2014-05-08 - A Second Orange-Haired Protector

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Title: A Second Orange-Haired Protector

Collision plus panic times cursory resemblance equals friendship. Believe in miracles.


Mai Tokiha, Shiori Takatsuki


Mitakihara General Hospital

OOC - IC Date:

10 January 2014 - 5/8/14

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

The sun is low in the sky as the glass doors of Mitakihara General Hospital slide open, permitting a single person egress. Mai makes her way slowly outside, red scarf pulled up to hide her face from January's chill winds - her footsteps slow and dejected. It's been a dynamic evening - an admittedly fun study session cut short by a message from Takumi's doctor, asking her to drop by before the end of the day.

Sadly, the news wasn't positive. There had been hopes of a potential donor, but preliminary blood work made it clear it wouldn't have been compatible with Takumi - the doctor simply wanted to give her the bad news in person, to pass on at her leisure. Which...is something she'll have to do, but for now she's just walking.

Another setback in the one thing she can assert she's doing - and nothing in her power can improve things. This on top of the emotional rollercoaster that has been the week or so since New Year's, on top of classes, and more diner shifts on the horizon. Why is Mamoru being so serious, now that the term's started?

So, as glass doors close behind her, Mai is ready to just take a short walk. Enjoy the sunset, take in some January air, think about how to handle everything going on.

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The fading sunlight makes the walkway towards the main entrance colorful, moreso than usual, in fact--though it is certainly kept clean and tidy by the hospital staff. Even in winter, there's an effort to make it look lively, like anything but... Well, a hospital.

For some reason, people tend not to find hospitals all that pleasant for the most part, even state-of-the-art, lovely design works like this one. Regardless, it's terribly easy not to appreciate.

Shiori Takatsuki, for instance, doesn't appreciate it at all. The purple-haired girl is wearing her Infinity uniform, the high school greens and reds of dimmer color than the sky at the moment. Whatever Mai is thinking about, Shiori is also apparently considering something weighty, as the thin, almost frail-looking girl walks slowly towards the hospital, her steps clacking against the ground and her face pointed toward the ground. She is not looking where she is going.

'Where she is going' is where Mai Tokiha is.

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

Mai's looking up; Shiori's looking down. Such terrible pedestrians these two students are - Mai is lost in her thoughts enough that she collides full on with the frail-looking girl. It's winter enough that the walkways are just that slightest bit treacherous - Mai stumbles a few steps, waving her arms to keep her balance. Somehow, she's still standing...

...but the person she hit might not be. Face pale behind her scarf, Mai looks around for her fellow pedestrian - calling out when she's spotted. "I'm so sorry, I didn't see you there- are you all right?"

In this late afternoon light, her hair's orange shows brilliantly.

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Likewise, Shiori doesn't even see the sudden stop coming. She's knocked backward, slipping on the treacherous walkway and falling to the ground in a tumble. Shiori's arms go out to catch herself, but she does a poor job, on the whole; when Mai looks around, she'll be able to easily see the Infinity student on the ground, seated (if roughly) with her arms behind her. Dazed, she does still seem to be moving, trying to get her bearings, as Mai speaks up.

There's a blink; Shiori looks up, only to see a beautiful color lit by the sun. She blinks--and then for some reason, looks furiously downward, red with presumable embarrassment.

"Oh--I-I'm sorry, I--I should have been watching where I was going, I--I'm so sorry--"

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

"No, no, entirely my fault! I was caught up in - never mind, are you hurt?" Flustered to nearly the point of panic, Mai crouches down near Shiori. Nothing on the Ohtori girl is injured, save perhaps her pride - and that seems to be getting put aside. Her voice is a bit muffled by the scarf, and she takes a second to pull it down before extending a helping hand. "Would you like some help?"

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Shiori doesn't have any bones sticking out or anything, no obvious issues--her tights that are her uniform concession to the cold aren't ripped so one can assume no terrible scrapes there. But 'pride' is something entirely different; she seems, at best, to be attempting to become invisible, before she sees that hand.

"I-I'm fine," she insists, but hesitates, before taking the hand as offered. In fact, the heel of her hand is bleeding a bit, with a bit of gravel still stuck to it; a minor scrape, but still a scrape. She may not have noticed, considering her focus. "You're... You go to.." She stops, "I'm sorry. I'm just so clumsy, I wasn't even looking. B-but I'm fine, really. I'm.."

She hesitates, again, watching Mai.

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

Mai seems oblivious to the attention - her face is pale throughout Shiori's inspection, her mind clearly on something else. When the hand is taken, Mai does her best to help the Infinity student to her feet - releasing the hand once both of them are standing again. "No, I had my head in the clouds, it's my faul-"

...blood? Mai sees the smear left on her hand from the grip, and takes up Shiori's hand again. "Are you sure? It looks like you scraped it...don't have bandages on me, but I might at least have a handkerchief..." She goes to check her pocket - then looks up at the building she just departed. "...unless you were already heading to the hospital, in which case I'm even more sorry..."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Shiori is very easy to help up; she's quite light, and those prone to flights of fancy might even suspect she isn't there at all, some sort of trick of the wind. But she's up now, and Mai cuts herself off to take Shiori's hand back; the other girl offers not even token resistance to the motion.

"R-really, it's nothing, I--" She stops, and blinks, looking down at her hand. "...Oh." The sight of her own blood is apparently something of some interest to her. She stops at the implication that she'd been going, "No, no, it doesn't matter. I--"

"...You're an Ohtori student, aren't you?"

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

Far, far too easy to help her up. Mai finds a pack of paper handkerchiefs in one pocket - probably left over from some promotion or other. It might at least help clean up a bit - though Mai's rather sheepish as she offers them. "...yes, oh. Didn't you notice your hand hurt- well, it is cold out, that might be why." She reaches out for Shiori's other hand, to check it for injury as well before she starts doing something about the one scrape she knows about.

At the mention of Mai's school, she does finally pause - and her face goes from pale to a slight flush. "Er, yes. Mai Tokiha, tenth year." A belated introduction, but one all the same - and something that's finally slowed down Mai's flustered worrying for three seconds.

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Ah, I... I really should have, you're right," Shiori replies, seemingly shy about her apparent failure to do a normal person thing like notice that she's hurt. "Oh, you really don't have to--" Her other hand is a bit red, but the skin isn't actually broken; most of her weight clearly came down on the original hand. It's true that it is cold out, of course, which could be another reason for distraction.

Shiori watches Mai a moment at the flush, though. "Oh... I thought so. W-well, I mean, why else would you wear the uniform, right? ...oh, ah... I'm Shiori Takatsuki," she says. "Tenth year. ...A-at Infinity, that is. I went to Ohtori when I was younger, but--"

She's in the other uniform now.

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

Mai winces. "...problems with the other students? I can only imagine - I used to go to Juuban, but circumstances, ah, changed." She seems a bit sheepish about the whole affair, and shifts her attention back to fussing over Shiori's hands.

The second is uninjured - though she double-checks to make sure before releasing it. Back to the scraped hand. First, carefully remove the gravel; then, check for any other contaminants; finally, wrap a tissue loosely around it to at least deal with the blood for now. "Okay, it looks all right, but we- er, you should probably wash it to make sure there's no dirt in there." Experience speaks.

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The question about the other students, even casual, gets more than a wince from Shiori in return; her expression falls immediately, even from hesitant where she was a moment ago. "..." ...She doesn't quite manage to say anything about it in the moment, but, well, she's a captive audience; she has time to wait a moment to get her composure.

"Oh... Thank you," Shiori replies, looking down at her hand. "You're really good at this. I probably just would have gone on home without thinking much about it," she admits a bit glumly. "I--"

"...You might say it was problems with the other students," she allows. "But it was really just with me. You don't... No, that's a silly question."

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

Mai double-checks her handiwork. "It's just temporary, I don't even have bandages on me today - but make sure you rinse it with water. Even if it's a minor thing, you need to take care of yourself. I know it's just a scrape, but-" The motherly tone cuts off, and Mai slaps her forehead. "Sorry, that was out of place for me - I'm used to taking care of my little brother, is all." ...and surrogate sisters and/or roommates and/or Mamoru Chiba's eating habits....

A bit flushed from her brief fussing and subequent embarrassment, Mai's caught off guard by the...well, not-a-question. "...I'm currently attending Ohtori, I know how students there can be at times. And...silly or not, ask away. Whatever you're wondering, that is." Mai looks over Shiori, thoughts already racing. Was she bullied by others? Did she get her heart broken?

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"It's all right," Shiori says with a small smile. "You're a very kind person, to think about that for someone you only just met, especially if you're already used to taking care of someone." Her voice is quiet, but sincere; there's an undercurrent of being impressed, of all things, rather than only appreciative.

"I guess that's true," the Infinity student admits. "They can be cruel. But, in that case, I... Do you... Know Juri-san?"

She pauses, and almost meets Mai's eyes before looking back down. "She might not even be in your class, I just... since we're in the same year, I... I wondered."

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

Mai flushes at the compliment. "I...You wouldn't have fallen if I hadn't had my head in the clouds...it's the normal thing to do, right?" Making up for her own mistakes. She shakes her head, and has to stop to think the question over.

"Juri...Arisugawa, do you mean? I've heard of her - she's the Student Council Treasurer - but I barely talk to anyone in my class most of the time. And from what I've seen of her, she's kind of...hard to approach." Mai frowns at the downcast Shiori. "Sorry. Was she your friend before you transferred, or..."

...or a bully?

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"I'm not so sure," is all Shiori says about it being normal, not quie prepared to atively argue with Mai now that they're all reasonable and talking and everything. It's a bit of an intimidating prospect. ...And besides, it's obvious when Mai starts to answer that the question of this 'Juri' is important; Shiori's eyes lock onto Mai then, and she listens slightly leaned further without realizing it.

"Oh... I-I see. I'm sorry, it's not like Ohtori is so small that--" 'Was she...?'

"She..." Shiori's shoulders compress slightly, and she glances to the side, anywhere that isn't having to look at another person. "She protected me," Shiori explains. "But I... I threw all of that away."

She stands where she is a moment as if she's forgotten Mai is there at all.

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

Mai is taken aback by the intensity of Shiori's stare - so much so, the topic of the injured hand leaves her mind entirely. All she can do is stare for a moment - and then glance to the other side, to give what privacy she can in a vulnerable moment. "...sorry. It's hard to find people there, sometimes - I've had weeks go by without a chance to even find out how my little brother is doing in the middle school."

Mai is quiet for a moment. Then, hesitant - without looking directly at Shiori - she makes an offer. "I could...try to pass on a message. The next time I see her, that is."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

This is not exactly a good day for Shiori to begin with; the daze she was in while walking is one she can easily slip back into, and indeed has, for a few moments. Mai's voice brings her back out of it, however, "Oh--Ah, I'm sorry. It's--"

That offer is there, and Shiori's eyes widen. "No!" she insists, crossing her arms about herself instinctiely, as if against some cold other than the weather. "I-I mean, you... don't have to to that. It's all right. I've said too much already. ...We've just met, and you have... Your brother?" she confirms.

"The middle school is lovely, at least. I hope he's doing well."

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

Oh great, she said the wrong thing again. Flustered for a moment, Mai can only nod. "Right! Sorry, I'll keep quiet. Just-" She shakes her head to try to ward off any further verbal stumbles.

"...yeah, my younger brother. Seventh year, and as far as I've heard things are going well for him." A little too well, given that there have been at least a couple of high schoolers perving on him... Her expression, already clear with embarrassment, becomes crestfallen as she looks at the hospital again. "...though I have to give him a bit of bad news. Not that we were getting our hopes up too high this time..."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

If Mai knew the truth--well, the truth is complicated, so forget that much. In the moment instead, Mai confirms that she won't try to press, and Shiori sighs with relief. "I just... I'm sure she doesn't want to hear from me."

But, Mai's brother. "Oh, that's good," Shiori starts, a little brightness creepig into her tone, before the rest sinks in. "Oh... I'm sorry to hear that." She hesitates, and then takes a step forward. There's another little hesitation. Is Mai sick, then? After all she's already said, and after the way she looks, and...

"...Believe in miracles," Shiori says softly, instead. She looks up at Mai, eyes clear, and continues fervently in that same gentle tone, "Don't give up. As long as you keep believing, I'm sure things will turn around for you, Tokiha-san."

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

Mai frowns. It seems like things are awkward...and it isn't her place to say anything. Perhaps best she doesn't ask further...

...Shiori's encouragement has Mai looking up, blinking owlishly. "...you really think so?" Slowly, her face brightens, until there's a content smile. "...that's all I really can do for him, isn't it? Just keep holding out hope...thank you, Takatsuki-san. I needed that." Takumi getting a new heart would be a miracle, but...one can hope, right?

Mai lets out a sigh. "Honestly, thanks. It's been a long week, and this news just...yeah. I'll hope for things to get better for him." She gives Shiori a smile - one that suddenly turns sheepish. "...and sorry for knocking you over. Seriously, is there anything I can do to help, any messages you want passed on...?"

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Shiori doesn't continue on the topic of her friend from before she moved schools; instead, Mai looks to her, and Shiori smiles to see Mai accept what she has to say. "I think it's important, to remember that," is what she says to the thanks. "I'm happy that it could help you, even a little."

A long week, though? At least Shiori has had one, too. "Ah...? Oh, really, I don't mind! I... Well, I don't know who'd want to hear from me," she admits. "But... Well... If you want... Maybe we could talk again sometime." Pause, "I mean--well, going to Infinity, it's a little lonely. I don't really fit in very well. But... If you're too busy, then that's fine. It's really all right either way."

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

Mai winces at the admission - but nods, and starts digging for her cellphone. "I'd be fine with that. It's...I've made a few friends, but I find it hard to fit in at Ohtori. I work as a waitress part-time, whereas most of the students seem to regard that as beneath them. It's...awkward, and having to run straight from class to work doesn't help." She shakes her head, and gets ready to exchange numbers. "Life's...busy, but I don't mind talking sometimes."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"A lot of them will look down on anything, given even half a chance," Shiori commisserates. She slips her own phone into her hand, though she winces a moment as she remembers the scrape on it thanks to the sudden push. "I don't have that situation, but... I might understand a little." A pause, and she has her phone all ready, too. "....That's great, then. And it's all right. Just whenever you have time, I'm happy to hear from you."

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

"You can say that again..." Mai winces in sympathy, and glances at Shiori's hand as she sets up the exchange of contact information. "Same to you - if you need a sympathetic ear, give me a shout. ...email's easier than calling, though, my work schedule is kind of unpredictable. But I'll chat when I can."

Worry crosses her face. "Try to be careful - and remember, rinse the injury before bandaging it properly. You don't want to risk even something minor getting infected." She's about to continue - realizes that her 'mothering' voice was coming out again, and facepalms. "Sorry about that. I have a habit of worrying."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Oh, then that works out. Writing mail is kind of relaxing, anyway." Well, no, it's nerve-wracking and makes her worry, but so does talking a lot of the time, so it isn't exactly worse. "I don't have work or anything, so you can try anytime."

Mai worries, and Shiori actually laughs very softly. "You do worry, don't you?" she says, a little more brightly. "I don't mind. I'll make sure to do just that as soon as I get home." She steps back, then, and out of the way, to smile and let Mai go on her way.

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

Mai nods - thinking more or less the same thing. Nerve-wracking mails, but about as bad as half her conversations in all honesty. "All right. Be careful, the sidewalks are slipper-"

As Mai sets off, she hits an icy patch, and has to flail her arms a moment to stay standing. She manages to avoid tumbling, though, and gives Shiori a wry grin. "...case in point. Take care!"

And it's off, back to Ohtori, to give Takumi the news and then get ready for tomorrow's work shift.