2015-07-04 - Heed Her Every Order

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Title: Heed Her Every Order

On a nice summer's day, Mami just wanted to get some tea and spend time with a friend. Unfortunately for her, she got Mai Tokiha as her waitress.


Mai Tokiha, Mami Tomoe


Linden Baum Diner

OOC - IC Date:

31 July 2014 - 07/04/2015

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

Summer vacation has arrived, and with it countless glorious things to do with one's day. There's adventures at theme parks, there's cicada-catching contests, there's cookouts and beach trips and swim lessons, the only absolute constant being that it's freedom from classes. How one chooses to spend the lazy days of summer varies widely, but as a rule the plan is 'freedom'.

For most, that is. There are a handful of students with part-time jobs, and while many also give summer break there are some that do not. Among them is the glorious world of restaurant work, where tables must be bussed year-round - come rain or shine, come class or vacation, the customers will come. So it is on this bright summer's day that a handful of teenagers are doing as they did during the school year - whether working the kitchen or waiting on tables, they're hard at work. Scheduling varies a little more widely now that classes aren't in the way...

...even though the customers don't seem to have gotten that memo. It's fairly quiet, in light of the gorgeous weather outside, and the only real activity is at a couple of tables in one corner where someone ordered the Ultimate Perfection Parfait Grande.

There's a small crowd there, of course, but they're occupying themselves by videotaping the attempt to eat the mammoth pile of ice cream, cake, and miscellaneous toppings.

Most of the restaurant is still empty, though, and a couple of the waitresses are quietly chatting about the upcoming term. When the front bell rings, it's the job of whoever is most bored to go and greet the customer - and today, that seems to be Mai. Glancing anxiously towards the windows now and again, she fidgets with an empty serving tray - but when the bell next dings, she wrangles a bright smile onto her face, greeting before even noticing any arrival. "Welcome to Linden Baum!"

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Summer vacation is not really Mami Tomoe's favorite time of year. ...Of course, she does have something /like/ a part-time job herself...

But mostly, the Puella Magi works nights.

But she does have a friend here who works the more conventional shifts of the diner, and the nice part about summer is that it's easier to go out and see her. ...And, well, people /do/ tend to look awfully happy.

Regardless however, that marks the yellow-favoring girl walking around in casual attire, stepping to the door and opening it up as the bell dings to announce her. She has a small smile on her face, her usual way of being--

Her smile doesn't fade as she sees Mai Tokiha, but that's only because she's good at things. Instead, she lifts one eyebrow.

"Tokiha-san, what a surprise!"

It /almost/ sounds nice.

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

The voice is familiar. The use of her name is...something approaching familiar. And so Waitress Mai, clad in pink and white, actually pays attention to just who has entered the restaurant today.

Her smile doesn't fade either, largely due to professional pride and having to keep smiling even at customers she detests, but it does freeze in place as recognition slams into her like a freight train full of cake. For a beat, there's silence - broken by the crowd in the corner gasping dramatically at someone attempting to reach the top of the parfait.

"Tomoe-san! Definitely a surprise - what brings you here today?" All the practice in the world can't hide the strain in that beaming smile - though her coworkers, unfortunately, seem content to continue their conversation off to the side. Her fingers drum along the serving tray in her hand. "A table, I suppose?"

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Customer Mami, in yellow and white, looks placidly at Mai, who, technically, if one were to actually think about it, is her senpai.

...That sure is a moment of silence, though.

"I thought Madoka Kaname was working here today," she says very simply, and continues to smile. The main clue that it is not genuine is not a break in the smile but indeed the absence of such a break--Mami's /so/ pleasant that it's as if there is nothing wrong in the world at all.

"Of course," she answers. "...It doesn't seem you're having a terribly busy day so far. With you working here I'd expect more customers."

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

If not for the crowd in the corner loudly enjoying the absolute parfait apocalypse, one could almost imagine hearing a clock ticking away the seconds of silence.

Mai's fingers, drumming away uncertainty, still in their grip on the tray. "Here looking for Kaname-san, are you?" There's a hint less politeness in her tone, just the slightest undertone of accusation - in the battle of politeness judo, Mai's mask has already slipped just that little bit further. "Hopefully not for the same kind of chat you had with that other friend of yours...."

Perhaps a bit more hastefully than necessary, she plucks a menu from the holder. Flipping it upright, she takes a step to begin guiding Mami to a table - though one away from that cheerful group. "Well, I'm not exactly out to compete with the sun, myself - it'll probably pick up later in the evening. For now, though..."

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The drumming of fingers will do. Mami, of course, remains still.

Her expression tightens somewhat, however, her own mask cracked just slightly at /that/ accusation. "I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about, Tokiha-san. Have you seen me with a friend recently?" Pause. "Regardless, it's touching that you show such concern for your customers that you'd wonder my business with her. I really do appreciate it."


Following along, she takes her seat while continuing to look up at Mai. "Aren't you? Hmm."

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

Table. Menu. Napkin. Cutlery - even including the knife. In short order, Mami's table is ready - a table for one.

Mai glances over to the other waitresses - who have gone and started cleaning out the coffee machine. Needed doing, sure, but right now?...with her gaze still averted, she answers. "Fair enough - I wouldn't know about any friends of yours." That serving tray - still at hand - is at least at her side, rather than held as some sort of shield. Though what that might say in itself, as Mai turns to meet Mami's gaze directly... "We've had a few problem customers, though - and I'd rather not subject the other waitresses to any trouble they might rather avoid."

The smile, worn once as a mask, has been supplanted entirely by a considerably...tighter expression by now. "I'd rather not make a scene when everyone's having a nice day, Tomoe-san. It's nice out, so I'll take a bit of quiet. Now - did you want anything to drink?"

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Even the knife!

...A table for one.

Mami doesn't even blink at the comment about her friends, the one she invited--again it's more obvious that she reacts by the way she /doesn't/ react. "No," Mami agrees. But then Mai's next words...

Mami looks right back, amber eyes unblinking. She smiles again. "I'm sorry to hear that." ...She doesn't sound very sorry. "But then, I'd like to think that we both care about the impact our actions have on others... Wouldn't you?"

Obviously she does not think that. At all.

"Well, as long as it's for a good reason," she says far too lightly. "I'd like some tea, please."

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

It's a nice table, at least. A booth by the window, with another seat that someone could join her...but Mai herself is in no rush to do so. Besides, a nice meal and that little booth will seem nice and full.

Mai blinks once at the not-so-contrite apology, and for an instant there's the hint of a flinch - her heart closer to her sleeve than wherever Mami's is. The implication is patently obvious, though - just what the golden-haired girl is aiming at.

Figuratively, for now.

"A good reason, right. One doesn't make waves without a good reason, Tomoe-san." Mai smiles tightly. "So I'd prefer to try finding out just what's going on before storming in guns blazing."

She's probably not talking about problem customers any more.

"Anyway, tea - we've got a selection, check the bottom of the back page."

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

A lonely booth is normal enough. It /is/ very pleasant in here; Mami can really appreciate the sunlight filtering inside.

She'll take the point either way, however; Mami's heart is /not/ on her sleeve. Mami's heart is hidden in plain sight, on one of her fingers where her other hand can easily conceal it. It glitters slightly in the light.

"One shouldn't, but I find it's common to jump in too quickly." A pause, as Mami's eyes narrow.

"A nice sentiment. ...Isn't it also a good idea to find out just what's going on before you make assumptions, Tokiha-san? It's not always at all obvious what someone is trying to do."

Mami does not even look at the back page.

"I'll just take your recommendation. I'm sure you know your teas better than I do."

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

There's another round of laughter from the sizeable group of friends loudly enjoying their parfait. (Which is, to be fair, a feat of dessert engineering towering above all of their heads while seated.) The light is bright, there's just a slight breeze from the fans to keep things from getting too hot - it's a nice place to be, especially for friends or family.

Alone with Mami Tomoe, Mai's eyes flicker to the window and into the distance there. "You've said it - all too common indeed. Unfortunately, I've had to accept that there are some people I just can't see eye to eye with." She breathes in slowly, holds that breath, and then lets it out just as gradually.

Her gaze finally returns to Mami, solemn and steady. "No, someone's intentions aren't always obvious. Certainly words to remember, Tomoe-san." She lets those words hang in the aire for a moment - and then breaks off her stare, turning fully away from the guest and towards the kitchen. "I'll get you a nice black tea, then. You can take it as sweet or bitter as you see fit."

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It would probably be fun to join them. ...Mami doesn't, of course.

"Do you think so?" Mami replies. She watches that breath, carefully, but doesn't say any more just for the moment. Instead...

"Of course, intentions only go so far to begin with." A pause. "That seems fine. Black tea is really quite flexible in that way, isn't it?"

Pause. "You don't know what I was trying to do back there, Tokiha-san. There are things much too dangerous to be left in unpredictable hands."

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

Mai stops in her tracks. The path to the kitchen, where she can get a moment's refuge and put in that order...it's an escape route. Behind her, there's only the customer - Mami Tomoe - and a tense conversation.

She could just walk away. But the veil's just dropped, pretenses abandoned, and there's little better option than here and now. She doesn't turn back to the table - not fully - but turns her head enough to at least see Mami out of the corner of her eye. "Well, I suppose the hands they're in now are more predictable - for what good that does anyone."

She didn't stay long - worried about everyone she'd gone to the festival with, not wishing to stay near the battlefield longer than necessary - but she heard a little about what was at stake. Enough, perhaps.

"You're certainly right, though - I don't know what you were trying to accomplish there. Just like you don't know what I was hoping for, before. Which of us has the unpredictable hands, I wonder?"

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

At least no one else is really paying attention to them. Even if they were, it's still vague, isn't it?

"If that girl had been willing to work with me in the first place, then maybe I could have helped her avoid that. Now, we have no way to know. She certainly doesn't seem interested in telling anyone what she's trying to do."

Mami keeps her eyes right on Mai, for now. ...She stayed longer... but things went very badly, for her.

"I'm sure you have your own perspective," Mami allows. "...But too often I've seen what just letting others get by leads to. I won't let things get worse because I didn't act. I've been at this too long not to see what's at stake."

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

It's amazing, what people can get used to ignoring - especially with other distractions helpful at the ready. The kitchen crew testing out a new recipe, the coffee machine apparently turning malevolent, the parfait group squealing in delight at the revelation of hot fudge...

"Ah, I see. So the problem was that she didn't listen to you." Mai pauses for a moment - even from the corner of her eye, she's catching Mami's stare of judgment - and then continues with an airiness verging on mocking. "As it happens, I ran into her a few days before that, and she seemed willing to talk. Maybe it's you?"

Those words can just hang for a moment - and then Mai turns her gaze fully forward, breaking that contact. "Well, it's good to hear we have such an authority among us. Heed your every order, and we might survive?" The last sentence half-sung, a smirk to herself - and then she finally takes that path forward.

To go. Make. Tea.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

And no one has any reason to talk to a pair of ordinary girls here when they've got something else to keep their attention--especially given the looks on their faces.

Mami lifts her eyebrows at 'didn't listen to you', preparing to sigh and dismiss the entire thing, but then Mai keeps going. That airy tone delivers words that don't really seem to sink in for her at first.

She pales, though, despite herself, her demeanor chipping as one blow finally hits home.

Hang they do; Mami doesn't say anything about them, instead just taking in a breath and staring at the older girl for the moment. Heed her every order...

"...You can cancel that order," Mami says, focusing her attention towards the door, rather than Mai. "I'm not hungry anymore."

Mami gets up and starts walking without so much as another word.