2015-02-13 - Unattainable Pedestals, Impossible Dreams

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: Unattainable Pedestals, Impossible Dreams

In which Eri drops by to help clean up and/or classify Mai's issues.


Mai Tokiha, Eri Shimanouchi


Ohtori Dorms

OOC - IC Date:

24 May 2014 - 02/13/2015

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

The sun has just dipped below the horizon, and darkness fallen across the land. The sky still blazes the myriad colours of flame, but steadily it all fades to the blue-black of night. Ohtori Academy is no exception to this law - spotlights coming on to illuminate the pathways, even as the nocturnal activities of the island are set into motion.

The campus is far from slumber - even as the sun sets, the night life of the school awakens. Here, a club is making preparations for a big event, burning the midnight oil to complete their paperwork. There, a group of highschoolers are starting a secret barbeque wetted with snuck-in drinks. Somewhere, warriors rise up to fight the darkness where it begins to lurk. Above everything, false stars illuminate a ceiling closed against the real ones.

This is Ohtori.

This, too, is Ohtori - a dormitory room, often home to delicious aromas at odd hours - whenever the waitress and the stray cat choose to dine, those with good noses are well aware. Tonight's air is one of fish - fresh, roasted over a clean-burning flame, with just a hint of caramelizing sugar to accompany it. Something new, inspired by a meeting of minds.

Strangely, though - while no exception to the usual norm, it does stand out against the past few days' marked absence of such scents. For several days, ever since rumours about a local hospital really began to circulate, there have been no aromas of cooking from Mai's dorm room. Tonight, are things finally back to normal?

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sometimes as one crosses the bridge to Southern Cross Island, any sense of above or below tend to blur together. When one looks upon the sea and sees a rippling reflection of what lay above, the world appears all topsy turvy to the observer. It caused one middle school girl to think as she returned along the lamplit path...

...that she'd experienced one too many labyrinth.

Shaking her head, she cracked a tiny smile at her musings, trying to decide whether she even has normal thoughts anymore. As she passed by a group of upperclassmen on their way to enjoy the night life and stole a furtive glance she decided, as faint heat entered into her cheeks that she certainly did.

Side trips were becoming more and more necessary, to remind herself of that. And so as she climbed the steps of the more 'modern' dorm that Mai was staying in, she found a faint hint of roast fish entering into her nostrils, with a slightly sweet tang. Fumbling with her keys, she rapped lightly on the door, before she turned the key in the lock and stepped in, closing the door behind her. "Everyone decent?" She called out, with only a faintly facetious hint in her voice as she rounded about the corner into the dining room. "I know how you both can get at dinner time~" The words drip with feigned innocence.

Eri Shimanouchi has partially disconnected.

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

Eri's immediate answer, audibly, is the sound of the bathtub slowly draining away from the next room. Swirling loudly down the pipes, a nice background noise...which is helpful, as Mai has been struck silent by the sudden arrival.

She's standing in the middle of the room, one hand on a dining table still crowded with dishes, the other holding a glass of milk, already in her pyjamas at this hour. "E-Eri-chan! That-" Surprise...swiftly turning to embarrassment. "That's not- it's- I, um, wasn't expecting company, so...sorry. How have you been?"

As flustered as Mai is - and as relaxed as she seems - it's a story not quite matched by the state of the room. It's not a complete disaster zone, but it has been - the general impression being that it's half-clean. The counter has part of a few days' accumulation of dishes, the parts clear of cutlery still needing to be wiped up. There's a few days' worth of clothes not quite scattered around the room, but still in an as yet unlaundered pile. Supper hasn't even been put away yet - there's a large hunk of trout on a platter, along with a few slices of early watermelon that look like they were cut an hour ago.

(The knife is still on the counter. Evidence!)

Mai is, for her part, aware of this - as each sign of a few days' housekeeping sloth gets noticed, her eyes flick to the same spot, the red in her face growing just that slightest tint brighter. "We've, uh. Uh."

Words aren't quite forthcoming just yet, apparently.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Rounding about the corner, she looks at Mai, all flustered and stumbling over her words, already in her pajamas at this hour. On a Saturday. That wasn't quite so strange, compared to the state of the dorm room itself, the kitchen, the dishes, the bedroom, the laundry.

The gears in her mind don't take too long to click that something happened. Did Mai have a sudden moment where she rethought her entire life and decided she shouldn't sweat the small stuff? Unlikely. This was Mai we were talking about. Which meant that she was in the midst of some sort of crisis.

She tilts her neck up, to make certain the ceiling was unsullied, which wasn't out of the question given that Mikoto lived here. Then back at Mai as she continues to try to find the words. "There's no need to make any excuses on my account." She manages a faint smile, trying to show she doesn't mind the state of the dorm, before she finishes Mai's sentence for her, with entirely different words than what Mai was likely to use, "We've decided you need a night off Mai? I'm glad you did-"

Slipping off her shoes to favor the guest slippers, she moves towards the counter first, and if Mai doesn't stop her, well she's starting to turn on the hot water, waiting for it to a good temperature, before she searched through the drawers and eventually found rubber dishwashing gloves. "-as its about time I made up for all those meals I've been mooching off you. Wanna talk while I clean?"

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

If anything, the offer flusters Mai even more. "What? No, you do plenty, and I'm supposed to be the hostess anyway, I just-" Just...

She hangs her head - and while at least freshly washed, it has just enough tangles to show that the care's been a few days in coming. Overall...maybe it's a bit of relaxation, but it's something she needed. Desperately. And almost didn't claim. The clothes aside, there's signs here and there of just what state she's been in recently.

There's a swimsuit and sweatshirt of all things in the laundry pile - and those still muddy from some endeavour. One of her uniform skirts is hung out to try, but from the smell might need another wash or two. Her sneakers - long story short, may they rest in piece. This on top of the dishes, the sweeping, tying off the garbage....

Keeping up with the housework might have been too much, this week. And much as Mai hesitates, starts to protest more than once...this is Eri she's dealing with, and the time has come to admit defeat. "...if you can work on the dishes while I tackle the rest, that'd be a big help - but don't feel like you're obligated. You're welcome to supper - though aside from the fish, there's just rice and watermelon, sorry."

Slowly, she raises her head. "Long story short, Mikoto discovered there was a fishing contest. So we've got meat for her meals for a couple of days." That's clearly the short version; she picks up the soiled sweatshirt with a wince, muttering to herself. "What did she say the trick was, again..."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Another glance to the laundry pile tells her even more, but right now she's focused on the dishes. She fills up one sink about two thirds of the way with water and dish soap and plugs it, before bringing the spout over to the other and starts by washing each piece of cutlery with a sponge.

Mai makes her offer, and she stops in the motion, looking over her shoulder with an arched eyebrow. She sounds more amused than anything, "Are you saying I can't handle a little laundry? Pretty sure I can. How many grass stains and outdoor smells do you think I've had to wash out?" She shakes her head in mock offense, "You're so harsh Mai-chan, coming off your break because you think I'm not woman enough to manage all this housework. There's no need for you to be such a show off, all the time, you know!"

Looking away from her, she can't contain herself any longer, grinning from ear to ear as she speaks about the fishing contest, "Did you both enjoy yourselves at least?" Scrub, scrub, scrub. Dip. She works at a pretty steady rhythm, as she moves on from the cutlery to start working on the dishware.

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

Mai wracks her memory, trying to remember - it's been years since she last got the advice she needs right now. Was it soak, then - "...wait, no, let it /dry/ first. Okay." She's had a rack set up for letting Mikoto's things try, so adding the swimsuit and sweatshirt to them is good enough for now. The sneakers, though...they might be a lost cause. If she were better at this...

Mai starts at Eri's admonishment, and then abruptly deflates - sitting down heavily. "Sorry, I didn't mean it like that, I just... I should be able to handle two people's laundry and dishes, right? It's not so much I need to drag people into helping..."

She glances to the skirt. "...outdoor smells. Does monster bile and sewer water fall into that category? I don't remember getting any lessons in dealing with those." She manages a small smile, but her heart isn't quite in it.

What her heart -is- in, fortunately, is talking about earlier today. "Well, you could say that. I managed to catch a small fish we'll have in a day or two, and Mikoto hunted down the semi-legendary 'Bronzejaw' and helped land it. So that's food for a couple of days, if you like fish. Got kind of muddy and soaked, respectively, but it was pretty good."

Mai just falls back, lying flat on her bed for a minute. For all that she doesn't want to be lazy while a guest is doing -her housework-...for all that she's been doing less than she should for a few days, she's beat. "...hey, Eri-chan. Hypothetical question - which would you go for, one of the guys here at Ohtori, or a cat threatening to marry you?" Maybe she saw The Cat Returns recently.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Tck." An irritated noise that comes out of her mouth when Mai says she didn't mean it like that and deflates. "You just keep going on and on about how much you're showing off Mai-chan. I mean there you are asking me how to wash monster bile out. You're not even mentioning how you're juggling classwork, a job, multiple other part-time jobs, and a girlfriend in addition to your wild life of monster hunting and raising Neko-Akuma over there. 'Should be able to handle two people's laundry and dishes?"

She adds another shake of her head, "You're pretty incredible to be able to manage half of that, and you always act like you don't even know it." While she might have added taking care of Takumi, in the mood Mai is currently in, she decides... perhaps wisely, perhaps not, to bring up Takumi. She continues washing the dishes, one by one, just listening to Mai, the grin reforming as she talks about her day.

The hypothetical question however, causes her to finally lose it. She'd been grinning while facing away from Mai so that she'd have to think on whether Eri was being serious or not, but at the question she breaks down into a fit of giggles. It goes on for a bit, before she whirls around to point a finger at her accusingly. "That's an unfair question, to ask right out of the blue!"

A beat, "If the cat is Mikoto-chan, she's got most of the guys here beat though. Though if you wanted to ask me on specific examples I migghhhttt be able to give you a better answer." She turns back around at that point, before doing a double take as something registers, and she turns around, "Wait, Mikoto-chan is threatening to marry you?" She arches an eyebrow inquisitively.

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

Mai doesn't answer the praise right away - in all honesty, she'd rather think about that off-the-cuff question. She lets out a snort of laughter at Eri's double-take. "No, no, nothing of the sort. You and I know that Mikoto's true love is my cooking. Though at least she's never claimed I smell like bacon. Or claimed ice cream mochi was crucial heroing business. Hmmmm...." She sits up, putting on a mock-pensive pose...before giggles take over, and she shakes her head again.

"Nah, it came up in a weird way at the cooking contest. I get the feeling that that 'Mr. Cat' teacher at Infinity talks about marriage a lot, and everyone there agreed he was pretty strange." For instance, the fact that Mai didn't notice - namely, that he was actually a cat. "Of course, I got to thinking about the choices we've seen at Ohtori, and, well..." Another grin.

The continued dishwashing is enough to get her on her feet again - but she doesn't have unified direction. She's puttering, working on whatever mess catches her eye - the garbage, sorting the laundry, making the bed, a hundred and one things with no rhyme or reason. Far from efficient, but the approach of 'everything needs doing, ergo I shall do everything'.

It's as she's tying off the bag from the garbage can that she sighs. "It's...I really don't know that I am managing everything. I'm lucky enough that venting a bit at work is to be expected, but half the temp jobs have fallen through because of monster attacks dragging me away, I think I forgot to talk to Shiori-chan this week, and..." Her puttering comes to a halt, and she looks at the bile-stained skirt.

"...there was an Orphan - a monster at the hospital. Takumi had told me to leave him be for five minutes, and right after I left, it grabbed him. Mikoto and I and everyone else there, we all chased it, but I couldn't..." Her hand, still holding the tied-off bag, tightens its grip. "...it blindsided me. If not for Mikoto, Takumi might still be down there."

And she'd probably be even worse off, but that part goes unmentioned.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"More evidence that she's got Ohtori boys beat on the marriage front." Eri nods sagely once she's finished with her rejoinder, her lips quivering with suppressed laughter. It's tempting to make another joke, to make a light hearted subject change, to ask Mai if she's considering marriage... and definitely not with just Mister Cat. In fact she's about to, when...

...the other shoe drops. Well, if they weren't by the door, that is. Eri's shoulders slump right in the middle of scrubbing a bowl, head dipping a little. It's clear that she's not making any progress as Mai speaks on the subject, not that the dishes were all that important. In the end, they were just an excuse too. She takes a deep breath, stomach quavering with nervous jitters, before she finally starts, keeping her voice blessedly neutral. "Your brother is a big boy Mai-chan. Old enough to start dating himself, soon enough. If he wants a little privacy, then you can't be expected to have a sixth sense for Orphan attacks."

She starts scrubbing again, but only so her hands are doing something, only so the thin veneer of an excuse is kept up, "I told you about witches I think, at the onsen?" She looks up, thinking on it, before deciding, "Yeah. I did." Even if she'd left some really important details out, "A lot of people count on me every time I fight one of them. People who are moments away from being coerced into making the biggest, and last mistake of their lives." There's a lengthy pause, "It's a lot of pressure isn't it, when someone else's life depends on you? Especially when its a loved one. Early on, after I'd first started, I was pretty reckless, naive. Made a lot of mistakes that got /me/ blindsided. And I was really stubborn when it came to reflecting on them." Her voice drops to be lower, a little husky, "It cost me a lot. More than I'd like to admit, really."

This isn't the same situation as Mai, who had a guilty conscience from the begin with, so for a while she falls silent. For a while she wonders if she's forgotten where she's going on with this, "Reflecting on that can be pretty sobering. Letting all that guilt just hang over you until you doubt yourself is unhealthy though. I mean..." She looks over her shoulder, "...look at you right now, how embarrassed you are over smelly laundry and dirty dishes. You know I wouldn't care if your dorm room looked like a dump, all the time, if you were just happy and safe?"

She turns again, sliding off the gloves, before she moves over to Mai, grasping her hands gently, as she rubs her thumbs over the back of her hand, "So you messed up. Learn from it, and I don't mean learn in a way that makes you obsess over everything. That makes you hold yourself to these impossibly high standards." She remembers the words someone once said to her, when she was being stubborn, and it cost her, "I want you to think. Really think."

For a while, she's quiet again, before she finally pipes up again, "And while we're on the subject of impossibly high standards, marriage, and your happiness..." She trails off, tilting her head to the side, only smiling faintly, "...give Takatsuki-senpai a text tomorrow morning. Alright? Let her take care of you too."

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

Topics to fluster Mai in an instant: That one. That one right there. Fortunately - or unfortunately - Eri doesn't get the chance to ask, as more serious subjects have come up.

Slightly more serious - Mai exclaims in -shock- at the suggestion. "Takumi? My little brother? /Dating/? That - why would you -" Completely flustered, but in an at least amusing way. The levity passes soon enough, though, and the topic turns to something more...serious.

As Eri talks of witches and reflection, Mai listens. Listens - and stares. In surprise, first - and then in concern and worry. "Eri-chan, you were..." It's once Eri takes her hand that she responds - gripping Eri's hands in return. "And I wouldn't care if you decided you wanted to just crash on my couch all day and just ask for more food. Just..."

Mai's expression is torn for a moment. Part curious, but part not inclined to press - her friend is practically a saviour, checking on her time and time again...but that much effort for her, seems just...

Mai lets out a sigh, slumping her shoulders again. "I just...when I came to, and found out Takumi was safe...I was relieved, but I felt like I'd failed. And then supper went awry, and the laundry fell behind, and for a couple of days there it felt like I was failing at everything Mom was able to do. Keeping a whole house clean, a whole family fed, managing all the chores...saving Takumi's life..." The floor is comfort enough for her to sit on, and her legs don't feel like supporting this kind of talk any longer. "What kind of replacement am I supposed to be if I can't manage half what she did?"

DICE: Eri Shimanouchi rolls 1d20+0 and gets 19!

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

What Mai says is touching, even if it feeds into her own need to take care of others but they're on a weighty subject matter, and Mai's final statement cuts to right to the heart of it. SoFor a while she's quiet, green eyes unable to meet Mai's, as she fights down the impulse to react to Mai's comment about being a replacement, but she decides to address her first statement. "If I went into a labyrinth alone and someone died because I was reckless, then I'd think I failed. I don't think you did though."

She looks up finally, bespectacled green eyes meeting Mai's, "You say you take responsibility for Mikoto-chan, but you only seem to take responsibility for the negative. You saved her life. She adores you, looks up to you. And she helped you save Takumi-kun's life. So while I'm not sure you should always look at your friends this way, Mai-chan, but can't you take responsibility for making friends that are there to help protect what's important to you?"

She doesn't pause long, while it's strange to think this way, she thinks it's better not to give Mai's mind a chance to rationalize it away, sacrificing it on the altar of guilt and self-loathing. "Your mother was at least a decade older than you, married, and had a stable enough home life and income that your parents decided to have the two of you." Her voice suddenly picks up tempo, a little edge of anger creeping into it. "She wasn't balancing taking care of you all with a job, classwork, and monster hunting! She had a partner who at least offered her some measure of support!"

She wants to just let go of her hands, grab her by the shoulders, and shake her, but she doesn't, instead letting the anger boil up and carry right through her. "If I can't convince you to love yourself enough to think of yourself as more than some inferior replacement; then I'm at least going to drive it right into your thick skull that you're balancing twice what she had to with less than half the support!" The last statement is all but hissed out, "And you're /still/ somehow making it work!"

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

It's Eri's off-handed comment about the possibility of her dying that shakes Mai from her self-consuming lines of thought. Her head comes up with a jerk, and she stares in horror at her friend. It's jarring enough that she's forced to listen. Listen, and...eventually, answer. "...you're right, Eri-chan. About...a few things I was forgetting. I just..."

Mai's thoughts turn to the meal for the next few days, courtesy of Mikoto. Mikoto, the stray cat...who does her part for their little household, who does her part for protecting Takumi, for fighting the darkness...her knees come up to her chest. "...I'll try. Try not to take my friends for granted, but...also to try to not forget that you're all able to help sometimes. And..."

If anything, she curls up a bit more. "I know, it's not the same - that everything's different from how it was. But...someone needed to be there when she couldn't." Mai takes a deep, shaky breath, and lets honesty slip out. "...and I did my best. I don't know if it was enough - I'll never be sure of that, but I think you're right. I think I did as much as I could have been expected to."

She's silent for a little while after that, letting those guarded words rest in the air. Up until now...she might have heard such things from Takumi now and again, but actually said aloud...no. Slowly, gradually, she uncurls from the ball she left herself in - and this time, turns her gaze to Eri instead of to dead space. "...but I'm not going to let anyone say I did anything less than that. I'll try to rely on you or Mikoto in a pinch - but at the same time, I need to make sure you're being taken care of. And, Eri-chan...are you? Heaven knows you're making sure I don't lose it often enough - and I'm sorry I've been such a mess lately - but...are you okay?"

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Some of that anger floods right out of her as Mai answers, and the rest gradually fades. I mean, she can't reasonably expect someone who had been carrying guilt for eight years, who had wrapped their whole self-image around the ideal of a mother that she blames herself for her death to change drastically overnight. That kind of healing and self-examination took time, and she wasn't so arrogant that she didn't know that she if she even had a part in helping Mai find a more balanced and healthy life perspective, that her role was going to be a small one in the overall picture. So she listens, and speaks up when she feels it's the right time, "And someone was there. You stepped up. But you need to stop comparing yourself to someone you've put on a pedestal. Else one day you're going to fall down really hard."

And while it wasn't the same situation, Eri knew that all too well. She'd once put Mami on a pedestal, wanting to be her without actually knowing the first thing about her? How well did that work out for her? Well... they were still talking at least, sometimes. She slumps down upon the bed to seat herself beside her, putting an arm around her, waiting for her to continue.

There's much she wants to say on Mai saying that she won't let anyone say she's doing less than that, but Mai abruptly changes the subject to her. And after a moment, Eri presses a finger against her nose, and looks down, trying to keep the emotions on her face carefully controlled, before looking up and smiling facetiously, her opposite hand moving over to poke her shoulder, "Oh no. I'm not having any of that tonight, Mai-chan. Tonight it's about you. You're hurting and you need someone to listen to you, say things you need to hear but won't tell yourself, and help take care of your housework. So nope. I'm not saying, and you're just going to live with it."

She takes on a teasing tone, "Maybe I'm dating someone I had a secret crush on now, or maybe I just flunked an exam. But that's for me to know until I'm sure you're taken care of~"

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

Regrets and frustrations and longings and everything all jumbled up into Mai having a relation to her Mother whose complexity is only limited by one party being deceased. There's a pedestal, and determination, and not wanting to let things fall apart like they did after...after.

Eri's teasing, however, is met with teasing of Mai's own - the topic shift being as much to have the topic /change/ as to make sure her friend is all right. "Or maybe you've received a wedding proposal from some flamboyant European prince, and you're wondering whether he's less of a dork than the local fare~"

She relaxes, though - there's an easy smile on her face that was hard to find before. "But thanks. To you and Mikoto both - for all the mess it caused, fishing was just the thing I needed to get out of that rut. I do feel guilty, though - you keep doing this, time and time again, and I don't feel like I'm doing enough for you in return. Or for Shiori-chan, for that matter...and on that note, you're right, I really do need to call her."

Abruptly, an elbow in the side, and a fiery grin. "And not about wedding proposals - don't think I missed your little insinuation there. It's just dating. High schoolers are allowed to date."

Takumi, maybe not so much.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Another irritated, but mostly affectionate noise leaves her throat as she gets an elbow in the side and grumbles, "You /wish/!" And so did Eri, but right now is the time to deflect, "The closest thing I'll ever get to meeting a prince that isn't a dork is Miki-kun, and he's head over heels for someone." There's a sigh after that. After all, what girl her age wouldn't want /Miki Kaoru/ to fall for her. But, she knew who he was in love with, the guy had gone so far as to even borrow some dating sims for advice on how to express his feelings. Not that she was going to spill on that.

She ripostes with an elbow however, when Mai says she feels she's not doing enough, "Doing enough? Friendship isn't some sort of transaction Mai, where all debts need to be balanced. Alright? So don't even think about how you're going to 'do enough' in return."

Another elbow, "I mean it! Else I'm going to drag you to Pino, put on your future wedding reception tracklist, and force you to take every turn!" She grins wryly at her, "Then you'd never be able to repay me." The grin disappears, as she glowers at her in a mock threatening manner, "Don't think I won't either, you're allowed to date, but I'm allowed to dream. And those dreams take the form of /spreadsheets/."

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

Grinning in response - so quickly the rains of sorrow can be buried - Mai holds up one hand with three fingers. "Jerks. Dorks. Or taken. That's it, that's the full set of possibilities for guys. Except for the ones who go for more than one of the above." She pats Eri on the shoulder sympathetically, though...

...only to get an elbow or two in the side. Still, she's managing to laugh. "Fine, fine! Just remember that you can call on me if I get to call on you, and -that- exchange you're not getting out of. And..." A mock-gasp. "You fiend! Tempting me into the dark realms of wedding planning with the promise of...of /karaoke/!"

She's grinning, but her gaze flits to the side - the upper shelf of the open closet, where there's a certain box. The moment doesn't last, though - and she turns back to Eri with a full grin. "And don't think you can scheme like that without consequence - or I'll drag you into picking out floral decorations!"

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

At the final statement. Eri slides her arm from around Mai, walks over to her bag that leans by the door near her shoes, and fishes out a small USB drive, holding it up with a sheepish grin, "Started on mine when I was ten, even if it was mostly wishful thinking on my part after reading Shoujo manga. Altered them again last year when I started learning more about Hanakotoba. I included plans to grow them myself to cut the cost."

A beat, "I wouldn't mind starting work on yours when I have the time, pending some finalization." She drawls a bit, "Because I /guessssss/ your significant other can have a say in it, if they really want to." She takes flowers rather seriously, doesn't she? Though the part on the wedding reception track list and the spreadsheets are /probably/ a tease. ...She hardly has time to plan every detail of a wedding with her life as it is right now, right? But she can dream, can't she?

Let's hope so, at least. Dreams can be a fine balm against despair, even if they're impossible ones.