2016-08-19 - A Hand Up

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Title: A Hand Up

Wracked with guilt and crippling weakness after kidnapping Madoka and the subsequent rescue, Kasagami Araki throws herself into unhealthy training at the risk of her own sanity. But when an Ohtori student is at her lowest, that's when a Dashing Prince offers a hand up.


Kasagami Araki, Utena Tenjou


Ohtori Dorms

OOC - IC Date:

08-19-2016 - November 14th, 2014

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasagami hasn't been on campus long, but her reputation preceded her: violent, hot headed, strong, and willing to drag someone into the dojo quite against their will and proceed to fight them for slights imagined or real.

Somewhat true, but also exaggerated. She mostly kept her violence to kendo tryouts and the occasional bully that actually tried to hurt someone. Hotheated was definitely true. But the rumors didn't say anything about her aggressive warmth, her willingness to shake a hand rather than bow or try to get close to anybody who'd let her in and look past her many flaws and problems.

The last two days however a new rumor has appeared: Kasagami was found in the dojo, collapsed, broken practice swords and her hands worked to bleeding. She'd been an enthusiast in the kendo club ever since joining, only made worse by her dislike of its Captain and desire to 'teach him a lesson'. But what the kendo students found was evidence of an unhealthy, horrible obsession. Many shrugged it off. Maybe she'd just went too far in training for an upcoming tournament.

But then the next day, students come in, and she's back again. This time awake, and still practicing. Bandages cover both of her hands. Her voice is ragged, and her good eye bloodshot. There's a mat in a corner where she presumably slept. Or more likely, collapsed into. Anyone who has tried to enter has been met with an angry glare, and two words.

'Get out'.

It's about this time that a guidance councilor was called in. Rumors float around the campus that Kasagami's gone crazy. Eventually, even the councilor gives up after nearly an hour of trying to convince Kasagami to go to her dorm, rest up, eat. She'd already made notes. 'Stress induced illness' they all read for her classes.

One particular councilor might just get desperate enough to try to find help from the student body. Kasagami swings her sword, and falls to a knee, gasping and trembling. "Still...not good...enough..." She mutters, lost in her own world. GAME: Save complete.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyEj0E794XQ

Utena Tenjou is never someone the guidance counselors would go to for help, not even in the apocalypse -- she knows this, because it happened, golden beams in the sky and tanks on the ground, and they still tried to keep her from doing the right thing. Fortunately, she's never needed an invitation to stick her nose in someone else's business. Given the name and the description, the first time Wakaba whispers in her ear that the new Disciplinary Executive has gone crazy, Utena's first reaction isn't pity and certainly isn't fear -- it's worry. Wakaba knows that look, and other than a stern lecture not to get herself hurt, leaves Utena to do what she does.

And so it is that a shadow falls across Kasagami from behind. To turn and look up to see Utena is to see only a silhouette, she's backlit by the sunbeams pouring through the cracks of the wooden chamber; which blacks out her face and her features, other than a vague sense of a boy's uniform and long, long hair. Even in November, she smells like wild roses, like rolls down the freshly mown palisade, like golden, sun-drenched afternoons. She pulls her hands out from behind her back, baring them. One offers a chrysanthemum, a gorgeously white one, which shines defiantly even in the darkness of the dojo, catching all the light it can, taking it in, and breathing it back out ten times stronger.

The other offers a hand up.


Her teeth resolve from the silhouette, bared in a smile. Like the monosyllable, it contains no pity, no fear. Just a steadying, caring presence. Cool like a summer stream is cool when feet go in, not cool like Touga Kiryuu. Warm like a hot shower, not warm like the heat of battle.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It's the smell that hits her first. Wild roses. Not something that's uncommon at all at Ohtori, but this particular scent is just strong and pleasing enough that it draws Kasagami out of the dark world she'd cast herself into out of guilt, anger, and overwhelming powerlessness.

Suddenly she's not longer locked in her own mind and body, and there's a presence behind her. She turns, slowly, almost fearfully. As if tearing herself away from what she sees as progress might make her dream shatter.

A flower. A hand. A tall figure with long hair, that distinctive boy's uniform, and a single word. She drops the sword in her hand. Reaching out like a woman dying of thirst with water being offered, she takes the flower first. Soon enough, it's on her uniform, and she looks down at herself.

A shudder, a shiver, and there's a low sob for just a moment. Tears fall as her eyes squeeze shut. Running an arm across her face, she reaches up to grasp that offered hand. Utena's mere presence, so sudden, lacking in pity or fear or mocking laughter she'd only now realized had been leveled at her by other 'concerned' students. In a moment of unguarded weakness, she smiles to the dashing prince before her.

Kasagami rises, most likely almost entirely on Utena's own power, and then just weakly collapses against her. Her heart is beating fast, the strain in her body is easily felt. But heartbeat slows, and she seems to relax of that horrible, coiled tension that's been in her these past nights.

"...Hey, Utena." That voice is ragged, a little weak, but the joy at someone who doesn't hate her, doesn't judge, and isn't hurt by her own actions keeps her from finally being driven to Despair.

Silence. She trusts herself to the Prince, like a King being dragged from a lost battle. The crowd that had gathered quickly disperses. They're alone.

A few ragged breaths. "I must look like one hot mess right now, huh?" She tries for a chuckle, a little humor. It's dry, a defensive mechanism. Eyes relaxed, she actually looks like a person right now rather than an animal in human skin.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

On the contrary, the roses of Ohtori are obsessively cultivated. The finest, most expensive, most wondrous and rare varieties. Utena is spicier. Perhaps a little less perfectly perfumed, but the smell of wild growth is more complex, too, unfettered, unrestrained.

Her hand smells like it too, and it's shared as she squeezes Kasagami's, as she uses herself as leverage to bear the taller girl upright with seemingly effortless strength and grace. She could have been lifting a feather, or a pea, the pea that goes under a hundred mattresses.

Chest to chest, the chrysanthemum is getting smashed, and Utena gently plucks it from the uniform to secure it with easy delicacy behind Kasagami's ear, instead. Her heartbeat, in comparison, is slow and steady, a metronome of calm, an inviting baseline to approach. She moves her arm behind the other girl's back, gathering her up, trying to take as much of the strain as she's allowed.

Let it not be said that Utena's a perfect prince, though. He would have said that Kasagami looks beautiful, as she always does, and meant it with every fiber of his being. Utena is too young, too forthright, too honest.

"You look terrible, Kasagami," she replies, and the complete lack of reproach, the easy assessment, has its own kind of charm entirely. No chuckle to be found, but her smile remains, relaxing now, glad to see that her simple presence has provided at least some surcease from the demons Kasagami grapples with. "Wanna hit the showers?"

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasagami could really get used to that smell. Something about it reminds her of simpler things. Rolling hills. An untamed forest. Sunlight and freedom and carefree days. Another shudder, this one of relief. The self-doubt, all those demons, retreat for the moment. For the moment, she can be weak. She doesn't have to try to carry the world's sorrows and hate on her shoulders. It's been a very long time since Kasagami Araki has felt safe.

That's not to say she doesn't have stubborn pride. Not all of the taller young woman's weight is on Utena's shoulders as they walk. Legs at first tremble and wobble, far from her usual confidence. But as her stride goes on it picks up. She lets Utena lead the way. Her dorm or Utena's, she really doesn't care right now. Most of all, she wants to be out of the staring, judging eyes of passing students. Gossip is whispered. Occasional cruel laughter.

'You look terrible, Kasagami'.

She stumbles, just for a moment. A pause, a slow turn, and a look to Utena. Is Kasagami enraged by such a bold, sudden, honest comment? Any other student in the Academy would have made up some lie, some comforting statement.

A smirk flashes, a brow rises, and she laughs. Long and hard, stress melting away as she leans on the other girl. It's genuine. The first she's given since the night she kidnapped Madoka. "Y...you little...." Deep breaths, she calms down.

"Utena Tenjou, that shower sounds like a piece of heaven right now. Let's get going before I suddenly regain my sense of dignity and start acting like a real Student Council member." A gulp. She whispers. "...You know, it's refreshing. How bluntly honest you are. Don't lose that, okay?"

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Utena walks through campus with the confident ease of someone who owns it, ubiquitous behavior on the Student Council and extremely rare outside of it. She manages to keep that poise even while going much slower than she would normally -- fast enough to avoid tweaking her walking partner's pride, but slow enough to avoid tweaking her already-battered frame.

Seen together, there's whispering and laughter, but also curiosity too, maybe some admiration, misplaced or otherwise. To be seen getting towed along by Ohtori's Prince makes you an object of affection by default, public property of her legion of fans, one of Utena's many princesses, for good or for ill. And so it is that not all the looks given by them are hostile. Some are sad and scared. Others aren't just sympathetic, but empathetic. Many girls in these halls have had their bad days changed by the surprising, fiercely refreshing arrival of a pink-haired near-stranger offering them a hand up.

When Kasagami laughs, it's gasoline on the fire of Utena's smile, which infects her eyes, stoking them -- and her voice -- white hot. "Hey," she teases back, giving as good as she gets, deliberately misconstruing what's been said, "You think Juri doesn't shower? Any one of the Student Council probably showers more than me and Wakaba combined. I'm just helping you fit in around here."

She was about to start them moving again, but instead she stills abruptly at the compliment. For a brief, rather precious moment, her cheeks burn furiously. Then she stuffs it down. "I'm just imitating you," she suggests, her grin becoming a bit cheeky. Maybe more than a bit. "C'mon, Oh Mighty Disciplinary Executive, let's go get you cleaned up."

They wind up at Kasagami's dorm, which is presumably also Utena's dorm. It used to be, if pretty briefly; at any rate, she knows her way around. They're here because Utena suspects that after the shower this girl is going to want to sleep -- best to have her bed nearby. "Which floor are you on?" she asks, scanning the directory by the door at the same time.

<<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Those are the exact /opposite/ of the stares she's used to. A quick gaze to a fangirl, or an empathic set of eyes, fear or even admiration. Kasagami's lips feel dry. She licks them, a stupid little goofy grin on her face for a second. Hope, empathy, concern are all things she's foolishly tried to throw away.

Between Moon and now the Prince and her fans, the legion of /good/ she's done on campus shown in just a few glances, the smallest, most tiniest seed of potential is planted. She won't admit it, can't internalize it just yet, or even realizes what's happening. A small sprout that maybe, just maybe, she's wrong. But for the immediate, she finds herself blushing. It feels unnatural, her teeth grit in frustration at such a foreign thing. It immediately all feels better. She can deal with normal frustration and a little strangeness. Kasagami finds Ohtori students /weird/ as a whole. The heavens help her when she goes to class tomorrow.

"No /kidding/!? And here I thought she just woke up, snapped her fingers, and reality warped and bended by the sheer force of her innate awesome to make her so pretty and prim. I stand corrected!" Grin!

"Lemme meet that 'Wakaba' of yours some time, though. If she's hanging around you, she can't be all bad." That way may well lie either disaster, or something amazing.

"Mightier than the tallest oak tree, and...yeah, probably smelling like sap right now." That jokes falls a little flat, but she rolls with it.

A single finger up.

"Top floor, third room on the left." Because of /course/ a Student Council member gets the nice room.

One trip later, there's a key to door, and it opens to admit the pair. It's big. Very obviously designed for two people by the two beds. One looks perfectly untouched. The other is nice and made up, but the covers are slightly off, pillows at an angle. The furnishing is of the 'old and antique' style, immediately clashing with Kasagami's decorations: a frankly obscene and possibly illegal collection of bladed objects from multiple countries, posters for various jazz, metal, and orchestral rock bands plastered on the walls seemingly at random. But most importantly, is a mini-fridge with foods both healthy and unhealthy and a desk right beside the window overlooking a wonderful view of the Campus as a whole. Right on that desk is a number of notebooks, a bookbag, a clock, and a single framed picture.

The woman in the picture is the absolute spitting image of Kasagami, older and just as athletic. She has a far younger Kasagami in her arms in a big hug. Kasagami is smiling brightly. The man in the picture is handsome in that everyman way, making bunny ears behind his wife with a smile that's very close to Kasagami's at her best. Her steel grey eye is most certainly his. A hand shoves the door closed behind the pair, and Kasagami sighs in relief.

"Utena. I owe you one. A big one. And...I'm sure you have questions. Can't promise I'll answer, but you can ask. First, though, time to feel human again. Got leftovers in the fridge, soda, beer, coffee, whatever. Make yourself at home, just me right now, and I don't get many visitors." It's lonely, she all but screams.

Kasagami's clothes get shed and tossed into a hamper with absolutely zero modesty. All but one thing. That rose-engraved ring on her hand. A long pause, as if she's caught in thought, or a very important decision. There's a side table, and she very deliberately puts it down slowly. She makes sure Utena can see it, the precious symbol of her power. An opportunity to remove an opponent is right there.

She'd die for that ring, but Utena in the space of mere days has proved herself worthy of Kasagami Araki's test.

Grabbing a towel and a set of night clothes, she enters the large bathroom. Water flows, searing hot. She gets in with a grunt and a curse. Soon enough, she's singing.

"As I was goin' over~" "The Cork and Kerry Mountaaainnss~" "I saw Captain Farrell, and his money he was countin'~" "I first produced my pistol, and then produced my rapierrr~"

It should be noted, Kasagami has a fairly decent singing voice.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Utena doesn't try to keep up with Kasagami's banter, leaving her the last word in general. She speaks louder with actions; casually getting the doors for her, being the one who acts like taking the elevator is just her instinctive choice (this is an act, Utena rarely notices that elevators exist). "Wakaba's the best," she does say, both blithe and proud, meaning every word. Once inside, she folds her arms; Kasagami's offer makes her feel awkward, and she just shakes her head, sending that long pink hair swirling all over everything like silk. "Whatever," she says, wrinkling her nose, "I'm not gonna drag stuff out of you. I didn't go to the dojo out of curiosity." She files away a mental note to have Kasagami up to the East Dorm for dinner some time. Clearly she needs to get out more. Though it makes sense that she's isolated... she only just got here, really.

Her claims aside, Utena gives the ring a curious look -- perhaps not the expected expression from another Duelist. She says nothing of it, though, and while Kasagami's in the shower, she settles herself crosslegged on the floor. Then she jumps up and does some lunges. Then she uses the wall for some stretches. Then she sits back down again, drumming her knuckles lightly on the floor. It's a restless thing, being alone in someone else's room. The singing makes her grin, and finally she silently toasts the performer with a can of juice fished out of the mini-fridge, and opens it with a snap.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Fifteen minutes later, Kasagami has ran through a good number of songs, and out she steps. Her nightclothes of choice? Light tank-top, slightly ratty purple-and-blue sweats. For someone so loud, it's pretty boring. A glance to the ring. It's there, unharmed. That curiousity is caught. The gaze she gives in turn is one mixed with surprise and maybe a little pity. Entirely not what she was expecting.

A ball of pure fear wells up in her stomach all of a sudden, not for herself this time, but for Utena.

"Not even curious? You're either a saint, or really mean, Utena." A slight smirk just to take the edge off. She crosses the room in a few lanky-legged motions, and she's pulling out a nice canned tea. The kind promising sleep. She needs it, but she's not going to let Utena off that easy.

Then she all but launches herself into bed with a thud. A turn, heels are suddenly against the wall after chugging down said tea. One-handed can-crush, and it's flicked disdainfully towards a trash can. Roll roll roll around the rim. It actually stops there. Frown.

Twice in the same week, she was /almost/ awesome. An upside down gaze to Utena. Silence, and then a sigh. "I've been swinging a sword almost as soon as I could hold one. Heh. Follow in the old footsteps and all. Something like that. But when the chips are down, it always seems I'm just that much off. A hair's breadth away from...from finding something like real victory."

A sigh. She should probably not talk. But she has to get it all off her chest, and Utena's presence is a welcome one. "...Hey, Utena. What's your dream?" She asks suddenly, shifting abruptly. She doesn't hide the curiousity. She knows the rumors. But she wants to hear it from the young woman's mouth.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Fifteen minutes running the shower has made it pretty warm in there; Utena's opened her jacket, revealing her plain gray tank top beneath. Maybe she only owns one set of clothes. Maybe she has a closet full of identical hanging pairs of gym shorts, tanks, and jackets.

She raises an eyebrow at the pity, but then the explanation appears, and she shrugs, a lissome gesture that ripples down her torso. "I mean... you're on the Student Council, and they all have them." An exceedingly reductive observation, but nonetheless one that she seems willing to accept. Eager, maybe. Maybe she doesn't want to know.

Utena starts to get up when Kasagami's in bed, but it becomes clear that her presence is wanted; she doesn't raise herself more than an inch before slowly settling back down. With awesome control (it's all those stairs), she lifts a leg and pokes that can into the can with the very tip of her toe.

Her very blue eyes meet Kasagami's grey one, unperturbed by them being upside down. She often does the same thing. "I saw the picture," she says brightly. "Your Mom looks totally badass! And nice," she amends quickly, accurately. Honestly. There's a brief wistfulness there, like a wind through her tree, passing and gone.

While she's being quiet, Kasagami speaks again, and she just shuts up and listens. She nods gravely at the issue of losing at important times -- nods very innocently, as a matter of fact, but she's at least capable of keeping her damn mouth shut about the ease with which victory tends to come to her. Besides, it seems like she's being asked about something else.

A crescent-moon smile appears, a wry one. "I bet you've heard the rumors," she suggests lightly. "Here less than a week, and already probing me for my embarrassing story." There's a brashness to this self-depricating humor hiding something real; she is a little embarrassed by whatever it is. Inevitably, though, a little dreamy, too, as she pauses, clearly gathering herself for the tale.

Her gaze goes not to Kasagami's ring, but to her own.

"When I was much younger, I was... in a bad way. And, well... a prince came to save me. He was so cool, and so kind. He really saved my life, and... I decided that's what I wanted to become. Who I want to be. How I want to live my life... so that's my dream, I guess. To be a prince, to save princesses."

As she gets into the groove of the story, she becomes steadily more casual and relaxed, that brief tension easing iself out of her and into the wall she's leaned up against. It's familiarity helping her out; she's given this explanation many times, and it sounds like it.

Before any probing questions can be asked, however, she turns it around. "What about you?"

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

'They all have them'.

Utena's not wrong. It yanks a smirk out of Kasagami's mouth that fades just as fast. If only it was just that. The full magnitude of Utena's ignorance slowly starts to dawn on Kasagami. She thinks back to the information she was given. She'd assumed. She'd assumed that everyone in the Duels knew what was at stake, that dreams were on the line. To some extent, the Duels to the rather naieve Kasagami are sacrosanct. Things of honor, conflict. The kind of pure battle she's dreamed about, so wanting a crown to call her own. But at once, business. Something disconnected from ordinary life.

Her lips become a line, teeth grit, she tries to turn away. Utena might just catch an angered expression on her face that passes just as quickly. When she looks back, she's smiling. It's a paper-thin one.

"Glad to know your eyes work after all, Utena!"

One can into the bin. Snerk. She makes a mental note to team up with Utena on the basketball court. God help the boy's team now. A shiver runs through her. The compliment draws a tear that's rubbed into the bed. Tired, relaxed as she is? It's a herculean effort to not openly cry. But no, that'd do her mother a disservice. "Yeah. Badass. Nice. Strong. Fast. Gave the warmest hugs. She was....always so gentle. You wouldn't think it, someone that strong. But she knew how to hold back, how to be soft when she needed to. That's something I just can't match. Heh. I'll bet she'd have liked you, Utena. Nah. I /know/ she would." A thumbs up, eye obscured. She can't quite hide both pride and a little pain in her voice.

Suddenly she rolls over, just as quick, feet smacking to the ground in a tone that's almost finality. Kasagami seems relaxed all of a sudden, friendly, but she swiftly moves on. She'll let implications linger. Utena has something important she's saying. Smirk. "I'm the type to move fast. Life's too short!" More like she rushes in headfirst like an idiot.

Her gaze goes completely serious, and treats the story with all the gravity as if she was telling her own. She leans on her knees. Someone saved Utena Tenjou. In her eyes, there's the smallest flash of jealousy, followed by shame. Her heart skips a beat. She'll hate herself for that moment later. For now, though, she opens her mouth, and closes it. A simple, accepting nod. And finally, a smile. A Prince rescuing Princesses. Thinking back, on that moment when a flower was put to her hair. How she was led away from that dark, deep pit of self-despair. It was the exact thing a Prince would do. And the innocence she's shown. Perhaps Utena lacks that little bit of dishonesty a dashing Prince would show to a Princess on her darkest of times, but it warms Kasagami's heart all the more.

"That's pretty interesting, Utena!" She finally says out loud.

No laugh, no mocking. The tiniest seed of an idea is planeted by this blunt little would-be Prince to a would-be King. "Well, that's pretty simple. I know a bit about what you're talking about. I was in a bad way too. Heh. Even thought about ending it all a few times, but I was too much of a coward to really do it." She sounds awkward. This very much /isn't/ a story she tells often, at least in this much detail. No, Utena's proven herself worthy.

"But one day I opened my eyes and looked around. I saw people suffering by magnitudes more than me right when I thought I /really/ knew what it was like to be in pain. Messed up stuff. Unfair stuff. Well, I won't bore you with the details, but that's when I realized this world really, really sucks."

An almost casual shrug, her head's down as if burdened by a crown of pure iron.

So I decided to become a strong King who could rule over the world, and change it. Because unless you're at the top and the absolute strongest? Then anything you do is just spitting on the wind, Utena." She ends, voice humorless, serious, and bitter. That's when she rolls around to lay back in the bed with a yawn. "That's about it."

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

From her spot on the floor, Utena shifts uncomfortably; she senses Kasagami's anger, and, not understanding its source -- maybe the whole 'she's not on the Council so why does she have a ring' thing, some of them seem to resent it -- all she can do is squirm. Her attention is quickly distracted by the past tense description of the mother, the pride, the pain.

She takes a few calming breaths of her own, then sits up to start to reply, but Kasagami's getting up, things are moving on. They can talk about something they have in common another time, maybe. Instead she listens attentively, if somewhat awkwardly, to the reaction to her brief tale. She definitely seems out of her depth once suicide comes up. Kasagami's mini-fridge gets a thousand-yard stare, and keeps her gaze until the very end, when it shifts back to the owner.

"Wow," she says honestly, a little taken-aback but definitely impressed, "That's, like, really intense." In the end, that's about equal to 'that's pretty interesting', and equally without mocking and laughter. She pauses for a moment, then starts getting to her feet.

"For what it's worth," she offers as she stretches the kinks out of her spine, "That stuff we did together, saving the kids? I don't think that was spitting on the wind, Kasagami."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The offer all but hangs in the air, perhaps. Pain seems to linger, definitely, after her words. Should Utena get curious, it wouldn't take too much digging to look into that particular tragedy. One diet member, well respected and a rising star in politics. A kendo genius, humble but strong and encouraging to young women everywhere. A mysterious fire. It's the kind of thing tabloids and newspapers alike ate up.

Kasagami notes the stare, but ignores it. A good King thinks of her subjects dignity, and so whatever demons Utena has in turn, she pays them no mind unless addressed.

A hand reaches out, and plucks one of the many sharp knives on racks from the wall. Someone should probably call her on her obsession with the 'pointy bladed object' thing. It's flung towards a cork board that's riddled with scarrs. Thunk. Right in the middle.

"Awwww, c'mon, don't be so surprised! It just goes to logic, right? There's people that want to be Princesses. So in turn, there needs to be people who want to be Princes. An elegant, warm, graceful woman to charm and be the warmth that keeps the Prince's spirits up when they can't think of going on. A Princess isn't weak, nah, they're the pillar the entire thing rides on! Don't underestimate 'em! They can be as dangerous as anybody! Then there's the Prince, so strong, so straightforward, and yet so innocent that they'd pick up a stupid bleeding animal of a person and draw them away from the darkness. From their own self pity, that kind of thing." A weak chuckle, she deflects endlessly. Both arms go up to the air.

"But at the top, there needs to be a King. Handing down law and order. Taking on the burden of the awful world that wants to crush the innocence of Prince and Princess all at the same time. A King's duty is to look out for everyone else, give the Prince and Princess their responsibilities so that the King doesn't go crazy and all the Court and the People are happy. Heavy burden, but..."

She pauses, yawns once more, and Kasagami's eyes close.

"Not like I've got anything better to do, and I've got a pretty nice set of shoulders. Or something like that." A casual shrug. Something is flicked Utena's way. It's a single key. "Doesn't look like anybody's moving in soon, so have that. Wouldn't mind having you over for dinner some time, Utena." A single thumbs up, then she rolls under covers and pillows.

"Stay...yawn...here if you want. Other bed's all yours. Or not. Do whatever." If nothing else, today has solidified Kasagami's trust in Utena.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Utena jumps a little with surprise at Kasagami throwing knives. No wonder she's on the Student Council, that seems like the kind of skill they'd have. She stares at it, at the cork board, for a long time, while the other girl lays out her vision of the world, but moves her gaze -- and herself -- back to Kasagami when she chuckles.

She crosses the room in a couple of strides, and looks up at the Duelist in her bed, looks right back at her as she speaks of the burden of being King. She seems rapt, hanging on every word. She seems impressed, the way her lips part slightly and her eyes shine. It's not something she'd ever want, that kind of responsibility, that kind of power. "You're really admirable," she says finally, shaking her head, after shoulders are discussed, and shrugged. "Just... don't push yourself so hard. You know? The King has a responsibility to their court not to get sick or injured and be unable to do their job. Or worry them so much," she mumbles, at the end, a little shyly.

She catches the key out of the air easily, slips it into a pocket. "I can't stay," she says apologetically, and means it. She likes sleepovers. "My roommate's probably already looking for me. Maybe," she asserts herself a little, her little grin returning, "Maybe we'll have /you/ to dinner, instead. Come find me at the East Dorm sometime, okay? You're welcome any time."

With that, she sees herself to the door. "Get some rest, Kasagami. See you and your shoulders tomorrow."

A waggle of her fingers, only dimly visible in the shadows, as she clicks the overhead light off -- and then she's gone, leaving only the lingering scent of those wild roses to remember her by.