2014-04-27 - Onsen Relaxation and Heel Realization

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Title: Onsen Relaxation and Heel Realization

In need of some relaxation, Eri invites Mai to the hot springs. A heartwarming conversation ensues, in which Eri gets the wrong idea and Mai realizes she was a bit of a jerk.


Eri Shimanouchi, Mai Tokiha


Steamy Hot Springs

OOC - IC Date:

5 January 2014 - 4/27/14

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

  The sea of stars is on fire.

The cerulean and violet flames can clearly be seen from the tattered skybridge and it holds as a ghastly landmark while navigating this terrain tortured by the hand of what could only be war. Below, a sinister fog wraps around the ground level of the towering cityscape.

A dark rumble of crowd noise. Cars. Occasionally people can be heard in snatches of conversation. Mostly there is only whispers and the panicked, urgent screams of people. Running footsteps. A city, perhaps all cities, are falling all at once in that dire fog. The skybridge is high enough above it so that it runs underneath like a river of distorted sound.

And on this bridge in the sky, she fought. It would look like something epic, something out of the storybooks, or some silver screen crisis, or a duel to the death on a big bridge between warriors. And yet it was none of these things. What she faced had a lightbulb for a head, and a square nurse's cap upon it which would have looked quaint seven decades ago. Sinewy translucent appendages, for which some unknown ichor flowed through and needles sprang forth from the base of the bulb. And it's opponent? She was covered in countless wounds. Little lacerations which did not bleed, cauterized as if by intense heat or chemicals. Taking a deep shuddering breath, she tried to tune out the maddening noises..

  -=A short time later.=-


The sudden and abrupt feeling of being dumped out of bed, this is what she likened the end of a labyrinth unto. As reality blurred into view, she slumped down against playground equipment meant for the elementary schoolers of Southern Cross Island and looked up. The sun had risen while she was doing her work and so she let it's light wash over her and her magic do its work. Her hand moved over to cradle the pointed object which had a twisted caduceus upon it. It balanced on her palm like a gyroscope, as she gave it a highwayman smile. And she spoke to it at that point, as if they'd had a petty argument or quarrel, rather than a battle to the 'death'. "Alright, you win." Loosening something on the back of her head, she let her soul gem spring into being, pressing the slightly more radiant gem against the umbral seed. As she did so, dark mist sifted off of it, shifting into the seed, causing the gem to glow a far more bright green. "I'll take a day."

The text message to Mai was rather abrupt, and short notice to boot, but Eri thought there might be a chance that Mai would be off today. 'Would you like to relax at an onsen?' Snapping up the phone, she waited for a reply.

  -=Even Later!=-

The inn was rather rustic and traditional, but Eri knew of it, Tama was her 'true' home after all, which brought a bitter smile to her expression for a moment before. .oO(No, no. You're not even gonna think about that today!) As the obfuscating steam that held the faint scent of sulphur wafted around her toweled form, she slipped into the waters, letting the towel remain on the shore. And she just leaned back against the rocks, and relaxed, and waited for Mai to arrive.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"And I'm going to keep an eye on you to make sure you don't go breaking any hearts by accident, understand?"

Words said to an upperclassman, a fellow hero, someone who was becoming a friend. Words that, at the time, Mai had felt needed to be said. Words that had been ringing in her head ever since she stormed off in an embarrassed huff. Her actions deserved some thought - had she said the right thing, or the wrong thing?

There had been no time to figure it out. Linden Baum hungers for workers - and Mai was scheduled for back-to-back shifts, kept for overtime, kept busy for the last two days straight. No time to dwell on things, no time to think, just customers and orders and cleaning and far more happy couples than she really needed to see. By the time she got home each night, she was exhausted - cooking only ramen, and falling into bed once it was eaten. To sleep, perchance to dream...dream of mockery and upset classmates years back at Juuban...

Monday morning dawned, and Mai already has lingering dread. Normally she'd complain about having a Mikoto cuddling her in the night, but frankly she's needed the comfort that someone doesn't hate her. Unfortunately, dawn has broken, and Mikoto has gone running with the cats to find her Ani-ue. Her work schedule looms - a late shift, tonight, starting mid-afternoon and running to close. Another day to be busy working - but at least she has the morning to recuperate. And to think, perhaps.

Her phone buzzes.

"Oh god, don't tell me they need me early..." She considers burying her phone, pretending the catroommate ate it, summoning Kagutsuchi - but she has a job. She has a duty. She checks the phone.

"...Eri?" An onsen sounds...incredibly tempting. She shouldn't, she should be getting errands done, making sure there's food for Mikoto for tonight, doing the shopping... but part of her really wants to relax. And there's the Emergency Onigiri Reserve in the fridge. Hoping she won't regret one day's indulgence, Mai sends a reply.

         -=Just as much later=-

How long had it been since her last trip to an onsen? Not terribly long - it was suggested as an alternate treatment for Takumi at one point - but still at least a couple of years. Clad in a carefully knotted towel, Mai steps into the team-filled room. The warmth is wonderful, and it seems beautifully quiet - only one towel on the shore. Hazarding a guess, Mai calls out into the steam. "Eri-chan! Sorry I'm late."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

One hand lifted above the water, drip dropping as it waved excitedly from side to side, briefly clearing some of the steam around her. And yet, she was still silhouetted, just visible from the neck up, her hair splayed about in the water like each strand had a mind of its own. She wasn't wearing her glasses either, having left them on the shore just on top of the towel. "Hey Mai-chan!"

The hand dropped below the water and she laughs a little, lilting in nature, "Oh no, don't you dare apologize, Mai-chan! I caught you on short notice! I just thought it'd be nice to have a day where we don't have to worry about the world /exploding/ or /imploding/ or whatever the two of us 'think' the world does when we're not around." The finger rises above the water again, "But it won't do that today. I'm one hundred percent positive! The world, has given us both..." There's a completely dramatic, and unnecessary pause, "A day off!"

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mai still has uncertainty over this whole adventure, given her track record - but she smiles back with a grin. "Well, it's good to see you - you're looking well!" The steam's regathering quickly, and Mai makes her way to the shore. Carefully, she un-knots the towel - she might have been a touch over-cautious but it was a touch narrow - and lets it fall to the rocks of the shore as she steps into the water.

...oh dear heavens that feels good. Mai's only immediate response is a satisfied sigh, her sore feet are thanking her and telling her that even if another plot to destroy Tokyo were to be launched after this it would still be worth it. It is after this that Eri's words sink in, and Mai sinks into the water a bit. "...it's less that it does it when I'm not around, and more that it does it when I try to do something for myself..." She raises a finger. "...also it's more of a half day. Linden Baum has me starting work at four. Even so...this is absolutely worth it, thanks."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"Oh yeah! I'm feeling great!" After healing for a couple of hours in the morning sunlight. Yes she healed in sunlight. Her healing method was a little less versatile than other Puella Magi. "And these waters are just.. Mmm. I don't even know how to describe how good it feels."

Letting out a satisfied sigh of her own, she tilts her head slightly upon the rocks, peering at Mai with a slightly peeved look, "Now that's kind of pessimistic! You said it yourself that it happens when you're at work too! Things just happen, they don't correlate with you taking some time off." She needles her slightly, "You told me it was good for a girl 'my age' to do certain things for entertainment, well I hate to sound like an echo, but it's good for a girl 'your age' to do the same!"

She glowers a bit when she hears it's only a 'half day', but that morphed into a smile, "Alright then, I'll be your first table of the evening then. I think I could go for some cupcakes, or a sundae once we're done." And then slyly, with an innocent tone, "Maybe I'll even invite Mamoru-kun over for the same."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"That's good to hear." Mai smiles, closes her eyes, and just takes a minute to soak in the hot water. All the tension of the last few days, just melting away. "Sorry I haven't checked up on you since the other day...another waitress quit, so I've had to put in a lot of overtime." What havoc that extra work has wrought, and this is the cure, right?

When Mai opens her eyes again, it's to Eri's peeved glare - a difference stark enough that Mai actually recoils back with a splash. After Eri's finished her little rant, Mai's calmed down from panicked to sheepish. "Not completely, but putting Hokkaido aside-" She raises a hand out of the water, and ticks her fingers. "There was taking that offer of a free yoga class, checking out a jewelry auction on a whim - both of which got attacked directly - and while nothing happened right after having dessert with Runealy, that evening was when the entire city went dark for a bit."

Mai lowers her hand back into the water. "It just feels like a pattern sometimes, is all." And yes, a half day, it can't be ignored - but the frown that had appeared as Mai reminisces turns back to a smile at Eri's offer. "That does sound like a guarantee that this day will stay good, yeah. Thanks, Eri-chan - though I'd go with the cupcakes, the ice cream machine's on the fritz again."

And then Eri mentions Mamoru. Mai's face pales, the look of a deer caught in headlights, then she turns red, and sinks so that only her eyes are above water. Bubble, bubble, bubble.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"I know you're busy." Eri considers something, then giggles for a time before letting her in on the joke, "I know you care. You don't have to spend an egregious amount of time texting me or calling me to check up on me during your short breaks." She rolls her eyes, grinning, "Even though that is kind of the standard for Ohtori girls."

And then Mai begins to utter 'THE LIST'. Eri affecitonately names it that in her head /as/ Mai is relaying it to her. "Alright. Alright. You win! Your track record sucks. And so does mine! But we have to kind of hold out hope for normal things. Normal dreams, don't we?" It's a sort of stark contrast from how she was speaking the other night to the point where she sounded bipolar. Maybe she'd cheered up a tad.


"Ice cream machine on the fritz?" She holds a hand over her heart dramatically, "Well that's a travesty! I'll tell you what then. There's this bakery I know not too far away, the Midori-ya. We'll swing by for some gelato on the way."

For a moment, Eri can't tell if Mai's face is blushing, or if it's just the 'steam', but when she drops underwater up to her eyes, she gets an inkling of what's going on, shifting herself over a little closer without rising out of the water. "Is something wrong, Mai-chan?" She asks, innocently. She loved hearing about romance! But she wasn't going to pry if Mai decided it wasn't her business.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Bubble, bubble. Mai's immersed for a moment. Finally, though she emerges - still clearly blushing, though calming down. Respond bit by bit, right? "Still, even if I'm busy..." She thinks about her schedule the last couple of days, and slumps back against the rocks. Still comfortable, the hot water helps all ills. "...as long as you know that you can come to me for help or even just a hug any time, then it's all good. And...I never could get into that either. My phone's a bit clunky for that kind of thing."

THE LIST is fearsome indeed - but Eri's had it rough too, and Mai's reminded of that other night. "Normal things, normal dreams. Helping make our dreams from before all the magic shenanigans still come true - hobbies, career, romance..." Mai's grin turns to another blush, and she's tempted to sink underneath the water again.

...but she's been dodging the issue long enough.

"Well...after the other night, once I left you at your room, I didn't quite go straight to bed." Mai settles on a slightly different position, talking more to the middle of the hot spring than to Eri directly. "I knew Chiba-k- Chiba-san was a friend of yours, too, so I thought I should tell him you were working through a few things. I didn't tell him anything specific!" She turns to Eri, concern in her face. "Just... making sure he wouldn't say anything hurtful by accident, he's not always great with people."

Mai sighs, and looks away. Again, she blushes - somewhat flustered, somewhat, angry. "Of course, it wasn't easy because he's so gorgeous in moonlight. Seriously. It's like the moon itself is in love with his face or seomthing." She folds her arms with a huff. "So we wound up talking about other things, and I got frustrated, and I said a few things about how he needed to take responsibility for being distractingly good-looking and then stormed off and argh!" Mai sinks below the water again with her rant complete, and starts bubbling again.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Some genuine warmth, from her, not the hotsprings, enters into her tone, "I know, and that's enough. Really it is." She can't help but tease a little though, "And if I just happennnn to take advantage of your excellent cooking while I'm doing that."

Mai has fallen into /the trap/. The counterpart to the list which Eri made up in her head. "Yep. Hobbies, career, romance. You should start thinking about some of those things you know? I worry about you." That tone shifts to one of concern, "You don't make enough time for any of it."

That thought has been interrupted though, by.. surprise. And Eri takes on a lopsided smile, "Dang, do I have 'fragile' written on my back or something?" Eri mock shifts her head to look over her shoulder, "It's okay Mai-chan. Mamoru-kun isn't great with people. I'm not great with people either. So long as we're honest the hurt fades eventually. Even the other night.." She waves it away, "..okay yeah, that stung deep." Her expression looks momentarily grave, "But we were honest with each other. We came to understand each other a little better. So it has some positives too doesn't it?" Her gaze seems to reiterate the 'doesn't it?' before she continues. "And my every day has me dealing with eldritch 'horrors'. The kind of thing you either have to get used to, or be broken by it. Sure, I used to cry myself to sleep every single night after every battle, but that faded with time. Then all these problems with my family happened, same thing, but it's getting a little better every day. It's like picking off bark from a tree. Eventually it heals back." Or rots the tree, but she doesn't say that. She manages a faint smile, that has some abstract sadness in it. "And then I get to be normal again. Do normal things. Have normal days. Like today." Her voice has increasing enthusiasm in it.

But after Mai speaks on Mamoru, Eri has to put a hand over her face, and then she's snickering, and then sputtering, the sound a literal pbbbtttt before devolving on giggles, "I-I'm sorry Mai-chan, but you can't expect me to 'not' laugh at that, it's asking too much of me! Wayyyy too much! I can only take so much!" But then after processing it, Eri offers in an entirely serious voice, "Well maybe he thinks the same of you. Mai-chan, you're gorgeous, and it's like you don't even know it. If all the Ohtori students weren't mostly upper class stuck ups I bet you'd get love confessions bursting out of your locker!"

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The warmth in Eri's, and even the teasing both bring Mai out of bubbling seclusion, and a warm smile to her face - not the open cheer she usually wears, but actual happiness. Though there's a bit of worry in there, even so. "Just as long as you know you can always ask for help." She can't help but match the teasing tone, in the end. "Should I just hang a sign on my dorm room and declare it a restaurant, now?"

Thinking about the future isn't allowed yet. First the heart of the issue. "Well, in my case, I've got a few things to deal with that are a bit more immediate - and not in the 'oh no, another monster attack' sense. Once things are squared for Takumi's operation, then I can focus more on that sort of thing. You, on the other hand..." She turns to look at the sky, and hopes that hides the wince at Eri's justified concern. A retort might be warranted...but the subject changes.

Mai lowers her gaze, looks at Eri again as the previous night comes up. She tries to smile at the comments of honesty and understanding - and nods, when prompted. And then Eri continues, and brings up the eldritch horrors, and Mai's look shifts to concern once more. Even as Eri grows enthusiastic again, Mai's face still betrays her sorrow for having heard all this. "...you shouldn't have to, you know. You shouldn't have to get 'used to it', shouldn't have to hold out for the 'normal days'..."

But then, Mai manages to smile. "...but at least you have people who are in similar situations. You know, I have training in CPR and emergency respiration?" Mai looks up again, leaning back and elbows against the edge of the spring. "Skills I have, that I know for Takumi's sake. It hasn't happened yet, but there's always the chance that his heart could give out, and being able to take action could be the difference between life or death. It's a prospect that haunted me for weeks, months...and I haven't forgotten. I'm just 'used to it'." Still leaning, Mai tilts her head to look at Eri with one eye. "...but you know, having people like you, or Runealy, or Mikoto, or even Mamoru can help remind me what a 'normal' day is supposed to be."

...and now, the laughing. "Yeah, yeah, laugh it up, I'm terrible at actually talking to guys..." Eri probably didn't hear that, given how hard she's giggling. So Mai waits for her to finish, and blushes at the proposition that he might be interested in her...

...no, that's not likely, he's got that whole thing about Sailor Moon, right?...

...and the blush shifts to Mai's expression turning pale. She looks down, looks at her chest, sinks back into the water with one arm covering her breasts, only her head above. "...oh shit, is that what I did to him?..."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"With all the extra food you make for Mikoto-chan, you could probably swing it." There's a slightly smug, self-satisfied look on her expression, but Eri doesn't press further. However the 'You on the other hand' causes her mouth to hang open for a short moment, before it closes, her expression sobering. "It's what I asked for, I can't stop doing it. No use regretting it now. I think.. I think I have far too many regrets Mai-chan. I'd like to start living a life without them. What I do is important. It needs to be done. I've never told you about what witches are like. They drive people into despair, and a good portion of the suicides in the world? They're responsible for them."

There's a lot she could say on the 'why' she can't stop, but frankly, over time, she was getting used to it too. A lot of Magical Girls who don't have to recharge their magic can die on any given day to just injuries. So why worry another friend over just another factor that could kill her? "And if I become good enough at it, then maybe I'll be able to make enough time. Have more 'normal' days, and achieve some of my dreams, you know?"

As Mai talks about CPR and Takumi, Eri seems to sink a little under the weight of it, "What's important is that he's still with you. You shouldn't let yourself be haunted about what 'could happen.' There are things you just can't predict. I mean. I told you a little about my Dad. He's JSDF. And I know, I know it's not an actual 'standing military', but he's still soldier. And he always tried to prepare me for the fact that he might not come home one day. And then one day he didn't. And yeah, it hurt, but that's not something I can blame myself about." She then mutters a word beneath her voice. It sounds like 'jackass.' But then she shakes her head, "My situation doesn't really compare I guess since I was able to do something about it after I thought I'd lost him. Sorry, I kind of suck at this. Hell, I suck at 'normal days' too, since here we are talking about serious stuff when we should be trying to relax." Her look is sheepish, apologetic even.

But as the talk shifts into what Mai might have done to Mamoru, after the giggling and laughing is over, Eri states, "Um. I don't know." There's a flush upon her cheeks, "I don't know what it's like to be as naturally beautiful as you. I don't tend to distract 'anyone'. Maybe?"

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The idea of opening a dorm-room restaurant is worth a moment's giggling from Mai - but the conversation is turning more serious. It almost feels like only the pleasurable warmth of the hot spring is keeping her smiling, and the sober expression on Eri's face is heartbreaking. "A single moment's decision that chains you to that life ever after...I know what that's like." The witches are...horrifying. "...then at least you know that you're doing good work by fighting them. Orphans...those things seem like they come after the HiME, that they wouldn't be problems if not for us, so I can't feel as satisfied destroying them." She tries to give Eri an encouraging smile. "Then do your best. Fight for your future, first and foremost."

Mai is almost ready to go over there and give Eri another hug - but the current situation makes that awkward, and one arm is occupied covering up her chest. The muttered curse is both depressing and heartening, and Mai's not sure how to respond. "...I know. But still...I made a promise. I swore that I would take care of Takumi when our mother...wasn't able to any more. So if anything happens to him...it is something I'll blame myself for." Mai shakes her head, and smiles back in apology. "Neither of us get to be as carefree as normal students, do we? You're right, we should relax, but..."

Mamoru. And another blush at being called beautiful and now she's thinking of New Year's Eve again and the blush and-

Mai's hands come out of the water to slap at her cheeks, focus her attention. Immediately after, her right arm moves to cover up again. "...so, as you might guess, I kind of developed early. Not until after Mom died, but early enough. And...people say things, Eri-chan, when you stand out. Things like 'you need to cover up, those are distracting the other students'. Things like 'if anything happens to you, it's your fault for tempting people'." Mai's voice is bitter, hateful. "Never mind that it's not anything I - not anything anyone can control! It's more blame for something I couldn't help - so I covered up, I behaved, I acted cruel enough to classmates so they wouldn't try asking me out. I did all that because of all the things people would say about me and my...'beauty'..."

After spitting that last word out, she becomes quiet, brings her knees up to her chest, and just sits there for a moment. When she speaks again, it's low-key, a guilty admission. "...and then I turned around and said those same horrible things to Chiba-kun."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri's voice softens as Mai speaks about Takumi, she shifts even closer. She has the same urge to hug her, even with the awkwardness of the situation. "And you are." The smile forms on her expression, "You're the older sister I only 'wish' I had. You take care of him better than /anyone/ could expect you to, even your Mom. Okay?"

By the time Mai stops talking, Eri is sitting beside her, she's not touching, there's not that sort of invasion of her personal space. She just listens, and takes a deep breath, and then begins to speak, "Alright. I understand how you feel, but you have to take everything in context." She holds up a finger, out of the water, "You shouldn't be ashamed of the way you look. People telling you to cover up because you 'distract' people?" She meets Mai's eyes, "They're in the wrong. They taught you that people that act on the impulses are in the right. That it's okay to do those horrible things and objectify a person. And so you got conditioned to thinking you should fear people who look at you like that, when they should have been teaching those people to respect you."

Eri smiles slightly. "And so you fucked up. You were a hypocrite, but here's the important distinction. You /know/ you did. You /realized/ it. And you can apologize and fix it."

Eri then points that finger at Mai, "And so I'll take a line from Mikoto-chan on this one. 'Mai-chan is a good person.' I know this already, but you reinforced it because I can already tell you're going to do that."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

There was a brief moment, before Mai's spiel, where Eri was able to slip in those comments about her being a good 'big sister'. Words that help, a bit, and she gives Eri a smile at the idea of being her sister. But at the last comment, she looks down, and doesn't nod in agreement.

She stays curled up, even as Eri draws close - if anything she draws her knees in closer to hide her face. It takes several comments before she starts to look up again starts to meet Eri's eyes. She lets the younger girl finish, and swallows hard before responding.

"...I know. I haven't bothered complaining in years...Takumi would get angry, and I had to stop him from getting himself hurt for my sake. But...you say what they should have done." Mai's expression is, in a word, distraught. "...they won't. This kind of thing just keeps going, and we're all expected to put up with it, follow the guidelines that give them less to complain about."

She lowers her legs, moves to cover up her chest again - but after a moment, just lets that hand sink. "They're in the wrong, but we have to put up with them anyway. And I was horrible enough to decide the best payback was to use those same words against a genuinely great guy."

Eri's smiling at her. How can she still be smiling at her? "...I can try. Once we're done here, I'm going to sit down and write Chiba-san an apology email. Just write...what I wish I'd heard, I guess." Mai sighs, but tries to smile. "He's probably still talking to you, so - can I take you up on that offer of bringing him by Linden Baum later?"

The younger girl borrows Mikoto's line, and Mai simply nods. It's easier than correcting her. "Right. Right!"

Mai stretches out her arms, and ignores what this does to the rest of her. "Sorry for bringing things down so much. Do you want to try just relaxing for the rest of our time here?" Mai grins, and ruffles Eri's hair. "'Little sister'?"

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Silence, it lingers for a while, before Eri puts a hand upon her shoulder and gives it a light squeeze, and Eri decides that they could criticize the system all day and not get anywhere, "Mai-chan. You're genuinely beautiful, but I hope one day you find someone who looks past that. That you find a relationship based on mutual respect, and understanding. You deserve that." She puts up a finger her voice becoming playful, "That doesn't mean we have to stop talking about people we find attractive, like certain guys in kendo matches. I mean, I'd be a hypocrite then if I told you I didn't find that hot, even if I totally respect them for the people that they are. They're /both/ my friends after all, and nothing more than that."

There's a small pause, and then a nod, "Yeah, I haven't heard from him since New Years. I figure I mean, he tells me most of the time he spends his nights reading books. It's high time I drop him a line and see if he'll come out." ...Ooo awkward, if only she'd known how busy his social life had been since then.

And then she ruffles her hair, and Eri squeals a little, blowing some of her 'much longer hair than Mai's' and much soggier hair out of her eyes. "Yeah sure. Let's try to talk about positive things. Like, for example." Eri considers this for a while. Let's see, career, hobbies, romance, they all lead to /srs business. "...tell me about some of your favorite things. Like your favorite flower. Your favorite color, your favorite food. Things like that. For being a surrogate 'big sister' I sure don't know as much about you as I'd like to."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

...okay, so maybe Mai isn't done blushing. Admittedly it's nice to think about romance - in the abstract, anyway. In spite of all the excitement of New Year's, and Mai's ensuing confusion and wondering...really, no time for romance. None. Don't think too hard about what Eri's suggesting, about finding someone who understands her...frankly, she has a few people in her life already that seem to fulfill that role.

But when Eri holds up a finger, Mai grins in response. "Oh, I had an interesting debate with Watanabe-san on that issue. Personally, I don't find boys pulling risky stunts to be appealing at all - reliable-looking's probably the way to go for me. Dressed up nice and formal..." She winks. "But what about you - should I schedule trips to kendo matches for you, Eri-chan?"

...Mamoru Chiba is a dork, and Mai facepalms, ignoring the splash. "Right. When we're done here, give me fifteen minutes to write up that email and then he's all yours." Eri, however, is hilariously adorable when caught off-guard like that. "Well, I'm supposed to keep some secrets, right? But I don't know those same things about you, so we should probably go back and forth."

A friendly smile, as Mai starts thinking about those questions. "Favourite colour...I've always been partial to red, honestly. As for food, I'm not sure about favourite but it's been ages since I've had a good curry. I'd make it myself, but Mikoto..." And so forth, and so forth.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"Reliable is.. what I think I'd want..t.. Wait, what?" And suddenly there's a flush from Eri's nose, to her cheeks, to her forehead, and it's /all/ beet red, and definitely not from the steam. "N-No! That's okay! I'm um."

Eri coughs and slaps her forehead, "B-Baka!" Obviously directed at herself and not Mai. "I totally walked into that one!" Eri splashes her a little during that. "That was mean Mai-chan!" She pouts for a moment, crossing her arms over her own chest underwater, but it's obviously 'mock' pouting, and not for real.

"Alright, you get fifteen and then.. w-wait.. all...mi.." The flush returns, as she looks away sputtering again, "M-Mai-chan!" For a moment, due to mistaken ideas of what is going on, Eri thought she was implying that she and Mamoru were dating but that she's 'open' about having him see other people to tease her. Another splash, this one larger.

However she does calm down eventually. "Good start. Alright, my favorite color is green. My favorite food.. some good vegetarian okonomiyaki. I know that sounds weird! Most people think I'm weird, okonomiyaki without octopus? They act like 'what's the point!?' but I like it!" And she trails off as well, time for some innocuous bonding time, in the hot springs, which they could both use before Mai has to go to work.