2017-09-02 - Be My Valentine

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Be My Valentine

At the end of Valentine's Day, Kasagami demands answers from Utena, who is not forthcoming.


Utena Tenjou, Kasagami Araki


East Dorm, Ohtori Academy

OOC - IC Date:

09-02-2017 - 02-14-2015

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Nagusami no Kyoushuu https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07VXuyr75bQ

No one is answering the front door of the East Dorm right now, but there are lights on on the ground floor, and -- since it is a dormitory -- the front door isn't locked.

Utena is seated in the largely-abandoned dining hall of the East Dorm. Normally she and Anthy rattle around in here like the last two dried beans in a jar, but right now she is both alone and more cozy than usual, in that she has a truly ludicrous amount of chocolate heaped in gigantic piles on the tables all around.

There are bars. There are heart-shaped boxes. There are brownies. There are homemade delectables and stuff that probably cost more than their own weight in gold, stuff that has breathtakingly famous names on it -- or no names at all. If you have to ask what it is, you aren't rich enough to buy it.

Utena is not the most organized person in the world -- quite to the contrary, notoriously so -- but right now she seems surprisingly matter-of-fact as she writes something down in... a diary? A notebook? It could be either, it's one of those composition books everyone's required to keep around. She has another book, too, laid out on the table in front of her, which she studies every so often... and a stack of post-it notes which occasionally receive a scratchy annotation, then a new home on top of one of the gifts.

She moves through this process with a sort of ease that suggests that this is a well-refined ritual, something she's perfected through years of trial and error. Despite that, though -- despite the fact that, indeed, she is surrounded by evidence of how much people care for her -- she seems subdued, at best. Her shoulders contain that slump that has lately become a trademark, and her eyes are tender.

Tender is a dangerous word. It can mean sweet and heartfelt, but it can also mean exposed, vulnerable.

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

At first, Kasagami had tried Utena's dorm room itself before anything else. The fight with Miki had been close, the girl still rattled by Miki breaking down. Fresh from the shower and with an un-shredded uniform, she hasn't exactly been running on all eight pistons. A few heavy knocks, and it finally kicks in. Lights. Ground floor.

A tired sigh and a sweatdrop, and down she goes back to the one place she can think of: the dining hall. She has to peer around that mountain of chocolate boxes to spy any amount of the pink haired Duelist. Kasagami feels a genuine smile coming on.

"Consider me impressed! I think you have more than I do, Utena. How utterly embarrassing!" Comes Kasagami's voice. There's still the hint of an adrenaline high to it, victory clearly still in her voice. But something else lurks in her gaze. She follows the girl's face, looking for those signs of hollow, of being hurt. How she slumps. Kasagami Araki is worried out of her mind for someone she considers a close friend.

Already, she's kicking out a chair. As usual, she doesn't ask to join, simply does. Her coat settles over the back of the chair as she crosses her legs. There's a big lump in one of her coat pockets, at that.

"I never did like this holiday. Giving something like chocolates...the intent is nice, but why not something more permanent and tangible?" She dances around her own worries. Just for a moment as her eye peers into Utena's.

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

Utena doesn't turn when Kasagami addresses her, and the short pink back of her head is unreadable. At least she's not wearing that cap of hers inside; it's nowhere to be found. Maybe it's buried under all the chocolate.

But when she joins her, Utena exhales slowly, closes her eyes for a long moment -- like she's getting herself together, dragging shattered pieces into something like a whole -- then looks over and up. Even seated, Kasagami is far taller than she is.

"It's like this every year," she says, possessed of an exasperation that is both weary and fond. It transpires, now that Kasagami's close enough to see it, that the other book on the table is a yearbook. "They always... and I don't know all their names, and I don't want to disappoint anyone on White Day... so I just..."

Her hand, still holding her pen, gestures at her whole process here. Identify giver. Write down gift, and tag it. Presumably, shop for appropriate return chocolate in a month.

If she gave any of her own today -- much less made it -- it isn't obvious. That's not a part of this current exercise, after all.

"I like chocolate well enough," she adds, as to the gift. "I can never eat it all, though. You can take some if you want... in fact, please take some off my hands. Having to throw it out, when it goes bad, it feels like going to a funeral. Still, I guess it would be worse if it was permanent stuff."

Her lip -- still split, like someone punched her in the face recently -- quivers into a tiny, wry expression. It's not quite a smile, and any amusement is definitely directed at herself

"I mean, I'd have to get a rental unit or something."

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

As Utena explains this happens every year? Kasagami's eye widens just a touch. Then her lips quiver, and finally, the tension and exhaustion is all a bit too much. She laughs. Not the one she gives in the midst of a fight, but this is simply a young woman tickled pink. Arms slump, and she all but collapses onto the table in front of her. Head in her arms, her good eye peeks out at Utena watching like a hawk.

"That...only you, Utena-chan. Only you. Maybe I should have sent you some after all! A card from you alone would be beautiful on my desk." A tease in her voice, and she even tries to elbow the other girl. Grin.

Then she goes silent. Considering, she chuckle-huffs just a moment. That lump in her coat is pushed back. It's large enough that the action does nothing but emphasize that it's there.

"Maybe." Dismisses the woman. Then she finally forces herself up with visible effort to lean back in her seat.

"Utena." She starts, voice serious. "If someone has been hurting you, you need to tell me. I won't stand for someone abusing the students in this school. As the Disciplinary Executive, or...as someone who cares a lot about you. What happened? You have my word it won't go beyond a report and my ears."

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

Utena leans into Kasagami's laughter willingly; sometimes, her life really is a joke, and there's nothing to do but share it. Her expression doesn't change, though, and she shakes her head in the negative at the idea of giving Kasagami chocolate. "I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea," she says, quietly but firmly. "I'm not... available. You know." Light glistens on her ring, the one she says her Prince gave her.

She did give chocolate to two people, tomochoco ('friend chocolate'). But, as she's said, she winds up doing most of her gift-giving on White Day along with all the boys.

But all the light drains out of her when Kasagami starts acting like an adult or an authority figure or even a friend. Her lips press into a thin line and her eyes darken from bruises to black holes. Her shoulders clench, and her arms start folding across herself defensively before she realizes she's doing it and, not wanting to display that kind of weakness, forces herself to pick her pen back up and sit something like straight.

She turns away, goes back to paging through the yearbook for the next person.

"It's really none of your business," she mutters, trying to inject some kind of lightness into her voice and failing badly, it just comes out dull and flat. "And I'm pretty busy tonight, and shouldn't you be? Someone like you, senpai, you must have a date on Valentine's. Go to it already."

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

A smile, and Kasagami only seems to perk up at the firm denial. A hand reaches, and...flick! Flick flick! Poor Utena's nose is being menaced. Kassie can be an utter child at times.

"And playing hard to get just makes me want to keep trying. Maybe you'll give in one day!" The tease is there once again. A shake of her head though. "So loyal to your partner. It's actually very noble. Regardless of what I don't understand about it...keep your nobility, Utena, and you really will make someone happy I think." The words are suddenly sincere.

But Kasagami doesn't get to dwell there, as she catches how those lips press and eyes darken. Kasagami leans back tall, imposing, and steadfast. No matter how much she's aching right now, exhausted, she refuses to back down.

"I think this sort of thing is exactly my business. Don't make me repeat myself. It isn't like you to show up like this, you're not a delinquent. If you're in trouble, I can help. Romance can wait a minute until I know someone isn't going to slam your head into Ohtori's pavement! You're lucky I'm not dragging you to the nurse's office and getting the medkit! Who. Did. This?" Her voice rises, steel hard. Her eye gazes at Utena. Her mouth is in a snarling frown.

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

Kasagami doesn't get more than one flick off on Utena before she lunges backwards, letting her chair clatter to the floor. "What the heck?!" she yells, alarmed, putting some distance between herself and the older girl. Her hands rise to pull her cap further down her face only to realize, around the time they're at brim-level, that she's indoors and it isn't on.

The comments about her nobility, however kindly met, elicit a gasp of air that makes it sound like she's been stabbed. "You have no idea what you're talking about," she says, her voice shaking. "You really don't. And while I'm sure you'd love to help me," there's a bitterness there that's undeniable, a vicious twist to her voice that sounds nothing so much as betrayed, "You can't."

She looks past Kasagami, to the window, and seems lost, alone. She tries to squint into the dark but can only see her own messed-up reflection, glaring inexorably back at her.

"No one can. So just leave me the hell alone. This isn't in your jurisdiction anyway."

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

Utena lunges back, yells, and Kasagami is looking at Utena like a deer in the headlights. It takes her a minute to finally comprehend just how bad things have gotten with the girl. Her hand, now trembling, slowly falls to her lap. Wrenching her jaw off the floor, she leans back, and stares hard at Utena.

"Everything on this campus is my jurisdiction. And more than that for the people I care for." Comes her voice, drained and stung. Her hand grips the package in her pocket. Teeth grit. Finally a long, slow sigh.

"Listen to yourself Utena. You're a battered mess. You are falling to pieces! Seriously, you'll end up in the hospital at this rate." Slowly, she stands, and shakes her head. Reaching into her pocket, she slams down the package. The wrapping is careful, all blacks and reds. Utena's name sits on it. It's crumpled just a little, but doesn't look like any kind of chocolate box.

"You know where to find me when you stop being a fool. Stubborn as a bull!" She turns with a thud of her boots, stalking out of the hall. The front door of the East Door creaks on their hinges as it slams shut.