2014-09-10 - Maybe Love Isn't About What You Deserve

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Title: Maybe Love Isn't About What You Deserve

In the aftermath of demonic possession, Mai is in the hospital recovering. She's in a bit of a funk, but Eri's helpful in lifting her spirits.


Mai Tokiha, Eri Shimanouchi


Mitakihara General Hospital

OOC - IC Date:

11 March 2014 (Backdated) - 09/10/2014

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

Mitakihara General Hospital offers rooms with relative privacy. While private, this can mean solitude if there's no immediate care required - and Mai's biggest ailment was sheer exhaustion. She's under observation, technically, but barring a sudden arrest to breathing there's no need to have constant attendance.

This means that she's been alone in her room all day. It's a school day - an exam day, specifically - and even Mikoto had no excuse for missing them. This kind of situation counts as an excuse, but...she's completely alone. Time to rest, catch some sleep, and get caught up in her own thoughts.

There's a lot to think about. Interruption might be welcome.

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

Welcome back to the hospital Eri. If this place didn't have well over forty units, she'd swear she was learning all of the nurse's names. The rhythmic electronic beeps and boops and occasional alarms followed her as she traversed down the hallway from the secretary's desk to the room that she'd pointed out with a vague wave. She had a visitor's badge on, which was really just a bright yellow gaudy sticker on the front of her poofy teal and white uniform. She had a bookbag with her, she should be studying, the likelihood of that happening while she was here was about the same as Kyouko refusing food.

At the door she didn't hesitate, she rapped a few times immediately with an anxious tempo that belied the calm look on her expression. Waiting for Mai's affirmation to come in, she moved inside, then pushed the privacy curtain away, just enough for her to open it and close it back. "Hey Mai-chan." The smile she wears is a half-truth at best, put on like the visitor's sticker on her uniform, her gaze sweeping from the head board to the foot of the bed.

Not long after she moves to sit on the side of the bed, the chairs were just a bit too distant, even if Mai hadn't exactly given her permission to sit so close to her personal space. There's no 'How are you doing?'. It sounded like such a lame question to ask, when one even had an inkling of an idea of what might be on her mind. "Something tells me that you could use a friend."

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

"Come in." Mai calls out to whoever knocked without even thinking - still a bit drowsy from her day of nothing to do - and sits up straight. She's got one of the standard hospital gowns on. Somewhere in one of the drawers here is her Ohtori uniform, but given the situation...

The door opens, as does the curtain, and Mai recognizes her visitor. Surprise on her face for a brief moment, then a warm smile. Happiness is fleeting, though, and her gaze flickers downwards even as Eri takes a seat. That comment, though...she looks up, and the smile half-returns. "You know, I think I could. I'm not sure how many I have left, though - after everything this past week."

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

Two hands reach across to grasp one of Mai's hands. "Don't be ridiculous." She manages a grin, though it's a half-truth, "Did you see how many people showed up at the Pino that night?"

She squeezes her hand, though not without much force. "I'd say at least three fourths of the people there were fighting for you when Nephrite came to play. So what if you'd wronged a few of them? Everyone's done those sort of things to your friends you regret."

A brief pause, as she takes a breath, her smile seeming to change in something a touch more real, "Now don't quote me on this, as I'm hardly the expert, but I've found out that you find out who your true friends are based on who stays your friend even when you slip. And you weren't yourself, alright? I can't speak for anyone else, but I sure know that."

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

Two hands reach out - and two come to meet them. Mai squeezes back, without words for the immediate moment. She peers over Eri's shoulder - asserting that it is just the two of them in the room - and lets out a sigh of her own. "I've...you know, someone was telling me even before all of this happened. That real friends would understand if things came up - talking about my being busy so much of the time, but..."

Her grip tightens - perhaps a bit too much force, before Mai realizes what she's doing and releases them. "...I really am sorry for whatever I might have said while I was..." She trails off. "...you know, a certain dork in a mask decided visiting hours were for the rest of us and stopped by at 3 AM. Told me that 'she' had declared she would punish that guy in the name of Mai-chan. I just..."

And abruptly, all the quiet passivity in Mai's voice breaks - the hints of a sob bursting out. "I just...I've been caught up in wondering how much of that really wasn't me. How much of it was just...how I /could/ act. And if everyone would have fought the same way if they'd known that."

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

"You sang a pretty stirring song." There's a hint of mirth in her voice then. "Something about idiot men deciding they know what's best for you. Maybe not too far off the mark if you have clueless dorks with masks showing up at your window at 3 AM."

All of the mirth fades into somberness, as she leans forward, and wraps her arms around her in a firm embrace as Mai sounds like she's about to burst into sobs. "Maybe some of it was you, deep down, in a part of you that you'd chosen to bury. You saw one of the other victims of the Seal, didn't you? It sounds like it released all of your inhibitions without your consent. And when those are gone. Well /anyone/ could act in almost /any/ way. The thing is though, letting your inhibitions go? That's a choice. If you wouldn't choose it normally, then it wasn't exactly you right?"

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

Mai outright sags into the hug, as if she was on the verge of collapse. She takes a long breath, and then lets it out as one arm comes around to make it a mutual thing. The moment must pass eventually, though - but when it does, she looks a bit more stable. "That...does help a little. And...I think I remember that one. Both Chiba and Hiroyuki in the room, I had to vent a bit." There's a small grin.

Somber...she's trying. She's visibly trying not to fall into purely somber, but the smile is quick to gutter out. "It was...it started as making me want to sing more than usual, then completely focused on singing rather than boring things, and then by the end it was me, focused totally on doing everything fun I'd been holding off from. And now there's consequences I'm going to have to live with - responsibilities I blew off, people I might have hurt."

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

Eri draws back to look Mai in the eyes, still holding her firmly enough to offer support. "No kidding, then you had all those guys throughout all those years telling you you're distracting them? Come on. You totally deserve at least three songs venting on that. We'll let you break your own rules, just this once."

She waxes and wanes somber herself, but she was trying her best not to fall totally into it. That wouldn't really serve either of them well here. "You've spent how many years winding yourself around all of these responsibilities, that it's no wonder you went off like a spring when you suddenly got released from them. I know they're necessary, but maybe you would be better off giving yourself some leeway every now and then? You can't help anyone if you break yourself."

There's no way really to address the sort of guilt Mai has, buried that deep down. To get her to confront it, that was somehting she had to do on her own. And... she didn't have the courage to try herself, didn't have the courage to risk their friendship over it, "Anyhow, if you hurt people, then apologize for it, make it up to them." She murmurs, her smile genuine, "And don't give up on singing just because of this. You just look like you're so happy when you do Mai-chan. I think all of us could listen to you sing for hours. Just like anything, don't overdo it, alright?"

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

Once again, a laugh is dragged from a somber Mai. "I'll try to keep myself to one...at a time. I need to spread out the ranting, after all - even if Hiroyuki-san doesn't deserve the full blast." She grins, for a moment. And then the long sigh comes back. "I...feel like I've done enough unwinding for a year in the past week. Though we'll see if I even still have a job at Linden Baum, after what I pulled there."

...there was actually the ghost of a smile at that statement. But...there's still guilt. Things that can't be voiced, things that can. "It's...easier with some than with others. I think I abandoned Kaname-san to hold down the fort by herself, so I'll need to apologize to her for that. I completely neglected making supper for Mikoto, I left Takumi to his own devices, and..."

...and Mai is flushing bright, bright red. Embarrassment and fury, all in one. "...I had my first kiss. And second. ...I might have lost count."

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

"I hope every single positive survey card I filled out naming you will contribute to that." That's not even humor, just a sincere smile. "If they value their regulars other than the pineapple love affair duo of course, they'll rehire you."

There's that name again, Kaname. She almost asks her first name, but Kaname was a common enough last name that she doesn't. She recalls that Mai seemed to go running every time she dropped a stack of dishes. "Hey there's solidarity amongst service staff I imagine. Just do her a good turn when she needs it and I bet she'll forgive you. And..."

Wait what did Mai say again? She was about to go down the list addressing everything, but she's blushing, did she say Kiss!? "Oh..." She looks at Mai for a while, and then leans forward just a touch, curiosity overwhelming her since she hadn't had that particular experience. "Did you like them?"

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

Oh good heavens, rumours of what went down there are already spreading. "I...thanks. Hopefully they'll just consider this unpaid time off or something. And I'll talk to her - offer to cover for her as needed."

And that's as much as she can get out before a blazing face is buried in one hand. "I don't - actually one I can say was not good, the other I don't even know what to think now." The hand comes down to reveal nearly terrified eyes. "Chiba-san, for the record, was the /former/. I...grabbed him by the tie in the middle of the arcade, and just...the worst thing is I don't think he gets why he should be horrified by that."

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

Eri closes her eyes, her adolescent mind trying to process that. For her first kiss to have been something she wasn't in control over, that's not exactly the romantic experience she would want for herself. When she opens them again. She shifts to sit right beside Mai in bed, keeping one arm around her. "Alright. Look. We both know you're attracted to him, and I'm pretty sure he knows it too. Whether you have feelings for him more than that? That's for you to know. I'm not going to pretend I can read your mind there."

She sighs softly, "And it's up to the both of you to decide if you want to explore that. What you did while under the influence of the seal makes it the topic of the hour for you. He's not horrified because he knows. And that makes him a bit of an ass for not acknowledging that you're upset about this, but we knew that. We all had that Mamoru-kun moment where he tried to insert himself into our lives with negative attention, didn't we?"

Her free hand now moves up to rub her face, "It at least means he's forgiven you for it. He'd definitely be a lot more upset if you did it of your own free will though."

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

Mai groans loudly, and brings both hands up to her face. "Did I mention that Tsukino-san was there, too? But...after all our agreement to not date, and the fact that the whole thing was public enough that I expect it to be the main topic at Ohtori once exams are done...ugh." She lowers her hands, and there is chagrin there. "Besides which...I need to find out what's happening with Shiori-chan. Because...she actually started that kiss, so I need to talk to her anyway."

There's a long, drawn-out sigh. "So if nothing else, I've probably made at least two of my close friendships incredibly awkward for the near future. I don't suppose things are going any better than that for you, Eri-chan?" Mai tries to muster a smile - and impulsively reaches out to give Eri a proper hug. "...and thank you for coming. It helps."

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

"Oh, well it's a good thing she's not interested in Mamoru-kun then!" Eri actually cracks a smile, "I mean, can you imagine how awkward that'd be if they were seeing each other!?"

Eri takes a moment to consider how things have been for her, before replying, she had to be a bit careful here, "Exams have brutal, but don't worry about that. When you get out of the hospital there may be a few things you can help me with..." Because Mai needed to feel like she was needed of course. That was more for Mai's benefit that she said that than hers, but it was still honest, she did have a hell of a lot of problems.

And then that name, Shiori-chan. She takes a bit of time to process that. "Well..." Her free hand becomes a fist, which she moves right in front of her mouth. "...I mean, she kissed you. You didn't say you disliked that one. Does it have to be awkward?" She turns her face slightly to face Mai.

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

Mai lets out a snort at the thought. "That would just make things all the worse! Seems unlikely, though. And...I'll do my best. I imagine I'm utterly doomed this round of examinations, though - even with this medical excuse, make-up exams are make-up exams. Still, just let me know - once I'm out, anyway."

And...Mai flushes. Bright, bright flush. "Eri-chan! It's...did we start dating while I wasn't myself? Does that still count? I....honestly, I need to talk to her directly. I should probably send her a text about that."

And she will. Honest.

"It's...you know how much thought I've given to my love life, Eri-chan. I think I'm going to be a while figuring this out."

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

"Does it count?" Eri blinks repeatedly at the question, before finally answering, "No. Not if you don't want it to. If you don't, then tell her you weren't yourself and hope she'll still be your friend."

She smiles brightly, supportively, "But if you like her and want to explore that, then does it really matter if the kiss counted or not? Whether any dates counted or not? Just take the time to think on your feelings carefully. Responsibility doesn't mean you have to shut out good things that you want from your life, Mai-chan. Love and romance aren't about what you 'deserve', they're about what you /feel/." Well that line sounded pretty good at least to her, the person who hadn't had any experience with love or romance.

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

How does Mai feel? After months - years of ignoring her own heart for the sake of her duties...can she even hear what it wants, any more? But...maybe she can still find out, if it's not too late. The comment about responsibility has her glancing down for a moment, then back up to Eri, and she seems ready to protest...

...but honestly...

"...I think it's something that we have to talk out. Because...it wasn't the normal me she was with when she felt that way. Talk things out, and...see how we feel."

And then Mai actually laughs, and she's smiling. "Look at us. Wouldn't you expect it to be the older one advising the younger on matters like this?" It's not quite as bright as usual - but the teasing grin is starting to return. "Though, come to think of it, didn't you have someone who'd caught your eye?..."

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

Eri giggles looking a bit proud of herself for having advised a high school girl, and yet her words contradict that pride, just a bit, "Well neither of us have any experience with this! That's nothing to be embarrassed ab..."

Sneak attack! Caught flatfooted, her cheeks are bright red in an instant. "U-Uh yeah..." A hand covers her face totally, "But he doesn't know if he wants anything more than friendship. He wants to spend time with me and figure out if he has the same feelings for me." A beat, before she quickly admits, "I gave him Honmei chocolate on Valentine's Day."