2014-10-31 - What Would You Do For Just Me

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Title: What Would You Do For Just Me?

Finally free from work for an afternoon, Mai deals with something she's had to postpone far too often - a date with Shiori. Everything is fine, nothing is wrong, and this is surely a stable relationship.


Mai Tokiha, Shiori Takatsuki


Nishitama Park District

OOC - IC Date:

4 April 2014 - 10/31/2014

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Spring continues, with cherry blossoms in full bloom. While the initial rush of flower-viewings has settled down, the petals are still gorgeous, and the parks with the right kinds of trees are a popular attraction. At this moment, the park is partly occupied - but not crowded, every couple or group has some space to call their own. It's just after lunchtime on a sunny day, with just the slightest chill in the breeze as a reminder that winter was not so long ago.

The time is just after the normal lunchtime, because Mai got off of work fifteen minutes ago. A hectic breakfast shift, followed by a markedly rushed lunch crowed - but her backup was on time, and so she was free to go. The afternoon has a few plans laid out - picking up school supplies for Takumi, Mikoto, and herself in anticipation of the new semester for one - but that's not an immediate concern. She has some time. And she made sure to set some aside for this.

"I'm glad you were free, Shiori-chan - my work schedule's been all over the place since the break started, and I really am sorry we couldn't find time for..." She hesitates just the slightest fraction as a tall boy and short girl walk past her seeking out their own spot, then continues her apology. "...for a date before now. Things are finally settling down, though - how has your break been? Keeping busy?"

She did manage to get changed out of her work uniform before coming here. It's a touch chillier than she'd hoped, but optimism was running high - thus, her cargo skirt and red t-shirt. In one hand, she hefts a reasonably large picnic basket, and continues her search for a good spot to lay out the blanket. "Oh - how about there?"

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Shiori has always liked flowers.

She can sit and watch them more or less indefinitely; today, she's happy to have the chance to be outside in the spring air, even if she feels a sort of instinct to keep in the shade, away from the bright sun. The chill is something she can feel, even if it's not all that severe; it's a subtle sort of thing, creeping around.

It mostly means that Shiori opted for a little more warmth in her clothes than she would've this later in the year otherwise; she stepped outside the first time and went back to change, not for the first time today. ...But that was earlier. Now, it's a bit after lunchtime, and given that she's on break, Shiori's actual timing is flexible enough to eaily make it.

"It's okay," she answers, smiling Mai's way. She's wearing a light jacket over a lighter-blue shirt, a simpler skirt than Mai's over tights against the cold. And, of course, ankle-boots for all the walking in the trees. She pauses once or twice to look around for a spot, too.

"I know you have a lot to do. I--" Shiori, too, sees the couple walk by. She worries a moment about the hesitation. "...I've been working on moving," she piks up again after a moment. "There's been a lot to do! But maybe that means it'll be easier to see you, right?"

Shiori, too, is good at optimism.

"Oh! That looks great! It's got a nice view. Here, let me scout it out--" Shiori hurries on ahead, picking up her pace to stand there so no one else can take it.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

A bright smile from Shiori is met with a sunny one from Mai. It's a nice day, and a chance to see the flowers, and she really had been intending to get together sooner. The comment about moving, however, is met with both surprise and delight. "So, the administration agreed? That's great!"

She saves further comments until she catches up to Shiori - the picnic basket is a little heavy, after all. The little knoll is definitely worth claiming, though - and in short order, Mai has the blanket spread out. "Right! So - my pantry's kind of in shambles thanks to that thing with the candy - Mikoto just ate whatever she could, meaning that what I had left was a bit odd. Lunch is going to be a mix of things, is what I'm saying." The basket has a half dozen containers of different shapes - but rather than take any out, Mai just flumps onto the blanket, flat on her back. Work was tiring today.

"...so, moving. Need any help packing things up? I'm sure Mikoto and I could help unpack once you get to the Ohtori dorms - what building were you assigned?"

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Mm-hm!" Shiori replies brightly, nodding with her eyes closed in a moment of contentment. "It was easy, even. I thought it would be harder to transfer on such short notice, but I get to start on the first day and everything!"

Shiori hasn't actually asked to carry the basket or anything. Perhaps she didn't think about it.

"Haha, did she? I guess it's good that somebody could enjoy that. ...It wasn't all bad, right?" There's nothing quite like a bunch of candy. "I'm looking forward to it!" she insists anyway, "It's more fun to have a bunch of different things at a meal anyway, isn't it?"

Laughing softly under her breath, Shiori takes a seat in a rather more dignified fashion, folding her legs and facing Mai. "Oh! I don't want to impose... I mean, you already work so much! It's not like I have all that much to move. Mostly I've been scouting out new things to put in my room anyway, since I can't take it all with me."

"...But, it would be really nice, to have your help. I mean, I'm gonna be on the third floor..."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

For a moment, Mai is about to comment on how easy it was - but winds up reflecting on her own experience with a frown. Frankly, by all rights, the situation with her and Mikoto should not had ended in 'roommates'. Maybe 'expulsion'. But because of the whole HiME deal... Focus on the positive. "Well - whatever the reason, at least you get to be part of the entrance ceremony, right? So there's that to look forward to." As for the basket - Mai didn't ask, Shiori didn't offer. Perhaps she didn't think of it either.

Mai half-rolls over to face Shiori, shaking her head. "Hey, I'd offer even for a normal friend, let alone a close one. And - honestly, I'd probably offer even if I didn't know you - moving everything onto the fourth floor was a hurdle and a half, especially with Mikoto being...well, Mikoto. Just name the day, and I'll be there!"

She'll take some food out in a minute. Honestly. Just...off her feet. It's nice.

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Shiori spots the frown, tilting her head slightly as she looks to Mai in mild questioning. "Is--"

Her question is left to the side as Mai mentions the ceremony instead, and Shiori thinks about that. "Right!" she answers, but it trails for a moment. "I wonder if..."

Well, it probably doesn't need to come up. INstead, Shiori looks down at Mai again. "I bet you would, huh? Mai-chan the hero. Even willing to rescue girls from carrying lamps."

She seems not to worry too much about the food, instead leaning back, supporting herself on her hands put out behind her, hair slightly rustling in the breeze. "...But... If that's just normal, then hmmm. What would you do for /just/ someone close like me, hmmm?"

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Is- what might Shiori be wondering? Mai watches Shiori, backlit by the early afternoon sun - until she gets called a hero, at which point she starts flushing and looking down. She didn't mean it like that-

-and what would she do for just those closest to her? There's a few things to come to mind - but not many of them are exactly romantic. She sits up as she considers the question - and then winds up sadly laughing a moment. "Take time off work? Seriously, though..."

Mai reaches out, and puts one hand on Shiori's. "There's things I consider important - that have to take priority. Make sure Takumi's safe is the most important thing...but right after that is helping the people close to me. Sure, I might carry a lamp for someone else - but for you, I'll wrangle Mikoto into helping move furniture." She grins. "And - make you a home-cooked meal afterwards."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Shiori doesn't say; she instead cheerfully derails the conversation by making it all about the heroic Mai, smiling down still with a hint of mischief that might just be hidden by the way the light shines from behind her.

Take time off work? Shiori sighs, audibly, rolling her shoulders slightly as if quite done with the question--but she stops when Mai reaches out, and looks back again. 'Important'. She smiles back anyway, a gentle expression that she puts on in part to mask the real feeling she has with this answer, the little sting she buries anyway. "Well, I /do/ like your cooking," she reflects, drawing out the words a little bit in a sort of teasing way.

...Besides, she can still feel the hand, right? Shiori leans back forward again, placing her other hand on top of Mai's in turn. It's fine. It's not a problem. "I'll want a second opinion when I finish setting up my room, too. You know, I think I'm getting a single! It's a nice change from my last dorm."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mai's own hand is grasped, and she cough-laughs in response to the jab. "Sorry. I've...you know, I've been 'too busy' for dating for years now, and I'm still kind of wrapping my head around all of this. Just...I really do want to treat you specially, I'm just working on how. Maybe I should have have read more shoujo manga."

She shakes her head for a moment, then gives a small smile. "I'm serious, though - name your favourite food, and we can have a special dinner. Just the two of us. And speaking of cooking..." She turns to take a couple of the containers out. "I had enough to make a light curry, some fried rice, some soup, and some sandwiches - what would you like?"

The rice is artfully shaped, at least - and the sandwiches are cut into little heart shapes. As Mai takes out utensils and napkins, she considers. "I look forward to seeing it - it's a bit cheaper living with a roommate, but the privacy might just be worth it."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Just as she was hurt a moment ago, Shiori is won back over quickly. Enthusiasm creeps obviously into her voice like the tide, "That's so sweet! When you put it that way..." She trails off a little, quiet but happy in the moment. She might be a little shy all of a sudden, from the little hunch of her shoulders, the look to the ground, and all.

"Really? ...Okay. I'll remember that." She looks up again, eyebrows lifted in obvious curiousity when 'speaking of cooking' is announced, and then--

"Aah, the sandwiches are so cute! Can I have some of those?" She reaches to accept napkin and utensil for herself, and is happy to take wahtever else from Mai for now, too.

"Is it?" she asks about the expense. "I'm just used to ending up with whatever I'm assigned." And not to having money issues, particularly. "I think it will be. Nobody to look at you funny when you come out at the wrong time, or to wonder who left her stuff out, or..."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mai fidgets with the hem of her shirt. "I...kind of figure that you've probably got to put up with a lot from me. Sorry." Fortunately, the meal seems to appeal - and Mai's worry turns to a bright, proud grin. "This is lunch for the two of us, Shiori-chan - go nuts, and I'll take whatever's left! And I'm glad they turned out - something I always wanted to try, but they're not exactly the kind of thing I can put into a bento for my /brother/."

Before taking a bite for herself, Mai makes sure that the entire meal is laid out - and then, she lays claim to the curry. Bright yellow, thick sauce, a mix of whatever was left when things turned back from being candy. Tapping her chopsticks together, she thinks for a moment. "I didn't exactly get a say in who I room with - though it's kind of worked out. But I do think, sometimes - what might life be like without someone tackling guests to the floor, or eating half the New Year's food, or sneaking in through the balcony window, or trying to replace my blanket..."

Mai's roommate worries may be a bit abnormal.

"Well, I've got my penance there - and it sounds like you've lucked out." She smiles, takes a bite of the curry - rather spicier than planned, but better her than Mikoto - and then pauses, frowning in thought. "...Shiori-chan? There's something I've been meaning to ask, that I've kind of worried about. Since there's a chance you might wind up in the same class...are you going to be all right, seeing Arisugawa-san again? I figured she might have bullied you or something..."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"No, no, you're great!" Insistently, the purple-haired girl looks right at Mai, like smiling her way will be enough to reassure Mai now and forever. "Aah, really? I dunno, you might regret saying that," she laughs. "I am still kinda hungry from all that candy business..." She reaaaches out for them and--

Huh. "Oh. I hadn't thought of it that way," she remarks thoughtfully about the sandwiches.

The smell of the curry is enough for Shiori--good, but she's happy not to try for spice at the moment. "..."

"Wait--replace your blanket? That happens?" Shiori asks, imagining suddenly that Mikoto is very particular about knitting or something, quite unexpected from a girl like that. "...I can see where that would be pretty weird."

Penance. "You worry so much," she says, a little sad for a moment, concerned. But this turns different at the question, that hits her right as she rather cheerfully bites a heart in half. The question of...

For a few moments she's pensive, but her eyes widen at Mai's speculation. "You--" Her face having snapped up back to Mai's again, her mouth opens but at first she's silent. "I--"

As if Juri bullied /her/?

"Juri-san was never like that," she explains after her heart untangles some. "She was my only friend. She always protected me. I'm the one who..." She folds her hands, still holding the sandwich. "I'm sure she hates me, now, but I thought maybe I could try to talk to her again. It's part of why I wanted to transfer back. Maybe things can be like they used to be again."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The wind picks up abruptly - a storm of petals acting as its vanguard. Lightly dressed, Mai shivers for a moment, taking another bite of the curry. "I...really don't blame you. I was so worried about Takumi's nutrition...and all my coffee turned to hot chocolate." She scowls in fury for a dark moment. "I hope you didn't suffer too much, Shiori-chan- ahaha. Pretty weird is right." And that laugh breaks the fury.

...does she worry a lot? Yes, but she has to. It's her duty, it's the only thing she can do to make up for- in any event, it's the best way she knows to care for someone. To worry about them.

Though it seems she worried the wrong way here. Mai's eyes widen. "Oh! I'm sorry, I - shouldn't press further, I guess. Maybe things can work out - she won re-election, by the way. Still the council treasurer."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

The petals float past, catching Shiori's eye in their spiral. "...Oh no, Mai-chan, are you cold?" she asks. She'll wait for the answer there, but in waiting, it's hard not to comment--and laugh a little--about the matter of hot chocolate. She suppresses it as best she can, "Haha--Oh, no, it was even nice for the first little while. It's hard not to like a bit of sweet, right?"

That, Shiori can see--the way worrying is caring, the way it shows regard. But.. she wonders, sometimes, too.

"No, it's--If anybody should press, it's you, huh?" She won. "Of course she won," Shiori reflects almost absently. "Nobody can beat Juri-san. She's so... strong."

Despite what she said, however, there's an obvious sadness in Shiori as she talks about her. "It's... It's my fault, you know. I did something to her, back before I left. I hurt her." She stops, and shakes her head. "Or I guess, maybe I didn't. She didn't seem to care at all. I... I don't know. I send her letters, but..."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Maybe a bit - I didn't think I'd need a jacket this morning. Don't worry, worst case there's a few ways I can warm up." She grins - thinking of her Element - and laughs as well. "A little bit - but I was a bit furious that all my bonito got turned into sprinkles. Let alone what happened to the rice..."

"Well - even if I'm the most allowed, that doesn't mean you aren't allowed your privacy, Shiori-chan. We're not exactly up to 'old married couple' yet." Mai smiles - but watches Shiori as she talks about Juri. That must have been apprehension, not fear...

Sadness, but what does Shiori think of Juri? It's hard for Mai to be able to say, and remembering the past seems painful enough... "Well, you'll be able to see her yourself before too long. Putting that aside - I think you were about to ask something earlier, sorry. What's up?" Mai pours herself a small cup of soup to go with the curry, along with one to accompany Shiori's sandwiches. Basic miso, with extra mushrooms...

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Aw--I--" Shiori hears Mai's comment. Shiori does /not/ think about Mai's Element. "Mai-chan!" Shiori says, appropriately scandalized--but impressed. Very impressed. "Well, I would be /happy/ to help," she comments in return, a smile slowly curving onto her face like the cat out of a certain very unusual book fading into view.

She /did/ bring a jacket. But she is not actually just talking about lending her jacket.

"...What happened to the rice?"

What Mai says about privacy surprises her a little. "Well..."

Not 'yet'? Shiori heard that part pretty well.

"I will, won't I?" she asks back. "I'm sorry; I'm sure you don't want to hear me go on about her." But now--maybe she should tell Mai. Maybe...

"Huh? Was I? I don't remember," she says, taking up the soup and inhaling the warm air. "I'm sure it wasn't important."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Happy to- oh. OH. "S-Shiori-chan! I meant-" Well, clearly Mai's face isn't cold right now. It's heated up quite rapidly, to a bright red. Hard to say about the rest of her, though. Desperate to come up with a diversion, she draws her knees up tight to keep her legs a bit warmer. Though - honestly... "Oh, why not." She slides over to be closer to Shiori - maybe not quite touching, but it's a bit warmer together. That's a normal dating thing, right?

Rice! "It turned into marshmallows - namely, each grain became a marshmallow. And when I opened the tin...one of those is bigger than a grain of rice." She grimaces, remembering - but laughs a moment after that. At least Mikoto had had fun.

"Anyway - don't let me stop you talking about anything you want to talk about. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't dredging up painful memories or anything." Mai takes up her soup, and grins at her now-close girlfriend. "Cheers, then!"

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Giggling, Shiori watches Mai go red and fret a moment, and then--...hmmm, is that not what Mai meant to begin with? Well, "You ought to be careful the things you say like that around me, Mai-chan" Mai slides her way, and Shiori closes the distance, lightly leaning on her girlfriend in return. Suddenly, she's a lot more relaxed again.

"Each--ahahah, oh, wow, that must've been so messy!" she says, able to just imagine the entire thing. "That's terrible. I just ended up having a toothache."

"Mmm... No," she says. "Those were wonderful times," she explains, lifting up her soup too. "Cheers!"

...But Mai would have to hate her if she told the whole story, wouldn't she?

"I just want them back, that's all."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

It's a moment or two - during which the cherry blossoms dance in the wind, as if it's just the two of them in the whole park - and then Mai leans in herself. When she speaks, though - it's with a bit of a smirk. "Clearly I do. Who knows how far you'd run with an idea..."

Probably it's for the best that Mai was vague on just how her blanket gets replaced.

The mess was...well, it rained fluff for a while. Mai winces in sympathy. "Well, I suppose that's better than starving - like I said, though, don't hold back on the food." She sips her own soup - warm, if not hot. It was made this morning, after all.

Her thoughts trail off as Shiori reminisces about the past with Juri. Happier days, more innocent days...As Shiori looks to memories of Juri, Mai looks down before closing her eyes. "I can't blame you. But...you've at least got a chance to make amends. Focus on that - those happy days won't just come back on their own."

She doesn't say more - just holds her soup cup, and leans a little more heavily, slumping.

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Aw, me?" Shiori asks back, watching the petals fly gracefully across her field of vision. "Well I wonder what you think /I'd/ do about all that, hmmm?" She grins back, but leaves it there for the moment.

It is /definitely/ for the best that Mai was vague on that point. No question.

"Ooh, right! I just kinda forget about it, talking with you." She sips at her tea and then goes back to devouring heart sandwiches, taking bigger bites than her delicate features might otherwise suggest.

They won't come back on their own, huh? Is that how it is? "...I've just got to keep believing," she answers, and feels better for the assertion.

But something... "..."

What if she talked about days like this, instead? Maybe that would help Mai with whatever's on her mind. Or maybe...

No, that wouldn't be good enough to help anyway. Instead of saying something, she turns her head Mai's way, and supports her in the lean. "...It's a nice day, isn't it? Maybe you can relax a little."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Best to leave those kinds of Ohtori questions for another day - Mai just coughs and moves on.

'Believe in miracles, and...'

Mai lets out a sigh, and tries to smile. "Right. Focus on what's here and now, and what's coming. It's a nice day, there's plenty of lunch left, and we have cherry blossoms to view. Sorry, I just..."

She shakes her head a moment - and gives Shiori a brief, serious look. "You've got a chance - so let me know if there's anything I can do to help you reconnect with Arisugawa-san." The seriousness is replaced swiftly with a smile. "We're entering second year, after all - you don't want to have any regrets about missed chances, right?"

Aaaand just in case that gives Shiori an idea, Mai flops back away from her side to lie flat on the blanket again. "For now, though...like you said, it's a nice day."