she wasn't a terrorist, he could see how much of a nice person she was. Though he still held a little grudge. Trying his best to ignore eye contact with the gruff man, Kassian quietly followed Mai into the kitchen.

As he entered, Kassian took off his jacket and tie, and hung it up on the doorknob. He may have hated himself somewhat, but he was still gentlemanly enough to not spill substances onto his beloved jacket. Looking at the array of ingredients, Kassian was pretty surprised at what the place had to offer. He supposed people donated food to the rebels all the time... now, what to cook?

"...Erm... I suppose they wouldn't mind a beef stroganoff with rice? T'was one of my favourite dishes in my early days..." Kas asked briefly, though that wasn't anything to do with the questions he had in mind. He listened to Mai as he began to get to work slicing beef, and preparing a stock with quite a skillful and impressive usage of his ability to control liquids. He began to mix the pot without even looking at it, throwing in chopped ingredients and seasoning occasionally. Cooking was one of the non-combat things he enjoyed and was good at. His powers helped, too.

When Mai mentioned her, Kassian almost dropped his knife whilst slicing an onion. He kept still for a moment, before returning the serious gaze.
"I appreciate your sympathy, but the fact of the matter is that I was a fool. It is my completely my fault for being such a blind buffoon! If I'd have figured out the truth sooner, then... then..." Kassian sighed. "...ugh. Tis' just a thing of the past now. Please, I'd like to ask for you to never bring her up again." He paused, and his blonde hair covered his eyes as he regained the grip of his knife.

"...And yes, actually, I do have a question." Kas placed down the knife on the counter, and suddenly faced Mai with a dead-serious look, his yellow eyes glinting.

"Mai... I, Kassian, would like to join the rebels. Will you accept me?"
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When he made the comment about his early days, Mai laughs and asks, "How old are you? Fifty? You sound like an old man." Then goes back to assisting Kas as he cooks. Noticing that he was about to drop his knife, she stopped it in the air for him to get again. Maybe bringing up the woman hadn't been a good idea even if she wanted to try helping him. When he suddenly asked that question though, her emerald eyes widen.

Grinning childishly, Mai holds out a hand and says, "Welcome aboard. We're a rowdy bunch and we get dirty often, but if you can bare with us...we'll change things. We don't kill unless there's no other choice because people have families waiting for them like we have people waiting for us. Never forget that the fight is for equality. One person may not have a powerful gift but their life is just as important. Also, since you are a high rank, I'll be using you for a lot of missions from here on out." As soon as they shook hands, the young woman pulls Kas into a tight hug. "Welcome to the rebel family."
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Kassian wasn't sure how to react at being hugged. Such a sincere form of physical contact hadn't been offered to him in a long while, and this woman was the last person he expected to receive of all things a hug from. A-Argh...! Why did he feel so flustered - so helpless - when he was in her grip? Could she really just forgive everything he'd done... just like that? Was it all that easy?

Kassian kept still, looking at the floor. He supposed his life would change completely from this point; he was one of them now.
"...Family." Kassian repeated to himself inaudibly. He trembled.

When Mai eventually let go, Kassian blinked as if tuning back to reality. Flushing red, he spun around and adjusted his tie in a flustered manner, the back of his head hiding his expression.
"K-Kindly issue a warning before squeezing me next time, would you? You... c-creased my shirt!" Kassian spluttered, obviously hiding something. After a long pause, he turned back around regaining a serious expression.

"But... yes. Thank you." He clenched one of his fists. "I'll do my best to end the trickery of the government swiftly. Just tell me what to do, and I'll do it." He paused, lifting a finger as he walked across the kitchen as he talked. "As long as the government don't discover I'm here - I'm still a favourable citizen in their eyes, too. It could prove useful." He thought to himself for a moment, lowering his finger and stroking his chin.

"I suppose I could transfer my wealth here, too... but we'll talk about that later. I'm sure those children are famished." Kassian said... and for the first time, he gave Mai a real, genuine smile - even if it was brief. With that, he shook his head and got back to cooking. The dish was almost ready for serving - afterwards, they could talk business, and Kassian would need to learn to settle in to a place like this, and learn how to not scream like a girl if he got a smudge of dirt on his shirt.
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Mai was surprised by Kas's reaction and rubs the back of her neck sheepishly as he squawks. The smile was definitely a shock, maybe the end of the world was coming. Laughing softly to herself, the young woman goes back to helping the crazy one cook. When the food was finally done and the rebel leader calls for them, all of the children and the rest of the rebels pile up to get some. The ruckus would sure to make the high rank panic so she swipes two plates and leads him to her office. Before they left, the rowdy rebels yell thanks to Kas, all grins.

As they entered the messy office, which was smaller than most areas, Mai says, "Sorry about the mess, I get caught up in going through files and reports. I barely get through the first round before new ones come in." Setting the plates down on the desk, she starts eating her food quickly, wanting to get to said files. "Oh! If you ever want to look at them, just ask. Put 'em back when you're done. Most of it is boring stuff but there's always information to be gained."
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"Ha! Don't thank me yet, little ones~. This is only the beginning of the marvellous culinary wizardry from the hands of I, Ka-" Before Kassian finished, he figured he should follow Mai before he lost her. But... y-yes. He supposed it was nice to have so many real, genuine smiles directed at him instead of the fake polite smiles he often got from his high rank associates. Whilst he wasn't looking forward to leaving everything behind, the life he was about to live - he could already tell - would be more honest. More cheerful.

It was letting everything go that was the hardest step. But once he was past that... well, even he didn't know what sort of person he would become.

Sitting at the desk, Kassian straightened his tie, pulling up his chair as he examined the room. Looking at Mai eat, he raised an eyebrow as he slowly and somewhat majestically began to eat from his own plate.
"Goodness, Mai! If I'm going to be working for you, you could at least work on your table manners." Kassian said jokingly. After a few delicate mouthfuls, Kassian sighed and push forward his plate. "I'm not actually that hungry. Help yourself to mine if you wish." He offered plainly. He began to lean on the table somewhat dramatically somehow. "As for the files... I shall consider it. But for now, I've seen all I need to see."

A long pause followed before Kassian talked again. He leaned back in his chair a little in thought, before speaking up.
"When I can, I'll try and transport all of my spare resources from my abode here instead. Namingly my money, food, etcetera. I suppose I won't be needing it any more." He paused. "And... there's also my servant, Porter." Kassian paused, looking at the floor. "Now that I know the truth, I understand that... ugh... he's probably hated me all this time..." Kassian muttered to himself in a dry monotone. "But... I digress. I'm sure I can... find a better place for him."

"Anyhow. Enough of my ramblings; I'll handle all of that at a later time!" Kassian declared. He leaned forward again, an eager look in his eye - like a dog who'd like to go for walkies. "Case in point, I'd like to get to work straight away." Kassian stated. "Any missions for yours truly? I may not seem like much, but..." Kassian flipped his blonde hair. "...I, Kassian, am confident that I can handle whatever you throw at me."
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Mai was almost embarrassed when he pointed out her eating habit but shrugs and gulps down his portion of food as well. Setting the plates aside, the woman starts going through a file while listening to Kas' dramatic speech. It was quite funny just to hear him talk, almost adorable. "If you're so keen on sending stuff to us, I'll pick it up personally. You should be sure not to give too much or the government will notice in your paper tracks. As for Porter...he can come here or even help you with getting information from other low ranks. With you as an in to the high ranks and him talking to other 'servants' we can finally gain more information on who is a bad high rank compared to the others. Also, I would like you to give me a list within the...let's have it be a week of who you think would side with us if given evidence. Of course, we'll have spies run checks on them but your input would be great," she says, leader mode fully activated as she writes in the file and goes on to another.

"Although, if Porter does not want to help with the rebels... It may get complicated... Ugh, so many possibilities. More information is needed about him. Did you ever receive a file of his background? If you have, I would like to look it over instead of having to go steal it." Hearing him ask about a mission, Mai smiles and looks up briefly. "Not quite yet, for now, I want you to gather the information I just spoke of and to be as hush hush as possible. Please, don't mention about joining the rebels to anyone until we can check them out. It might sound like I don't trust you but I do. I just don't trust people I don't know. Right now, you are my best asset to reach out to the high ranks and an undercover agent." Standing up, the young woman rummages through her desk drawers and pulls out a silver bracelet, holding it out to him. "You know where we are but this is so I can call out to you. Since I can manipulate metal I can let you know if I need you or I'm coming to you. If you need me..." She wiggles her fingers slightly and a small sliver from the bracelet wraps around her middle finger. "Tap on the bracelet three times. Since I have a part of the bracelet, it will resonate with it. I love freaking people out with this trick." A mischievous giggle escapes her lips.

"Any questions?"
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