2017-08-05 - Garden Club Social

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Title: Garden Club Social; alternatively, Roses in Winter

Small changes herald large ripples, especially in so tradition-bound a school as Ohtori. The Academy's most resident gardener has finally made official her membership in the Garden Club; in keeping with her foremost talents, Anthy Himemiya will provide for her own welcome party with refreshments from her own kitchen. The invitation went out on calligraphed cards to members and interested parties. Surely some were discarded, left on sidewalks, litter classroom desks.


Anthy Himemiya, Eri Shimanouchi, Shizuru Fujino, Steven Universe, and Sucy Manbavaran


A rose garden in Ohtori (not THE Rose Garden in Ohtori)

OOC - IC Date:

Fri Aug 5th, 2017 - Sat Feb 8th, 2015

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Every winter is the longest winter, near its end. The ground has been cold and hard too long; the sky, too often grey; the death that rattles between bare branches has overstayed its welcome. This late in the season, Tokyo may even have suffered its final killing frost. The soil softens and seeds soften beneath, cradling tender green potential only a warm spring sunshine can release.

Here in the rose gardens of Ohtori -- to be distinguished from The Rose Garden of Ohtori -- loamy moisture fills the air, nigh unseasonably rich. Tidy square plots checker freshly-uncovered rose bushes across the grounds. Their chilled leaves still unfurl from slumber, like sleeping beauties whose alarms have all gone off an hour early.

Guarding the field of roses: a double barricade of white-clothed tables that await their bounty. Between the tables: the host of the party and Ohtori Garden Club's newest member, still attired in her winter uniform and offering a greeting as bright as those tablecloths. She, too, seems ready for spring, somehow.

Anthy Himemiya dips a nodding welcome to all comers, beaming her cheer. "Thank you for coming. Yes, by the tables -- refreshments will be here soon." The final bell rang perhaps fifteen minutes prior, and she is here already, her preparations complete. Evening's chill is hours off, yet, the sun cold but present in a sky so pale it nears white.

"Today we'll be waking these roses for the coming Valentine's Day festivities. It is a bit early for them, but we will be gentle." And so is her smile. "First, though, please fill your stomachs with some warm food."

To anyone she has not met, she will introduce herself, this quiet and geeky-looking girl with her owlish glasses and wound purple curls. "I am Anthy Himemiya. It is nice to meet you." She doesn't bother with a grade or other identifiers; perhaps they do not matter so much to Anthy, or perhaps she feels that everyone should already know who she is.

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

"Himemiya-kun," Shizuru Fujino greets with a mix just so of reserve and warmth, as appropriate to a young lady of her stature. "Thank you for the invitation." She dips her head, and moves past her, still wearing her white uniform as she moves towards the tables.

Her only concession to the cold is a lavender scarf that neatly offsets the additional makeup she's still wearing. Her rose crest is not on her ring finger, replaced by her engagement ring. But she's known to be student council in any case.

Shizuru looks to the rose bushes, carefully, analyticcally, and moves herself to a seat. She chooses one with a good view. She moves with a certain quiet ownership that only the student council can. "Though I'm dreadfully curious about something," Shizuru remarks to Anthy.

<Pose Tracker> Sucy Manbavaran [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Despite the significant risk of a Sudden Kasagami Attack, A certain pale witchling with an interest in horticulture found the idea of both the Ohtori Gardens being open to the general student body AND free food an opportunity not to be missed.

Not arriving with anyone to keep her to task, and with the cover of the invitation, she had of course taken a Long and Scenic route to the gathering, and has now crept her way in.

Sucy peers around the faces of the crowds and sees no one she recognizes. She's met some decent people from Ohtori before, granted, but given how badly it could otherwise be (SFX: *a sudden *WHACK*! of a wooden sword*) ... she's relieved.

She bows to the host, but doesn't recognize her, and parks herself at a seat early for the quiet, for as long as it lasts...

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.


On the way out from doing a check-in at the Cooking Club of Juuban, something caught a stout boy's eye on the bulletin board. Someone tacked up a beautifully made card with a rose emblazoned on it that seemed inviting! "Wonder who left it?" he asks aloud, taking it down and reading it.



Outside the house. In the battlefield. In the quarry. At the fountain. Roses seemed to permeate everywhere Steven goes. Obious to him and the other Cyrstal Gems, they bore great significance to Steven's biological mother, Rose Quartz. The ywere a very beautiful flower, and the boy felt at home when he handles them. But... he hasn't the foggiest clue on how to take care of them besides 'water them occasionally', which doesn't feel like appropriate care. There has to be more to it!

And thus Steven answered the call to the gardening event. He could use something to ease his mind after recent events after all.

Thus, a boy wanders hsi way into the event. SOme may see a pink Lion off in the distance, grooming himself. Come on Lion, not im public...

"H... Hi!" he says coming in, peering at the tables and gardening plots around. "I found this invitation. I hope it is okay to come! I need to look into taking care of roses!" he says cheerily toward Anthy. She looks... familiar. Maybe he saw her at another event of some kind!

The child sets a cheeseburger shaped backpack at a table seat, and begins to look around. Shizuru garners some recognition as well! Likely for the same reason as the host. The other arrival, Sucy, seems unfamiliar though. At least for now!

He never walks away from an event without making some friends!

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

Bear witness to the coming of the food! Eri Shimanouchi is here to assist her gardening club- well not /senpai/. Though given how good Himemiya is at gardening she still kind of feels like that. But more importantly today is for a good cause...

She's still in her school uniform. A cream colored blouse, a plaid skirt, a big red bow. Puffy long sleeves. Her hair is cut short black with green highlights. She has however added an apron. It's a simple one, white with a rose in the center. You can't go anywhere on Ohtori campus without running into roses after all.

The girl appears to be balancing a large tray on the palm of her hand, as she's watched servers do many a time, but she isn't all that good at it. It's not on her fingertips but on her palm, every so often she's stopping to steady the side of the wobbly tray. But eventually she does it! She makes it to the table without dropping anything. A serving stand is put down and spread out. And then one by one she takes the large spherical dishes with dome lids and places them in the center of the table.

Then comes the moment of truth. And she hesitates, her eyes flickering towards Shizuru Fujino, her cheeks somewhat flushed, lips pressed together as if she's hoping she'll just stop breathing. Then there's a sigh as if to ask the question- 'Why me?' - as she works herself up to get this over with moments before she lifts the first dome to reveal a cloud of steam-

BGM Change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZA5Co_zlzIQ

-and when the steam clears there's Ikayaki, aka Grilled Squid on a stick all presented in a row. It's mostly cut into rings of flesh, but there are a few grilled tentacles still... and Takoyaki which are little ball shaped pancakes with chunks of octopus in the center, each impaled by a toothpick. They're drizzled with a spicy sauce and mayonnaise.

Lifting up the next tray lid to reveal more steam is karaage aka fried chicken also- on a stick. It may not be the Colonel's original recipe but all the herbs and spices are still delightful on a cold winter day. Alongside it are dango, dumplings of rice flour- on a stick. Each is drizzled in a sauce with a delectable sweet and salty flavor.

Opening up the next tray is dessert! No steam in this one, just a clear view of the delicious sweets. Choco-bananas. Bananas dipped in chocolate. They are- you guessed it on a stick. As well as a true treat of strawberries in mid-winter... also dipped in chocolate, and on toothpicks.

"Bone appa-teet." The girl mumbles in heavily accented, terrible French. Someone like prompted her to say that. She still has bright red painted all over her cheeks in a flush that's surely only due to winter's chill. Surely.

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Her first arrival is expected. "I am pleased you could make it, Fujino-san," and it certainly sounds genuine. Anthy is as polite as she always is to Shizuru, which is to say not so much so that formality chills the air between them, and not so casual that it would ever imply any sort of familiarity. "Have you come to learn about the roses?" A question in exchange for curiosity.

Thus far, no swords are visible -- the only blades present meant for the plants rather than the attendees. Anthy dimples a hello Sucy's way and introduces herself. "I am the Garden Club's newest member, Anthy Himemiya." In the silence that follows, Anthy's eyes can be seen to flick up and down behind those large lenses, but she has endured worse than a lack of return introduction, and simply turns to greet others.

"Welcome," she says to Steven and his burger-backpack. If anything that sweet smile widens. "You are in the right place to learn their care, so please, come have some food first. Gardening is harder than it looks." It's a gentle sort of push, not that Anthy thinks anyone will really need encouragement to enjoy the food.

And then, it is time to FEAST! At first, Anthy takes up a spot between the tables again, a pretty and perfectly placed hostess. Then Eri starts wobbling with those trays and her smile freezes on her face, then she starts to move forward, all shocked worry--

But somehow, /somehow/, the steaming bounty reaches tables in all safety. As Eri nears, Anthy assists in placing things down the tables, directing trays so they are evenly spaced. "You did wonderfully, Shimanouchi-san." And so she has, bringing out hearty food meant to fill bellies for hard work. "Please, everyone, enjoy! And then we shall tend to the garden together."

Neat piles of gardening equipment lie just beyond the tables, previously hidden from view unless one stepped around and toward the garden beyond: trowels, pruning shears, and tidy bundles of bright red ribbons, each set accompanied by a set of sturdy gardening gloves. No nails will be chipped this day! Ohtori would never countenance such a thing.

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Shizuru Fujino's interest in the gardens of Ohtori is sufficient rumor as to be fact to most in the school who have interest in this. Shizuru is of course similarly polite, but she actually smiles back at the question. "I can always learn more," she says simply, humbly. It's a demurral, of course. So she adds after a moment, "But I also came for you. I wonder what made you decide to join the club officially now?"

Shizuru hasn't officially joined, either, but her support is known. Who can do anything about it even if they don't like it?

Sucy gets a pleasant look from Shizuru, a bit of curiousity for her. ..Mostly for her obvious fear, and the quiet she has. Steven, too, gets a pleasant look and a nod. It's respectful, even. She maintains a small smile even so.

But Eri appears, and Shizuru looks her over, devouring details. When Eri hesitates, Shizuru smiles wider, and Eri does not at all stop breathing. Shizuru looks over the apron too, and when the tray moves and Eri starts opening up food, the spark of delight in Shizuru's eyes grows. Or... maybe that's not delight. Maybe that's fascination. Maybe it's sadism. It's frankly hard to tell.

Shizuru keeps smiling. THe food is perfect. But Eri's mumble makes it. The Vice President actually stops and laughs aloud, dipping her head to make it less obvious. "Oh, how perfect!" Eri is embarrassed. Shizuru looks right at her, "Wonderful, Eri-chan." Smiling might even hurt, if her bruises haven't healed, and the chill doesn't bother her.

Her nails that won't chip are purple with intricate patterns painted on. She moves again and starts gathering takoyaki, popping one into her mouth quickly, regadless of the heat.

"Mm," she says pleasantly. She... seems like she's in a very good mood.

<Pose Tracker> Sucy Manbavaran [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Sucy Manbavaran's historical native Witch tradition is a little different than the western norm of the magic school at Infinity, so it doesn't affect her as deeply as might otherwise, but it still gives the student witch a moment of pause, or reflectin upon realizing that every food here is being served on its own stake...

She listens intently to Anthy's mastering of ceremony with the deference it deserves. For her lack of introduction, her behavior and body language is less impudent and more withdrawn, as though she's used to being invisible and perhaps prefers it.

Sucy makes her way over to the food station and starts to fill a small plate when appropriate to do so, taking the squid and octopus dishes especially, but trying at least one piece of everything on offer, and tries her best not to mix all the sauces.

She becomes aware of Shizuru's attention for a moment and looks towards the girl. Sucy's expression remains blank, not revealing her internal reaction to Shizuru's nod, Sucy is not one to smile casually, but there is a feeling of at least respect in her austere nonverbal communication.

Having loaded her plate and getting a beverage, the pale girl makes her way back to her seat, and takes in the sights of the garden. It's a nice day, but remembering that last time she attended a school-affiliated function for food... Sucy resolves to least try to eat and first socialize second, lest she again not have the chance.

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

Her cheeks are still reddened when Shizuru declares it's perfect. Tells her wonderful. And she continues to mumble, "I'm glad you enjoy it Shizuru-c..." Realizing her gaffe as they're in public, she coughs once, "...senpai."

Then she slowly puts her hands up, waving them, looking awkward at Steven, "Ah- no. Himemiya-san made all of it. I... can't actually cook. I'm just here to assist." Doesn't that boy look a little foreign? Even if he's speaking flawless Japanese. Eri internally sweatdrops at the thought that maybe he'll think this is what is acceptable at garden parties in Japan.

There's a faint pause then, "Ah. Thank you Himemiya-san." She does at least smile at the hostess. Even if her taste in garden party food is a little strange. And she could be a little creepy sometimes... a lot creepy even. She cared about the gardens and cared about the restoration project and the smile is sincere in that much. Given that she's helping serve the party she doesn't actually sit down to eat.

Not that she could even eat much other than the dango and dessert. She's a vegetarian after all.

Instead she folds up the tray stand and takes the tray and it off to the side. She's instead fiddling with her hands and her eyes are darting at the gardening equipment. THAT is what she's eager to get to.

However Steven asks that question and Eri startles out of it- she's not actually that good at history, but this is the history of the gardens, she tilts her head to the side and considers then she answers with increasing confidence- "Well the Academy was founded in the early 20th century. And the gardens have always been important to Ohtori Academy."

You can't turn a corner at Ohtori Academy without running into a rose of some kind, She does offer him a smile, "Our Gardening Club takes a lot of pride in our work here. I'm... actually here on a gardening scholarship, believe it or not."

Anyone who would think such a thing doesn't exist? They'd be WRONG- considering Ohtori Academy.

Eri's eyes then follow a pale girl back to her seat, plate loaded with food. She doesn't actually say anything to her immediately. Her eyes just trace a line between Sucy and Himemiya.

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Why did Anthy Himemiya join the Garden Club, why now? The Student Council Vice President wants to know, and so: "Oh, I guess I just felt like it." What a sweet and simple smile, to match her reason.

She may be a good hostess, but Anthy has her limits. Having done the lion's share of the food preparation, she's been waiting somewhat longer than the newer arrivals to partake, and knows /exactly/ what she wants. Himemiya beelines directly for those octo-yakis and pops one into her mouth. For a while she just chews in happy silence.

When Sucy gets to the squid-and-octopus station Anthy is still there, eyes darting to the plate, and her expression is full of preliminary guilt: she's considering snagging another, and has not even fetched herself a plate yet. Though it does not show, Anthy already feels a bit weary: she is stretching herself a little, by placing herself at the center of this gathering rather than one pace behind and to the side of someone else. And still, this girl makes her seem chatty.

"The octopus is very good," she ventures. Guilt overcomes indulgence and she takes a polite half-step back, surrendering that station to the other witch. Steven, this new rose enthusiast with the adorable backpack, opens the next topic and Anthy is quite happy to let her senior club member take the stage.

Hands folded neatly over the pleats of her skirt, she attends to Eri, whether or not the rest do, then nods after. Anthy draws a long breath before speaking into the silence, her voice a little quieter than she might like. It carries, barely. "Once you have all had your fill, our work can begin.

"This is a bit rude of us, so we should use care, and be delicate. Seasonal change is a touchy thing, for roses." Anthy takes this warning seriously enough that she'll try to look each prospective gardener in the eye to impress it upon them, quite a level of social effort for such a shy and retiring girl. The rumors must be true: she really does love her roses.

"We have three jobs to do and you are welcome to choose from them. We must draw the soil mounds back from the base of the plants; we must prune any dead and diseased branches away to make space for clean growth; and we must find the most promising buds and mark them with the ribbons for special attention."

She feels faint, a feeling which scales commensurate with the number of eyes on her. One more thing. Anthy inhales again and holds it, so her warning floats out visibly upon a breath warmed deep within her chest. "Please use the gloves. The thorns are quite sharp."

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Expecting a straight answer from the Rose Bride is a fool's errand, and Shizuru doesn't hide her sigh. "Just when I think I have a chance to learn more about you," she says, and though the words are rueful the words are unemotional, draped in mildness like padding. She doesn't ask again, however.

"I do," Shizuru comments to Eri on her enjoyment, her eyes marking approval of the form of address. But she generally seems to approve of Eri right now.

Of food, Shizuru too is chewing, the same thing Anthy went for, but she has acquired a bit more food already. Karaage is also on her plate; Shizuru is not a vegetarian. The sticks are all the more entertaining.

Respect from Sucy is something; Shizuru lifts an eyebrow, showing yet more interest in the quiet girl, but doesn't speak to her yet. Instead she smiles back at Steven as he looks her way. "I'm sure you can learn as much as you like in cooking."

The question of who made what is mulled over the coure of eating, and watching Eri thoughtfully when the gardening equipment gets her attention an keeps it. The story...

This story about the club she knows. "The Gardening Club should take pride, in its work and in its members here. The student council can see your hard work, as can the student body."

Official words done with, Shizuru watches Anthy say more clearly much of anything than when she's known her. She watches, silent, with her eyes thoroughly on Anthy. What can she see from this girl? What can she learn about her here?

"A pity for the flowers that we can move past their defenses so easily. But we mean them well." A sigh. "...I think I know what I will do. I don't have the heart to prune away branches." This is a lie. But Shizuru does have care for the roses.

More to the point, she's expressed intent to do actual work.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

"Oh!" he responds toward Eri. A look over to Anthy. "Well it is amazing, good job!" a look back to Eri. "And thank you for bringing it out here carefully! After all, if you didn't bring it out here as careful as you did, it could have been on the floor! It was a great team effort!" Her contribution was no less important!

"Oh! So it has been here a long time!" Steven replies with. Goes to show people teach excellent ways to maintain the garden!

The boy has a few more pieces of chicken, and cracks his knuckles. He is ready to work his green thumb! "I bet," he replies to Anthy's request. They were living things. They deserved to be treated well!

The boy definitely knows the pain roses can inflict. He has no hesitation going for the gloves, and offers them to others who do not have a pair yet.

Shizuru's comment is heartwarming. Maybe one day he can make things like these! He just has to keep at it! The best part about Cooking Club? The delicious clean-up. Mmmm.

"Ah--" Steven thinks about the options Anthy gave them for what needs to be done. Hm. He looks down at his legs. His jeans can take the stains and dirt from the ground when shifting soil. That seems the most important when tending to wild roses.

"I can help with the dirt-moving!" he says, holding up a courageous gloved hand!

<Pose Tracker> Sucy Manbavaran [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.
  • munch munch munch* Wasting no time. Sucy eats away, at long last experiencing the joy that free food is the best food! Particularly fond of octopus, and squid, she rejoices in those choices, and is delighted at the flavors of the chicken and dango as well!

She saves the chocolate covered fruit for last, finishing the banana as she listens to Anthy's details of the upcoming work... Sucy considers... if she could use her magic openly, she could easily do all three herself, they're simple tasks that would only require simple spells and items. However, one option seems ideal for her: perhaps she might find the pruning and "removal" of the dead and diseased branches the most fruitful endeavor. She could help the people here and exchange for the food she just ate, and if some small samples of those dead and diseased branches vanished, well what's the harm, they're going to be tossed away anyhow... right?

She doesn't scream what her intention will be, but hopes that showing up and grabbing the right tool for the job will be enough.

If it's not, she hopes she at least doesn't get stuck with clearing dirt. It might be too conspicuous to have brought her own broom to clear it away... though maybe she could change it into a pushbroom... Sucy scans for sight of any similar tools she could try to mimic while she listens attentively to the rest of the Garden Club's words.

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

Eri isn't sure what to make of Steven's effusiveness. For a moment she wonders if she's being mocked in some roundabout way, that's what one tends to expect at Ohtori. Her mind wrapping around possible things of- 'Thank you for not being as clumsy as you could have been.'

Eventually she decides- he's just a kid. And so her smile is genuine as she waves a hand from side to side, "Oh- you're very welcome. But really just... you being here is more than thanks enough though."

Obviously this girl really cares about the state of the gardens and the forest restoration project. Despite the pride Ohtori had in its gardens, most kids here considered actual Gardening the job of the /help/. Much less reforestation.

Rude of us. Eri actually nods. She has nothing to add to what Himemiya says. It's everything she'd say, except more polite- and better. She knows how sensitive roses are to the winter chill. One false move and you could condemn a whole bush by stimulating new growth at the wrong time. It's really risky not to wait until Spring if you don't know what you're doing! Fortunately Himemiya knows better than anyone.

She starts to untie her apron to take it off while Himemiya goes over everything, but mid-motion... her eyes flicker over to Shizuru.

A moment later she's retying that apron. Then she's sliding on a pair of gardening gloves as Shizuru tells them they ought to take pride. The girl smiles again- which wavers slightly when she talks aobut their defenses then- "Ah I don't like pruning either. Never have, even if it's very necessary." A beat, "It feels like you're cutting one of their limbs off... or a head."

That was a little strange. Eri mentally kicks herself and tries to dial it back a notch. Then she looks at Sucy grabbing the pruning shears and wondered if she should have bothered.

"Ah-" She looks towards Himemiya, "-anyhow I'll take the last duty Himemiya-san." And thus she grabs a set of ribbons and gets to work. She's very gentle, very meticulous as she brushes aside branches, mindful of not even bending back thorns in search of buds.

It's not long before she's tying off ribbons in gentle slip knots around branches to make them easy to come off. But she's marking more buds than she ought to... Himemiya if she checks her work will know in short order that it's not that Eri doesn't know roses. She absolutely can identify which buds are the most promising. It's just that she's marking some that aren't too... some that normally /just/ wouldn't make the cut for special attention.

It might reveal to her at least that Eri can be a bit of a soft heart when it comes to not letting things go.

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

As she'd hoped, Anthy's directions bestir action and steer attention garden-ward. Away from her. Her shoulders round, and she releases a soft sigh. Perhaps, now, she can...

Yes! Second octo-yaki obtained, and Anthy's eyes close in pure pleasure. Thus she hears Shizuru's commentary on pruning. Instead of reacting, the girl keeps merrily chewing. She gets every last bit of flavor from the treat, swallows, and /then/ opens her eyes to see the Vice President standing there. She makes a pretty face of surprise, oh, were you speaking to me? Silly me!

"You must be right, Fujino-san." All politeness and deference, always. "That way, the roses will be as they are, unchanging and untouched." Such a bright tone, indicating nothing but approval.

And the Rose Bride turns and takes up a pair of pruning shears and gloves.

On her way down a row she pauses at Steven's side and crouches, dainty. "They needed their coats in the winter, but now they need air and light more." One finger taps the mound the boy is meant to trowel loose. "You will be doing them a great favor."

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Shizuru notices the effusiveness too, but doesn't say much to it. She doesn't really say anything about the effect her comment has on him, either; she says nothing there except, "My, such energy.

Shizuru finishes up her food quickly, avoiding the sweet foods entirely. SHe isn't in the mood. Shizuru continues watching Sucy here and there, in little moments, but says little to her; she only spots the tools she chooses.

Shizuru then nods in approval as Eri keeps her apron. The brown-haired young woman reaches up her diamond-wearing hand to push her hair back behind her ear. "Yes," Shizuru agrees with her about what it feels like. But Anthy speaks up at that point, surprised as she looks. The surprise she looks placidly upon, says nothing about. She must be right; this too is normal. But in that bright tone...

Shizuru grows completely still for a long few moments, her lips settling gently together as she draws one breath, then another. Her fingers curl. Her red eyes have a strange, deep quality. And after a moment, Shizuru smiles.

"Sentimental, isn't it?" Shizuru discards the remainder of her plate, eschewing more food. She moves to put on gloves, after considering not bothering, and picks up the ribbon.

Unlike Eri, Shizuru marks /nothing/ to save that does not look to have a chance. Her work is both efficient and entirely ruthless. She says nothing.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

That Eri girl seems to be very modest! People in Tokyo are so kind. Every day here, he misses Beach City a little bit less, and here begins to feel more and more like home. Of course it helps to have all his friends from there living here too, somewhere in the nearby wards.

Everyone present begins to assemble and decide on tasks! Steven picks the soil shifting, That young lady with the hair covering part of her face, Sucy, takes to pruning. Eri, the helpful lady that brought the food, chooses to help designate special blooms. Shizuru still seems to be deciding.

The boy fetches a trowel, and holds it with both of his gloved hands with great determination. "I'm ready," he says in a tone that conveys one thing:

It's go time.

The boy is guided to a specific area of the roses. A good guess would be each volunteer is tackling a different section, so they don't crowd themselves (and the roses!) out. "I am on it! I will help them into their spring casual wear!"

Not the best pun. The boy kneels down into the dirt, and looks around the area. He has to be careful not to hit the edge of the base with the trowel! It could cause serious damage!

If he gets this right, the wild roses, especially near his house and on the battlefield will surely be appreciative!

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Red and aqua meet for a second, directly. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in the latter save for pleasantness of the most placid and unthreatening sort. It might be enough to cause a lesser personage to doubt their read of Anthy, to wonder if perhaps they felt thorns where there were only petals. Shizuru, of course, need doubt nothing.

The pale witchling selects shears, too. Two bright moons hide Anthy's eyes as she watches Sucy, pulling her own gloves on without looking down. Then she gives her shears an audible, testing *snip* and looks back down her own row, beaming the comfortable contentment of a gardener at the heart of a garden.

It just so happens that the row she's selected to prune, Anthy shares with one Eri Shimanouchi, senior member of the club and horticultural prodigy of Ohtori.

Anthy is both thorough and efficient, employing the sort of firm-but-thoughtful touch that accompanies the best bedside manners. And indeed, her patients seem to appreciate the care. No mold or rot evades her; in her wake, pristine bushes seem all the more vibrant for the wounds they've sustained. In this way she catches up to her row-mate. Eri's exceeding thoroughness cannot compare to the quick and merciless care of this practiced (rose)field medic.

"You are being very... generous."

For Eri's part, she is a gardener of no small skill (if perhaps overlarge mercy) and knowledge. As she works, she may note just /how/ premature these blooms are. Her trained eye is still capable of picking the more even, saturated buds from their lesser sisters whether or not she marks them any differently, but they are very young. Younger than she would ever advise a gardener to thaw roses, even in emergencies. The freeze still grips them, still fills the veins of the plants.

/Does/ she know what she is doing? Will these bushes survive this spring's blooms?

"And kind. Might I, though, ask you to select a bit more carefully? If the bushes are heavy with flowers, none of them will be ready in time."

<Pose Tracker> Sucy Manbavaran [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

The little witch takes the shears first of course, and Eri perhaps notices the tuggings of a smirk as Sucy spies the older student's reaction from the corner of her eye.

Perhaps it's this moment that steals her concentration away from Anthy's actions, and maybe that's for the best, though even Sucy /feels it/, and there's an odd feeling she's definitely not used to. Unable to ignore it entirely, looks over to Anthy, her face blank, her single red eye reading the older girl for a brief moment... then turns away, for she has a very important and interesting work in which to indulge.

Sucy pulls her gloves on one by one and takes a different bush than Anthy, and once she gets started scanning the first part of it, her face changes from its usual sleepy-looking disinterest to an intense focus. The pale girl looks over the rosebushes, identifying the dead and diseased parts for culling, but also seeming to look very interested in them for their own sake. Her work is obviously thoughtful and methodical, so slower than it could be perhaps, but not too slow.

She has the air of someone who despite her small stature and age has more than a modest amount of experience doing this exact thing, so even the most subtly diseased pieces find a home between her shears (and into a pile she seems to be vaguely non-verbally possessive of already).

Sucy Manbavaran seems to be acutely aware of the signs of illness and degradation and disease in living things... like she has an eye for it.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> The Mercy of Nature - Eri's theme - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiBHHh-1mus

Eri seems cheerfully oblivious to everything going on between Shizuru and Anthy, missing the nature of the rejoinder entirely. Mostly because she's looking at Sucy's unnerving smirk. It reminds her of someone... but her eyes then move sidelong upon Shizuru and she notices the sudden intensity.

The smile drops off of her face, even as one forms on Shizuru's. Why would she swear that smile isn't the most...

Tapping her glasses to adjust them with the back of her wrist, she looks back Shizuru's way- "Ah..." She leans in towards Shizuru then whispers as she works, "Are you alright?"

A lot of people definitely seem to get angry around Anthy, but Eri doesn't get it. She's a bit weird and creepy sometimes but Anthy never does anything she's noticed that would deserve anger...

There's no way that Eri's gardening skills are ever going to compare to Himemiya's. Even if she had centuries to perfect them, she still wouldn't come close. It's why all of the Gardening Club respected her even when she wasn't a member. Deferred to her.

This veteran Gardener is no commander or general of the gardens. She just had a simple love of nurturing things.

But as Himemiya comments, she grows still for a few moments. Not angry. It's just that she knows the other girl is right. Too right on everything save one thing... "Kind..." She repeats the word almost as if she self-consciously disagrees with that statement. But she shakes it off to focus on the matter at hand, the fact that all the nurturing in the world won't save every bud she marked in time for it to be ready for Spring. "Maybe you're right..." She mumbles as if she's going to acquiesce to her greater knowledge.

Her head turns just fractionally her way. Then a gloved fingertip brushes up against the edge of a stem, just near one of the premature buds. She retracts her hand. And slides off a glove. Anyone looking might see the glint of a ring, as she repeats the motion, this time with an unprotected hand.

Her hand is moving within, her back and the bush itself obfuscating the motion from the view of everyone else. If one is looking one might imagine what she's doing. And then eventually she retracts her hand. Anyone looking closely might see little droplets of red across several of her fingers.

"Though. Would you mind checking again for me?" She says, perhaps like a student sounding hopeful to a teacher for checking her work, "I had to check three times and I'm still not sure but..."

She sort of trails off as if she's at a loss for words on how to describe it, or explain it, and has just decided to let Himemiya see for herself.

It might seem like a silly request, childish even, Anthy's eye for roses would never be wrong. And yet- when Anthy checks again, all the buds seem healthier than they ought to be, and further along than they were just thirty seconds ago. Somehow it seems like they'll /all/ be ready in time despite it being impossible. The girl slips her hand back into her glove to conceal the hand, heedless of the spots of blood.

Hydrogen peroxide will fix that later.

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Shizuru doesn't have to take long to decide, of course. Steven's enthusiasm remains a subtle accompaniment to the room, an incongruous note for Shizuru as compared to the rest of what's here... Including Anthy.

Especally Anthy.

Shizuru doubts nothing about what Anthy said to her, but she briefly doubts what is in her eyes. So rarely does she see that sheer /nothing/ but what is expected, the same placidity of the kind that she has used in her own way. But it has its distinctiveness, too. It may look as if Shizuru stares away in some anger... But while there is anger, there is something else too.

Shock. Shock, and other things, few of which show in Shizuru's dull, distant eyes as the hollow recedes and she looks blank instead of empty again. Sucy loses some of Shizuru's attention for now, despite the fascinating way she makes her work. But Eri...

Shizuru's smile has faded by the time that Eri looks back her way and leans towards her, and Shizuru shakes her head very slightly. "...Would I answer anything but fine?" she asks, mildly, pleasantly. "That girl..."

Anger is one of the emotions she has. She was struck, certainly, and blood was drawn. But it is not the only one.

Anthy and Eri continue to work together, and Shizuru continues her own efforts, pausing only to nakedly watch what Eri does with her bare hand. She pauses that, and when Eri asks about Anthy checking again... Shizuru slides closer to her friend. "Tsk," she clicks, shaking her head. "Be more careful," Shizuru murmurs to her, almost tenderly, holding out her hand for a brief moment.

Her eyes slide upward over Eri's shoulders back to Anthy, though. Yes, Anthy made her angry.

But she also gained her interest. Shizuru gives her an appraising look. Still, she says nothing.

Her interest can't entirely overcome the thorns of her own heart nudged by Anthy's words.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Steven takes great care not to harm the flora around. They cannot defend themselves save for their thorns, so it is important that he treats them as something that befits that. The boy looks up happily from his hard work as he goes, to see how everyone else's progress is going!

That Sucy girl seems to know how to trim wasteful bits away. Keep it in a good shape, allowing for a profitable growth to take its stead!

Anthy is of course talking the help, discussing good methods how to act and perform on this rose petal covered theatre.

Eri sees to be doing... something? She reached into a rose bush without gloves on. Maybe they were just too thick to allow her to get a hold of something, or wrap a ribbon. Long as she is careful.

For some reason, things feel... tense for a moment. But everyone seems to be having a good time! "How much to I take away from the plant's base? Like, enough to make it flat? Or do I take more?" he asks inquisitively.

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

As Anthy rises and walks away from Steven, anyone near enough can see her smile and hear her murmur an echo: "Spring casual wear."

Purple-crowned head tilts to regard Eri, owlish and quizzical. The puella magi is at her furtive magics for a while, and may or may not expect to find Anthy poised in precisely the same way when she turns back around. With her lips held small and pursed, those wide eyes serve as Anthy's visual question mark.

When aquamarine flicks away, the girl might just feel like she's been released, even if she did not feel held before that moment. Her eyes now on the rejuvenated plant, Anthy draws close to check on it. For the length of her inspection they stand shoulder-to-shoulder.

For the first time all day, Eri Shimanouchi smells roses.

One of her hands cradles a ribbon-marked bud, delicate fingers hovering so close to the stem that they miiiight brush it... or perhaps not. "You are better with the roses than I thought, Shimanouchi-san." She gets the same smile the octo-yaki did, all beaming pleasure. Either Anthy does not notice the blood her waking beauties drew, or she does not want to comment on it.

Across the puella magi's shoulder, red and aqua meet again, much like they meet along the edging of the Rose Bride's gown atop that aspirational corkscrew of a dueling platform -- and not like that at all, for there is little to this contact that speaks of softness and frills. Beneath that struck spark a little smile forms on Anthy's lips.

And then, demure, she lets her eyes drop down and to the side: acquiescence, surrender. Of her own free will Anthy looks away first. Shizuru can feel that there was nothing in her own gaze that forced that bended knee (or is it a bared neck...?).

Snip, snip. Anthy is all gentleness and precision, shearing every last inch of blight from her beloved rose bushes. She continues in this quiet and well-pleased manner for the rest of the afternoon, quite happy to offer small murmurs of direction or advice as needed. Still, she slips away early, before the sun reaches its early winter setting point. Anthy Himemiya has someplace to be, Saturday nights.

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

There's just a touch of wonder in her eyes at the way Shizuru says 'that girl' as if in confusion. Again she wonders what gets everyone so worked up. She thought it was just Saionji being well... quite frankly, an asshole, albeit a pretty one. But people could be both as has been made plainly clear to her in recent years. But now seeing Shizuru worked up she's wondering what she's not seeing.

But then as she withdraws her hand, before she can get the glove on- Shizuru takes it. Her hand is still, wonder in her eyes again. "Shizuru..." She smells roses. Her head turns, and Anthy is there and the rest of it drops unthinking out of her mouth. Perhaps not entirely unthinking given her approval earlier- "...chan..."

And then she's standing still, shoulder to shoulder during the inspection. Nervous. Normal people like Anthy Himemiya couldn't notice what happened of course, but she's still nervous. Until she says that- until she sees the same smile the Octo-yaki got- "Thank you... I..." she titters anxiously. "...I've just tried my best to remain dedicated during my time in our Gardening Club."

That's actually weirdly modest for her too. She was usually very proud of her skills in front of other members of the Gardening Club. Until Anthy joined she would have probably considered herself the best out of the middle schoolers. And once Anthy did... the second best. But now she's acting like she's some rank amateur who caught a lucky break.

It would be doubly weird to people who know her as a Puella Magi. The girl that can be so cold and confident in a battle is almost tripping over her words when it comes to something like Anthy Himemiya inspecting those roses. She doesn't notice the look Anthy and Shizuru share while looking over her. She can't right now. Her feet are shuffling and Shizuru is still holding her hand.

"There's a first aid kit in my bag." She slowly mentions to Shizuru. "They're not deep. Really. They don't even hurt." And as if to display how fine she is she quietly answers Steven- "Just enough so that it's always easy to see if there are hidden pests or weeds."

<Pose Tracker> Sucy Manbavaran [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Sucy Manbavaran looks around, in hopes that no eyes are currently watching her, that they've all splintered off into their own conversations, their own focuses (as Akko might say, "their very own stories!") and she affords herself a small impish smile.

Sucy was not of course the most outgoing of people in the best of circumstances, but she had taken special care to avoid meaningful engagement, with the boy here especially, (Steven was it?) who like a certain friend of hers, seemed an explosion of friendship waiting to happen, and today, if her plans are to work, that simply can't happen.

Sucy appears to finish her main work of cutting the mid and top layers, then crouches down under the guise of clearing away some of her clippings, and grabs a clump of dirt. She whispers a spell over it and works it in her hands subtly until the moisture leaves it and it becomes a dust. She paces around the bush, continuing to work on the underside of her bushes, taking a small bundle of cuttings with her for consolidation purposes. Sucy knows however it was the pile she had placed the most interesting sprigs she had found and carefully slides it and herself under a part of the bush for her final underside work. When she feels she's out of sight even of someone who was watching her directly (and she's confident enough no one is), she sprinkles the sand in her hand on the pile, and under its canopy of leaves, the modest but somewhat sizable pile of plant matter and branches shrinks to a mere small handful, that she palms, then pockets in an invisble satchel.

Sucy continues her work until the bush is done, then moves around the bush on the sides, performing a final check for missed places, and continues as normal, outwardly ever dedicated and focused on work she seems to be enjoying.

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Shizuru may give the impression of being all-seeing to some, but in this situation she can only catch so much. Sucy's careful, sneaky efforts are not among them for now, and it's unlikelyshe'll see much of an aftermath, either. Subtlety is sometimes hard to pierce.

But the wonder in Eri's eyes she does not miss; a cut hand in her gloved she does not miss, and the usage of the familiar suffix she catches as well. Shizuru does not say anything against it.

Shizuru glances between the two however, noticing all the more how humble and anxious Eri is in this situation. She sees Anthy, as well.

It's hard not to see when she's staring, red into aqua, across aqua. It goes beyond what might be normal, in that way a person of enough power can manage. But there is no softness, are no frills, indeed. There is just a smile, and Shizuru tilts her head slightly, focusing in interest. And then it's over; Anthy looks away, and that neck is bared, because that would be more Shizuru's consideration.

She can't tell why. She can't tell what she's thinking.

Her grip is gentle on Eri's hand as she looks back to her, noticing her shuffling feet and hearing her slow words. "That may be," Shizuru says, "but you can't be too careful with wounds like those. If you hurt your hands, how would you do your work?" Shizuru tilts her head towards the tables and their bags, "We can continue our work in a moment. I'll use that kit. Then I'll see how you're doing when we're done here. You shouldn't spend your time alone tonight, just in case."

Shizuru speaks calmly, even gently. But she doesn't allow much argument. She says nothing herself to Steven, but looks into Eri's eyes until she agrees.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Steven looks to Eri as he hears the advice. "Bugs... huh." The boy starts shifting a bit more dirt away from the base, enough to make sure it is fully visible. It should work well!

The smell of roses hits the air for a brief moment around Steven. The boy looks around, confused. None of them are blooming yet! Freaky. Maybe it was a perfume Anthy has on? She is the Rose Master. Princess? Leader? Rose something for sure. She is so good at it!

Listening in plitely to the conversation, it sounds like someone got hurt. Through the gloves?

Nah. Wait, didn't Eri take a glove off? Hum. The boy just bites his lip. He has a way to help, but... the others want him to keep it a secret. It could be bad if it gets out. Normal medicine will just have to work for her.

Garnet and Pearl surely know what is best.

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

Not too long ago her senpai injured her hand. She understands well wanting to bandage the hand of someone you care about, she's just a little flatfooted by this level of caring from Shizuru. Plus it was a little embarrassing, the older girl tending to the younger.

But it was a kind of embarrassing that made her feel good. So as Shizuru prompts her- she doesn't argue back. She catches her eyes and looks beyond her glasses into the older and taller girl's eyes and eventually- "You're right." Then she repeats, "You're right."

She does look around- "We'll be right back. We're just taking a small-" Eri doesn't notice Sucy's spell, but her eyes are on Sucy the moment she palms something, "-break..." She doesn't have any idea what the girl is doing. She was pruning right? But it didn't look like she was picking up stems she just deadheaded...

She really doesn't get it, and looks away past her at Steven who is biting his lip right now. She misinterprets it as him just being really nervous about doing his task correctly she tries to catch his eye and say- "Hey- don't worry about getting it wrong. Just relax a little... your gardening senpais here will all help you out." A beat, "That is. Ah... when I get back."

After a moment she let's Shizuru take her over to her bag, which is right near the catering tables, and she uses her opposite hand to pull out the first aid kit. She's not too reluctant in handing it over. The two might be preoccupied for a short while...