3nanashi: (Hmm.)
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Nera Marshall hesitates by the table, watching Trowa clean accumulated grime from the pieces of an old coolant regulator. It's easy work, and he might as well earn his keep at the Marshalls' garage while he mulls over what he's found so far. Nera is about his age, brash and cheerful in her element but shy when she's uncertain, and she looks uncertain now. Trowa examines a worn valve, and waits for her to say whatever she's going to.

"You're looking for Duo Maxwell, right?"

Trowa glances at her.

"I mean -- I mean, word on the waves is he's missing. And you show up right around the same time, and I know you're doing . . . stuff all around town, and you're armed and all. And Michael's gotta be good with it since you're here. So you are, right?"

She's got a sharp eye. Trowa idly wonders again how many of the Marshalls' plethora of cousins are really related to them. "Yeah," he says. This valve is going to need replacing; he picks up the next.

Nera fiddles with the barbel through her lip. She's into Electro-Punk, and Trowa's seen her going out at night with dozens of glittering ornaments in her many piercings. Here at work she sticks to small studs and hoops, and keeps her swishing sleeves tied back. "Okay," she says. "I hope you find him."

Trowa glances up again. "You know him?"

Nera nods, and then shrugs. "Well, not really. I met him once. Out dancing -- over at Angry Jenny's, you know?" Trowa doesn't know, but he makes a mental note. "He was nice." Nera leans a hip against the table, encouraged by his silence, and carries on with slightly more animated gestures. "We didn't talk a lot, though. He was with a girl -- not my type, but cute. She mostly wanted to dance, and it was kinda loud. And then they left. But I liked him. We've got some friends in common. You know Hilde? Hilde Schbeiker?"

"Not well," Trowa says. "We've met."

"Yeah, well, she's a good friend of mine. So I hope he's okay."

Me too, he thinks. Aloud, he says, "Was this recent?"

"What, the club? Nah. A while ago."

Probably not a lead, then. He'll remember Angry Jenny's and a girl who dances, anyway. Trowa nods, and scrubs at a stubborn bit of rust.

"You don't talk much, do you?" Nera's tone is about one part uncertain, and two parts amused.

"No."

She laughs aloud at that. "Fair enough. Long as it's not just me. Here, gimme those worn-out bits, I'll see if I can find some spares to swap out."

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Trowa Barton

December 2012

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