2014-05-26 - But It Doesn't Taste Like Coffee

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: But It Doesn't Taste Like Coffee

Shiori and Mai have a little get-together to catch up in the wake of revelations, enjoy cake, and discuss relationships they don't have.


Mai Tokiha, Shiori Takatsuki


Park near Linden Baum

OOC - IC Date:

19 January 2014 - 5/26/14

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

"Good luck with the afternoon crowd!" Mai waves to her coworkers as she exits the doors of the Linden Baum diner. The usual morning crowd, compounded by not having slept all that much the night before, has her a bit worn. Still, she's able to summon up some degree of good cheer - it wasn't a terrible shift, she's got something approaching reasonable hours for the coming week, and most importantly nothing seems to have gone horribly wrong with Takumi overnight.

The brief text exchange with Shiori means that Mai isn't going home immediately. She's in something other than her uniform for once - battered orange coat, jeans, scarf, and a pair of gloves that doesn't quite fit her. In one arm, she's cradling a Linden Baum takeout box, and she adjusts its weight as she makes her way to the nearby park. Hopefully her usual bench by the drink vending machine will be free...

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

Unfortunately, the bench is not free.

Fortunately, that's because one Shiori Takatsuki is sitting in it, quietly looking down at the grass in thought over something or another that's hard to really get without a sudden crash-course in mind-reading. None is forthcoming. She's dressed in normal clothes for today, however, since it's not a school day. A knee-length skirt and a pair of solid boots against the cold, a delicate light top and a jacket over that for the same reason; Shiori suits the season fairly well.

She glances up, though, at the sound of the box moving, and happens to see Mai approach. Lifting a hand, she waves, a small motion, and smiles slightly. "Ah! Mai-chan," she greets.

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

Mai spies the bench being full first, and only recognizes just who's waiting after; it is thus with a bright wave that she greets her friend. "Shiori-chan! Sorry to have kept you waiting, there was some last-minute cleanup." She sets her box down next to Shiori before taking a seat on the other side of it.

Mai takes a moment to take off her gloves and loosen her scarf. "It's a bit warmer than I was expecting - I might have overprepared. Anyway - before anything else, this is for you." She indicates the box with a nod. "There was a 'coffee cake' on special today, so I thought I'd get you a slice."

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

"Oh, is that so? I don't mind," she answers simply. The box does get a glance, but Shiori knows better than to say much about it until after Mai's sat down, and--well, she certainly wasn't expecting..!

"I don't know, after the other day, I thought about bringing an extra scarf." It's true. "Ah--oh, really? You shouldn't have!" she insists, but takes the box cheerfully, looking down at it. "Aah, but I guess it would be wrong not to accept cake, right?" She laughs, but lets that die off in a moment regardless, looking at Mai a little more seriously.

"So... the other day. Is everything all right?"

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

Mai pauses, halfway through loosening the scarf, and finally leaves it where it is. Loose enough that she can breathe, in any event. For a moment, she flashes a wry grin. "Oh, terribly wrong. Part of the secret society of waitresses is a sworn duty to punsh those who don't accept cake!" Her laughter dies off as Shiori's does, and her gaze flickers down to the grass below.

"I heard from the hospital - Takumi seems to be fine. He should be able to go back to class tomorrow, which is a relief. And I...don't think he knows exactly what happened, other than that he collapsed." Mai finally raises her head to look at Shiori a bit more directly. "What about you? I didn't have a chance to check that you were all right after everything, I was kind of rushed..."

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

"Ooh, how scary!" Shiori giggles in reply, both hands gently on the sides of her new box of cake. She'll just let it rest where it is for the moment, "I wouldn't want that."

But she actually shows interest in the answer, inclining her head. Takumi, who she was able to help. "I'm glad," she answers, and at him not knowing... She frowns a little. "That's probably for the best. It would be awful to wake up and have to think about all that, wouldn't it...?" And--ah. Her?

"Oh, I'm fine," she insists, waving a hand. "But you! You were really impressive back there. I... Well, it's more than I would have even expected. You really must care a lot."

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

Mai flushes, face burning red. Not bright enough to match her hair, but noticeable all the same. "I... Takumi's precious to me. It's only the two of us now, and he's been weak for years - so when it comes to protecting him, there's little I won't do. But..." She wraps her arms around herself for a moment, and shivers, looking down. "That...'Cardiax' thing. Wearing his face, using his voice...even after finding the real one, it was saying things that I'd always feared my brother was thinking. I couldn't..."

Mai looks up to Shiori's face, and the flush has been replaced with sincerity. "And in more ways than one, you saved me. Reminded me that there was more at stake than myself - and then whatever you did to make it reveal what it really was. So thank you, Shiori-chan. For everything."

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

Red? Now that is a surprise. Shiori tilts her head a little, but she doesn't comment or tease when the serious matter continues. Takumi, then. "I see... It must be hard. Hearing someone you care about say such things, be so cruel... Even if it isn't really him." Shiori speaks softly, sympathetically, even.

When Mai is looking back up at her, though, the purple-haired girl seems more... surprised, than anything. "Me? ...No, I really didn't do anything," she replies, with a shake of her head. "Really. ...I fought a little, but I didn't do anything important."

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

Even though it wasn't him - even though they weren't actually his words - the fact remains that it's something Takumi could, even should be saying to Mai. But... "He would have been right to be angry - things aren't fair for him. He just bears it well, never complains..."

Mai reaches out, cautiously, and if undeterred lays her hand on Shiori's. "If you hadn't charged in, hadn't put yourself at risk for my sake... I'm not sure I could have fought back. You reminded me that I have to keep faith that things will go better for Takumi, that all the dreadful things that monster was saying won't..." She looks down again.

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

"...I see," Shiori replies again. It seems to be something she has to say a lot, at the moment. "I... Well, maybe I understand a little," she offers. "I'm sorry."

Shiori doesn't move; in fact, she goes still, surprised by the motion. "...?" Mai speaks, and Shiori blinks, seemingly uncomprehending. "I--Really? ...I..."

"You really think I helped? What I said... It mattered, to you?"

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

Mai fixes Shiori with her gaze. "What you said, what you did...you shouldn't have had to do it, but you did anyway. It really does mean a lot to me. So again - thank you. For putting yourself at risk, and for encouraging me."

She glances to the box in Shiori's hands, and smiles a little. "A slice of cake isn't much reward, sorry."

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

"I..." Shiori smiles, slightly, but doesn't look up at Mai, so it's sort of hard to see her expression, really. "Well, I... I'm happy that I could help you, then. I don't mind. A little risk... It's okay. You just have to keep believing, right?"

A laugh, "Well, maybe if we shared a litle, the cake might be better? I don't think I could eat the whole thing on my own."

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

Mai nods, and finally takes her hand off of Shiori's. "Just...be careful, okay? I don't like seeing people hurt on my behalf. Especially when they're friends." She gives the girl a smile of her own, even if Shiori isn't looking to see it. "And I'll do just that - keep on believing. Hopefully, this will be the year..."

The smile, briefly shadowed by thoughts of Takumi's fate, abruptly turns into a chuckle. "Now, that's something I get to hear a lot. You know, I actually haven't had the chance to try the coffee cake yet - I've just heard it was good. If you don't mind sharing your prize, that is!"

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

"So... we're friends," Shiori repeats. "All right. I'll be careful. Besides, it's not like I'm very strong. I just... I saw how much you must have cared, and I heard what was going on, and I... had to do something. It... Well, it sort of said something to me, that's all. I understand... what it's lie, to have troubles with someone you care about."

This will be the year?

"Keep believing. I'm sure it will be."

"Oh, you haven't? And you work there! Well, that's just the worst. I think it's better with someone to share it with, anyway. Besides, it'll probably wreck my diet if I go too far. Come on, let's have some!" She, of course, moves to open the box.

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

"Er, well, if you want to be." Mai coughs, slightly embarrassed. "Just that your words helped before, and it's a nice change of pace to meet someone outside all...that stuff. I suppose I should have asked first, I just..." She dope-slaps herself in the head, and shifts her attention to the box because isn't that a helpful distraction?

The dessert item within the box is a decently-sized wedge of cake. Dense, streaked with cinnamon sugar, and topped with crumbly brown sugar and a drizzle of icing. The whole dessert looks solid enough that it could be picked up by hand, if need be. Still, next to the napkin the wedge rests on, the restaurant has seen fit to include a white plastic fork and knife set.

"Good, it didn't get squashed on the way. It looked good enough to try, at any rate." Mai leans back a bit, to give Shiori space to finish unfolding the box, and considers what she said about troubles. Who could she be talking about?... "...by the way, I did see Arisugawa-san in class the other day. If you ever want me to pass something on..."

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

"I'd like that, Mai-chan." Shiori might be a little embarrassed, too--if nothing else, her shyness has only grown in the last few moments. ...Mostly, anyway. "I don't know if you can really just ask, if you want to be friends. It's sort of a weird question, isn't it?"

Ooh. Shiori blinks at this cake that may well be more solid than she is, considering that she maintains the uncanny ability to look like she might blow away at any time. She finishes unfolding the box, pulling out the little utensil set, and offers it first to Mai.

"I..." Is that fear? "I don't know. I don't think she wants to hear from me. I... I can't really blame her. It's my fault."

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

Mai laughs, clearly embarrassed herself. "Sorry. It is, kind of - just, the last few friends I've made have been strange circumstances. Even compared to 'accidentally knocked her over, then got caught in an ice labyrinth'." She rubs the back of her head.

The cake does look pretty solid - and Mai's been serving them all day, even if she hasn't had a taste. Working carefully, she tries to slice - or saw - the treat in half, resulting in two half-sized wedges for the price of one. There's only so far that can easily go with plastic tools, though; the tip of the cake crumbles a bit unexpectedly, marring the appearance of one half.

"...oops. Here, you take the half that turned out better." Mai offers back the tools, considering Shiori's fear with a frown. "Did she - sorry, I won't pry. Just let me know if you ever change your mind, okay? I don't mind being a go-between - I've got experience in dealing with angry customers, after all."

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

"Really? Then those have to be weird. I dunno how you'd really top those." She speaks a little more animatedly now, as if thawing out slightly after thsi whole friendship thing starts to get sorted out. Mai works on the cake, and...

Take the better one?

"Oh, well--" She pauses, and then, "Okay." She smiles at the cake anyway, accepting her fork and cutting off a small bite-to-be. She waits on it, though, as Mai answers, "Huh?" Oh. She won't pry. "...Thanks. I... Well, you probably won't like me much, if I tell you. But I..." She considers.

"No... I'm... I'm not really ready, you know?"

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

Mai considers which example to use, and finally holds up a single finger. "Well, in one case - near-drowning, followed by a mysterious gunman attack, discovering I had powers, and a ferry getting bisected. That one's kind of hard to top." She folds the finger down, and considers. "And I swear half the guys in my life, I met by nearly bludgeoning them first. Honestly, I think you're the most normal friend I have."

Mai is a bit less civilized - life with Mikoto taking its toll - and simply breaks off the crumbled end of her slice with her fingers. It's intact enough to use that way - and besides, there's only the one fork. Shiori's explanation - or lack thereof - is met with a solemn nod. "I...kind of understand. There's things I don't like to talk about either - even more than my brother's health. So - no worries."

Mai refrains from explaining further by trying the morsel of cake. Tasty...not really coffee-flavoured, though, is it?

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

Near-drowning. That's almost normal. Then it stops being normal. Shiori instead finds her eyes widening at the relation of these stories. "A ferry...? Really? I had no idea." A beat. Oh, right, men. "Mm, most guys I know are pretty boring, to be honest. Sort of all the same, you know?" She laughs, anyway, "I'm not surprised. I'm pretty normal, really."

Shiori takes her small bite and chews it daintily, just a little bit to start, and sighs. It /is/ good. For a moment, she focuses on that. ...Well, not a full moment. She can't keep her thoughts away from the matter at hand. "Thanks. I... Later."

It /is/ tasty. But doesn't coffee cake pair with coffee, rather than being coffee-flavored? In fact... "Oh!" she starts. "We should have drinks--here, I'll get something from the machine for us. You brought the cake, right?"

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

Almost normal. And then not. Such is life with Mikoto. As for guys... "You know, there are days I'd take boring - at least, over 'lurks in dark alleys' or 'calls girls delicious'." Takeo does not catch a break from her. But hey, at least Shiori's normal, right? "That's good to know. There are times I think I'm stuck living in interesting times."

Drama can wait, and Mai simply nods in acknowledgement. The cake deserves priority - and Shiori has pointed out what's missing. Mai's about to volunteer to get the drinks herself, but...fair is fair, right? "If it's no trouble - I like the brand of hot coffee this machine has. Hang on, I'll give you some change..." It's cheap enough to cover with what tips she does get, so she should have the coins somewhere in her pocket.

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

"Ugh, don't get me started on the ones in all the dark alleys, or brooding on rooftops, or whatever. Sometimes it's like, why even bother, right?" Pause. "...I mean, obviously you've gotta bother. But sometimes, that's all I'm saying." Because Shiori is a perfectly normal girl. "But I dunno, I get the feeling you're the sort of person who'd liven up somewhere just being there, right? I mean, you're so... "

Hmm, what's the word?

"You really stand out."

Caaake. Shiori waves it off, though, "I already got it out. You can get it next time!" Moments later, she is back on the bench, with two of that variety of coffee and a smile.

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

It's almost like she knows Mamoru - Mai can't help but giggle. "Well, I'll bother at some point, but I've got enough to deal with right now without even bringing romance into things." She does flash a grin. "Though there's things to appreciate, I suppose."

The comment of Mai standing out flusters her a moment - long enough to fumble the pocket-work, and for Shiori to get away. She's recovered by the time the coffee is brought over, and she tries to pick up where they left off - opening her can, of course. "Thanks - and I'll make sure to do that. As for standing out...thanks? It's not something I do on purpose..." Continuing would be awkward, so Mai focuses on taking a sip of coffee instead.

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

That would just be /too/ much of a coincidence, wouldn't it? "Aw, romance is supposed to be something you do to relax, right? It should be fun!" ...Appreciate, hmm? "Ooh, Mai-chan, now it sounds like you've got someone you're thinking of after all!"

She obviously amps up the drama as only a teenager can, here--but given the chance, she finishes the coffee quite handily, even reading the instructions about how to heat this can up. She opens hers, too. "Nah, I don't think you do. It's just natural for you, right? I mean, come on. You're pretty, and you're so... decisive, you know? I bet it just happens."

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

Mai flushes, face burning bright. "It's - he's just a friend. There's another girl he's interested in anyway, and I think they'd be good together. So I don't want to get in the way." She focuses on the cake for the moment, breaking off a piece. "Besides, it's good to have friends too."

...of course, being called pretty doesn't help the redness. "It's not exactly something I can help - and I've gotten more experience than I ever wanted in telling off pushy guys." She quickly swallows another bite of cake, and changes the subject. "What about you, Shiori-chan? Any passionate romances on your end, lately?"

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

"Oh," Shiori answers, pausing a moment, her coffee in hand warmer than her eyes right then. "Well, that makes sense. It'd be... wrong, to get in the way, right?" She shakes her head, "Whew, I guess maybe the hot drink was a good idea, right?" She sips some immediately, as if it were just th chill.

And besides, something else to focus on, "Haha, see, see? I new it! Mai-chan's just the special type." Beat, "Uugh, right? Like, when they just can't take the hint? Seriously."

"Oh, me? ...Not really," she sighs, smoother this time. "There was... well, there was somebody, but I think he's into someone else, instead. ...You'll think it's dumb, too. Tenoh-san, the racer. He goes to Infinity when he's not busy with his cars, or whatever." Siigh.

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

"The coffee was a great call - thanks for getting it! I'll cover it next time, honest." Mai takes another sip, then sets the can down to her side. "So yeah. Besides, I wouldn't have stood a chance anyway - he's got it bad." .

Shiori's lovelife is a bit more fun of a topic - though Mai's not quite up to full teasing. And she seems kind of embarrassed. "That - yeah, it sounds like the same boat I'm in. Sorry to hear about that, Shiori-chan." Mai taps her chin as she tries to recall. "I think I've heard that name somewhere...but I don't know too many people from Infinity." Or too many people in general, honestly.

As for pushy guys, Mai could rant all day - but she settles for a bit of grumbling. "At least the Linden Baum customers aren't too bad. Most of them have gotten the hint, and the manager's pretty could about banning people who are too pushy. I swear, though, some of my middle school classmates..."

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

"Sure, sure," Shiori says about the coffee, seemingly unconcerned as her voice and little hand gesture shoo the matter away quite effectively. She 'hmms' a little at Mai's explanation, but can do little more than commiserate a bit, frankly.

"It's okay," Shiori replies, glancing up to the sky. "It's not like I really had a chance with somebody like him anyway. It was fun to think about for a while, though. ...Besides, the person I think he's into, she suits him better. She's so... elegant, and talented, and smart, and she's beautiful even in our uniform. And she plays the violin, too--but she keeps going to school anyway." Siigh.

Oh. Right.

"Um, well, y-you know. I just... We're classmates, so I hear about him. That's all."

"Oh, do they bug you there, too? I guess they would, huh?" A pause, "Haha, even back then? Well, of course. I had more going on back then, too. I..." /That/. "Well, anyway, my romances are boring. I'm glad you like the coffee! I really like the cake." And she starts eating more. Lots more.

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

Mai will be returning the coffee favor. Honest.

Shiori waxes poetic about the mysterious Tenoh-san, and the girl he's apparently into. It does get Mai thinking about a few things. "Well, you could always just try to get to know one of them. I mean, worst case, you might make a couple of new friends, but you never know. Maybe they're not dating, or are close because they're cousins or something." Mai shrugs one shoulder, and has another bite of cake. "Mm. But it's all on you, and I won't push."

As for middle school woes, Mai grumbles. "I kind of grew up quickly, and guys can be idiots." Not days to reflect on fondly - but there's always the now. "But hey, that's more or less behind me and I'm more confident in telling people off now. Cake's pretty good - I can bug the staff to make it available more often, if you want." A smirk, a palpable smirk. "The manager tends to be kind of hands-off, one of my classmates seems to be in charge of the kitchen more often than not."

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

Of course, of course.

"That's true, isn't it? It can't hurt. ...Actually, I'm already friends with Kaioh-san. We share a few classes, and got to talk more back on the trip. But, it's hard to get a straight answer out of her about this stuff. She really likes to be mysterious." Hmm. "You might be right, though. I mean, I guess it's too late to give up, huh...? I mean, if they're related, that's totally different."

Mai is such a good friend.

Shiori glances Mai's way again, and can imagine precisely what Mai means by that. "It's almost weird to think of you as /not/ able to. You're so strong." But--ooh, cake. "...Haha, really?? Well, I can't say no to a little secret extra cake, hmm?"

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

"I've got classmates like that - mysterious, almost like they're trying to be incomprehensible. So - best of luck in getting a straight answer." Mai pauses, frowning in thought. "There's always the chance that they are together, of course - but hey, you'll never know if you don't find out yourself, right?" She's brightened again by the end of her ponderings, and takes another sip of her coffee to wet her throat.

"I was more..." Shy? Timid? Normal? "...quiet, once. I just gained more responsibility, and couldn't let other people interfere with it, I guess." She looks down into her can of coffee. "I kind of have a reputation as a spoilsport - I've had people ask me out on dates, or just to hang out as friends - but I'd always decline because I was busy. So they'd stop asking, after a while." She looks up again, and smiles. "I know they were trying, I just...couldn't afford the time. It's a bit better now, Takumi's more able to take care of himself, but the damage is done."

Mai takes another bite of cake, and sighs in satisfaction. "I think I'd have to tell Kazu it's a hit regardless - I'll send you a text when I know they're having it next. Linden Baum's menu is kind of ever-changing - it's kind of a pain, especially when I have to tell someone 'sorry, we don't have that any more'!"

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

"Oh, you too?" Well, it /is/ Ohtori, of course. Perhaps she shouldn't be so surprised. All the same, the optimism is sort of infectious, and Shiori appreciates it. "I'll keep trying after all! I'll tell you if it works out~!"

But still, that explanation... Quiet? Mai? Because of... Oh. "I see," she answers. "...Well, I guess not really. I've never had something like that. ...I'm just sort of out here, living on my own, you know? ...I admire that you can keep track of so much. So I don't think you're some sort of spoilsport. And anybody who does, well, screw 'em, right?"

Mm, cake. "Ooh, you're the best, Mai-chan!"