2018-02-28 - Why Do You Keep Doing This?

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: Why Do You Keep Doing This?

After the battle of Ueno, Eri visits a dear friend to make reparations. But there's someone else, who can't quite manage the courage to confront them... and something else, which doesn't care to.


Mikoto Minagi, Eri Shimanouchi, Mai Tokiha


Ohtori Academy - Dormitories

OOC - IC Date:

2018-02-28 - 2015-03-30

 .******************** Yamanote High City - Ohtori Academy *********************.
 *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Dormitories +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 There is some variation between the dormitories to provide a range suitable
 to different tastes, but they are typically old-fashioned and elegant, with
 low stone walls guiding the walkways and ivy creeping up their white walls
 and columns. Their exterior is classically European, like sedate manor
 houses, and for the most part this style is maintained inside, with
 dignified old paintings in thick goldleaf frames. However, the dormitories
 do not lack for daring Ohtori touches, with whimsical art deco floor
 panelling here, fantastical geometric lamps there, and odd little secret
 panels and dead ends throughout.
 Dorm rooms are generally shared between two same-gender students, but
 singles are almost as common; Ohtori students were not generally raised to
 share. There are some triples and quads available as well. Some dorms permit
 a great deal of leeway in decoration, others require students to stick to
 the default antique furniture. Many dorms have at least a small balcony,
 which provides an escape route for particularly rebellious students when
 curfews are instated.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Flashes of consciousness.

'TO-KI-HAA!', Nao's voice, hollering over a battlefield. Focus. Focus in on it. She's saying... she's saying...


Voices, again. Mai's, this time, and Nao's. Mikoto is in someone's arms, clumsily. She cannot feel Miroku. She tries to force her voice to work, but she can't even open her eyes. Can't even...


Vaguely, as if behind a veil of clouds heavy with pain, something stings. Mai is talking. She's not in anyone's arms, any more. Feels more like her bedding. She tries to open her eyes, but...


Mai's voice isn't here any more. There is a door, opening. Quiet footsteps. Think - think - string the concepts together - Mai's voice isn't here any more, Mai isn't annoucing herself.

Before then: a battle. Pitched. Savage. Forced back. Forced back from Eri's home. Now, Mikoto's home. Mai isn't here.

Mikoto flexes her han- hisses in protest, no, can't use it, no, pain, no. Other hand. Functional. Empty.

With a voice husky and pained, barely a whisper: "Miroku."

The familiar weight settles in her right hand, doesn't drop. Right. She's flat. Lift a leg - under covers. Eyes - force them open. Dark bedroom. Light from the entrance. Element of surprise, uncompromised.

Push up - hiss - wince - it hurts. A gasp - too loud - stifled quickly. Get her legs under her. One, the other. A hand flat on Miroku's horizontal grip to push her up, pulling it up with her once she has traction.

This far. No further. Not Mai. Mikoto will not allow it.

Step, drag - stagger - a heavy thud, as shoulder contacts wall. A strangled noise escapes Mikoto's throat before she can choke it down. The element of surprise forgotten, she forces herself forward, step over step, towards the entrance of their dorm. Her eyes burn with pain and hatred.

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

It took her hours to muster the motivation to touch her phone again.

>Everything's fine. Sorry that I've been out of touch. >Don't worry about Ueno. Just give me a casualty report.

The wait for a reply text was interminable. Maddening. Even the dotted speech bubble indicating a reply was coming difficult to sit through.

And when she received it... she inhales once through her nostrils with relief that it was all just injuries.

"Mami must have been having a good day." She mumbles as she remembers the text sent to her in the aftermath, and thuds the back of her head against the dresser. Her eyes are a little distant for a while. She knows for a fact which of the girls can heal well on their own, and which can't. "No helping it." Looking over the list again, she scootched herself up into a standing position. "I'm not letting Mikoto suffer..."

Then grabbed her bag, unlatched her door, and stepped out.

"...to spare me from facing the dragon."

She doesn't mean Kagutsuchi either.


Her key slides smoothly into the lock. Distantly there's a light sense of wonder that the locks haven't been changed yet. Turning it as lightly as possible, she turns the door knob.

At the doorway she slides off her shoes as she closes it as soundlessly as possible. But before she took any other steps... Her hand tightened fractionally on the bag, feeling the prickling points of grief seeds layered beneath all of her other sundries.

She hadn't heard the whisper, but she'd just heard the gasp of pain.

Normally her reaction here would be a single word.


But she can't say it right now. Instead - "It's-" The wall thuds, "-me."

Without further hesitation she rounds the corner as fast as possible, seeing Mikoto holding Miroku and still walking in this direction. A lump forms in her throat, a pained look in her eyes, stunned to see in her in this state.

Then recovering hastily she says hurriedly, "Mikoto it's me." Having stopped upon seeing her her footsteps quicken to take her to her in that moment, she doesn't transform, "It's me... It's me."

Crouching upon reaching her, her arms lace around her like Miroku isn't even there. Like she doesn't even care that she's present, not around her arms or shoulders since she could tell they were wounded at a glance, but her mid-riff instead. It has a familiarity to it, like in those few days where Mai had vanished, where the sleeping arrangements changed for a while.

"It's me and it's okay."

One arm remains where it is but the other shifts up to the back of her head lightly rubbing it.

"Everything's going to be okay now. You had a hard fight didn't you? But you did so well."

And I wasn't there.

"You did so well." Her eyes mist up a little but she wills those tears not to fall. "You must have been like a goddess of war, burning bright. I wish I could have seen you."

She falls into that quiet motion for a while before finally hoisting herself up back to a standing position. Wrapping an arm gently under her uninjured one to act as her crutch, "Come on. You should be laying down you know. Not thinking of other enemies to fight silly. But it's going to be alright. You're not going to have to hurt much longer." And after a beat pause, "Promise."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

There is a shape in the hall. Human. Girl. Holding a bag. Weapon? No. No. Mikoto's nostril's flare. Not just any girl. Smells like -

'Mikoto it's me.'

- sounds like -

She hurries forward, and Mikoto looks past her pain to see Eri, her face, her worry, as she crouches and hugs her about her midriff. Mikoto's left arm lays limp by her side, too painful to move. Her right is holding Miroku. She can't hug back. She bows her head, instead.

One of them is trying not to cry. The other doesn't hide it. Mikoto sobs, breath hitching each time the movement of her chest disturbs her arm. "Eri," she wails, "Eri! Eri, they came, I - they were too - I couldn't - they took Ueno, Eri! I couldn't save your-!"

Your hunting grounds. Your home. The place you need to survive. The place we had spent so much time together: hunting together, eating together, talking together. That special place is gone now. Mikoto can't bring herself to say it, consumed by sobs again.

When Eri rights herself, Mikoto shifts to let her support her without putting her in danger of Miroku's blade. No sense arguing. She's not okay. Together, they're able to shuffle back to the bedroom, to the futon Mai had evidently already prepared.

"Had to... make sure they didn't come here," Mikoto says, voice not too far above a whisper. "They came for your home. Maybe mine's next. And - and Mai..." Mai's not even involved in this war. Mai didn't do anything wrong. Mai doesn't deserve to be hurt because Mikoto has enemies. All the implications, unsaid, because Mikoto is busy lowering herself back down onto her bedding. Miroku is gently placed on the floor beside the bed.

"... does hurt," Mikoto confides, a long moment after she's settled down. "It... it hurts a lot, Eri."

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

"Shh. I understand... shh." There were too many. It was too much. They had to fall back. These are implicit things she understands in how Ueno must have fallen. She tries to calm her sobbing friend as best as she can. "We can worry about that later. Right now I'm worried about you. Just you."

Is that really true though? Hasn't having a patch of dirt been what's most important to me since that day?

Herss they shuffle back to the bedroom, she only has a normal girl's strength, but she's still quite able to keep her hoisted back up. "We don't have to worry about that yet. They're not gonna come here." She says gently, even as it feels like her throat is closing up, "We know where they're going next."

I could tell her right now she doesn't have to be there. That she's done enough. More than enough.

As Mikoto lays down on the bedding, she sits down gently beside her, setting her purse on the bed. "Oh Mikoto... I'm..."

It's like she's going to apologize. But she stops herself, inhaling once through her nostrils though, she realizes...

I can't even apologize. For it to mean anything I'd have to tell her she can stop right now.

Closing her eyes for a moment, with a trembling hand she touches her glasses, adjusting them back on her nose. "I'm going to take care of this. Right now. A Puella Magi can't let injury take themselves out of the fight. They have to be able to keep fighting... as long as it takes. That's why we can heal ourselves with magic."

Digging through her purse, she slides out a wicked seed, metallic point on it's axis. "You've seen me heal myself right?" Then she says in an even more hushed tone, "You must have."

And I'm not a good enough person for that.

The ring on her finger vanishes, materializing into her glowing soul's egg. As the grief seed is pressed against its swirling depths it brightens, becoming more radiant by the second as it's purified. The tainted impurity being sucked right out of it. "Well... I can heal others too. I'm going to heal you right now. It's going to feel really warm... almost too warm. Like you're in a sunbeam during summertime. But it's going to help you. Alright?"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto shakes her head. It seems impossible, that Eri would only be worried about her at a time like this. When there's so much to be done.

What was she expecting? Harsh words? Yes. Maybe. She'd failed.

'We know where they're going next.' Her head turns. "Where?" Mikoto asks, creaky-voice like a strained cat's meow. She has to know. Has to be ready. Can't let Eri down again.

Eri starts talking about healing, and Mikoto nods. "I've seen." There were times. The frog with five lips. The flat-flat-paintings which stalked the halls and sucked them into the walls. The mirrored men, jaws up and down, snap snap. The angels with flesh-finger wings. Too many to fight them all without injury.

Mikoto had been so worried before Eri showed her she could take care of herself.

The gears turn in her mind. She can heal others. She is using her Grief Seed. Her food. She needs to use it to heal her. She -

"Eri," Mikoto gasps with pain as she shifts, to grasp her dear friend's wrist. "Eri needs that. Without hunting grounds... how will Eri get more Grief Seeds?"

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

"Shinjuku." It sounds so matter of fact, "They're going to Shinjuku." Her other hunting ground. "Not right away. They'll need to hunt more themselves first." She offers quietly. "But then they will."

Tell your senpai I'm coming for her.

Just nodding in reply to Mikoto having seen, she cradles her soul gem in her hands.

And as Mikoto gasps to grab her wrist, Eri stiffens first. It's a reflexive action, that tensing of the muscles, before it relaxes. Mikoto's hand on her wrist. Eri allows a smile. "No no you see. It's okay. I do what I do so I don't have to live grief seed to grief seed."

With Mikoto's hand on her wrist, she uses her other hand to tip her bag over. A wallet with jingling coin purse attached, some tissues, lip gloss and a few pads.

But beneath all of that is grief seeds. There has to be at least two dozen gathered at the bottom. "It's like a squirrel storing up nuts for the winter. For times like this, when other Hunters come. So I'll have enough to keep fighting even if I lose my hunting grounds for a while. Enough to outlast them. To keep going long enough to take them back. Enough for when the nightcrawlers come slithering out of the dark to try to try to end the world."

She says in explanation, before finally adding. "... or enough for when you're in pain and I don't want you to suffer."

Her eyes lid a little in guilt, "And they'll be coming for Shinjuku soon... so I'll need you. I'll need you and everyone else ready to fight. Or else I might lose those hunting grounds too. You understand? If we win it won't be hard getting Ueno back... but if we lose..."

There's this hitching sound in her next breath, "... well we're not going to lose again, so don't worry about that."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Shinjuku, says Eri, and Mikoto's face darkens. "Those grounds, too? They're - they're starving Eri," she hisses the words through grit teeth. "I won't let them!"

But Eri is prepared, and she shows it as she tips over her bag, revealing the Grief Seeds inside. Mikoto has never been very good at math, but addition she can do. (Eri can feel her fingers tapping, thumb to pinky, in a method Mai taught her to count long ago.) One, two, three, four, five... six, seven, eight, nine, ten... eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen...

... a lot.

Mikoto sighs, but it's a sound of relief instead of pain, this time. "I'm happy Eri has so many." She won't starve, not yet. Not for a while.

And then Eri mentions that she doesn't want to see Mikoto in pain, and Mikoto's eyes tear up again. The fact that she goes on to talk about how much she needs Mikoto changes nothing - it's comforting, to know that she's needed. To know that Eri needs her to fight. It's normal. It's almost as relieving as the Grief Seeds.

Mikoto lets her hand fall from Eri's wrist, resting it on her chest. "... I won't fail Eri again. Eri's enemies are my enemies. I - I will destroy."

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

There's something in Mikoto's words that affects her. Even beyond how touching it is - Mikoto's loyalty. Starving isn't quite the word for it but it's apt enough. For a moment she looks abstracted, and she adds quietly, "They want me to go back to being nothing. They won't be satisfied otherwise." A nothing scavenger, living day to day. Powerless beyond the magic of the next seed. Worse yet, a prisoner. Unable to even go to the bathroom unless they're willing to carry her soul gem within range. "And I won't go back."

Mikoto's relief is palpable, and Eri relaxes all the more.

Mikoto makes her proclamation, and Eri is quiet for a moment... both touched by her proclamation of loyalty and ashamed of how far that loyalty is taking Mikoto because of what she asked her.

The silence stretches onward for a few seconds... and then she leans over and presses her lips to Mikoto's forehead. It's just a light peck, too quick to even leave an imprint. It is sisterly in every sense of the word. Like that of an older sister showing fond appreciation for a younger. Mikoto may be her senior - but she feels the responsibility of an older sister all the same, and the affection.

"You've never failed me... Mikoto. Not once." Her eyes are closed as she lifts away, like she needs to hide her eyes for just a few moments, "... You're just about the only one who hasn't. Thank you."

Her free hand lifts up her glasses and wipes her eyes. "Alright... try to stay still. Remember... it'll be warm."

The gem brightens all of a sudden, as wisps flow from the gem to the other girl like emerald smoking dancing in a dappled sunbeam. It may not look like sunlight, but it feels like it. It's instantly warm. Between that level of comfortable and uncomfortable - before it would become searing hot. It's like tanning on a beach in summer.

But that's only for a short while, before the body adjusts to that sudden thermal change. Under that light and heat that sparkles on the skin the wounds slowly start the process of knitting together. Bone, muscle, vessels, and tissue. The warmth itself is like a balm to the pain in both distracting away from it and salving it.

"Even when it starts to feel better try not to move it quite yet alright?"

She sounds dispassionate about it, neutral. But mostly because she's focusing right now.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Starving is always how Mikoto has conceived of the reliance between Puella Magi and Grief Seeds. They're food, the same way Mai's ramen is food to Mikoto. And everyone - everyone - needs food to survive.

"You're not nothing, Eri," Mikoto protests, as fierce as she can with the pain catching at her throat. "Eri's important."

It's probably obvious who she's important to.

Mikoto's eyes glance up as Eri leans over, only for her to realise a moment later what's going on. She smiles, heart filling with joy as Eri lays that kiss on her forehead and tells her just how much she's done. She hasn't failed? She's the only one who hasn't failed Eri? "I won't," she promises, in turn, because she loves Eri, and she doesn't want to let her down.

Now, there are certain truths in everything: medical treatment is difficult. It was difficult growing up, letting the elders work on her after a training accident. It was difficult later, when Mai would try to keep her from picking at her bandages after a particularly bad youma fight. And now Eri tells her to stay still, and Mikoto anticipates that it will be difficult again.

Despite that, she lies silent.

It feels like walking outside in the middle of Summer. The instant transition from air conditioning to heat, carried in heavy air and beamed down from a cloudless sky. Mikoto's mouth tightens into a grimace, but she stays still. It feels like working outside for too long, when the only thing you want is to dive into the ocean. It feels unnatural, to feel the sun shining so strongly in the middle of the night.

But Mikoto is still, and quiet, and the heat becomes familiar to her. More welcoming, like a sunbeam, one she's napped beneath for hours. Beneath the bloodied bandages, she can feel her muscles rejoining, skin meeting skin in a joyful reunion that might otherwise have taken weeks or months. It's a strange feeling, and she wants to wriggle and scratch, but she struggles to overcome the urge.

"Itchy," Mikoto complains, instead, fingers on her right hand scratching at her palm.

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

"I'll...I'll just be a few minutes. Okay, Mikoto? Just...please, try to get some rest."

Those were the words Mai had left in her wake as she left the shared dorm room. She meant them, she really did - but the fact of the matter was, her little in-room first aid kid had long been stretched past what it was meant to cover. More bandages and gauze, a few off-the-shelf painkillers, just a quick run down to that helpful all-hours convenience store...

But there were delays. It was, inevitably, more than a few minutes. Some delays were logistical; however lax Ohtori's belief in applying rules fairly might have been, there was still ostensibly a curfew to work around. Finding an unguarded path took...time. Other delays, though...

Safely away from the dorm, safely off the beaten path enough to avoid a lazy flashlight, Mai's hand found a trembling grip on a wrought-iron decoration. One shuddering breath, let out as consistently as possible...and then another, and another, as a sleeve slowly dampened. Any words meant to console one's self had to be too quiet for any to hear.

...some delays just could not be avoided.

The convenience store - part of Southern Cross Island's little community, outside Ohtori proper - was a beacon of light in a darkened world. The selection might not have been the best, and the markup painful to consider, but the aisles were empty enough that Mai had time to peruse. With only a passing cringe at how full her basket wound up being, she made her way to the checkout.

"...shouldn't you be in your dorm or something?"

An accusation was met with a careful glance, a fleeting recognition. "...shouldn't you?"


The path back to the dorm seemed even quieter. Perhaps the previous patrol was the night's last attempt at a semblance of order; perhaps fortune for once smiled on the worried young woman. A glint of amber light in the shadows caught a steely gaze and a low growl - but rather than some sinister youma, a stray cat leapt onto the back of a bench. A tilt of the head, and the tiny feline was gone into the shadows once more.

Bag swinging from a suddenly numb hand, Mai slumped down to sit on that same bench. A shudder worked its way up her back, and her head slumped forward to gaze at the ground. "That little...could have gotten herself really hurt. ...why do you keep doing this, Mikoto? Why can't you just..."

The errand of a 'few minutes' has met another delay.

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

The declaration that she's important has a shade of a smile appearing. The fingers of her free hand lace with Mikoto's uninjured one, and she squeezes with light pressure into her hand. "I'll try not to get a big head." She makes a light joke there. To try to cover for how she really feels.

But those lips start to press together harder soon enough. Healing others isn't quite as easy as healing one's self. The bodies of Puella Magi were remade to be eminently suited to fighting witches. Mikoto's was not, she won it through sweat and blood and oath and inheritance.

And while that makes her no less strong, it makes her less suited to her selfish brand of magic.

"Don't scratch." Eri says quietly when Mikoto says it itches. "It feels pretty weird doesn't it. I remember the first time I had to do this to myself."

Closing her eyes there's a light sense of nostalgia. Soon enough she learned how expensive it was. Soon enough she started substituting gauze and bandages for the most minor and using this only for the most major.

"Made me feel a little bit like a flower. But flowers just use light for energy..." Her lips crease in a light curl as she struggles against the concentration needed to maintain that warmth that keeps knitting it together. "... I use energy for light that just happens to heal."

Releasing the hand, she brushes her fingers and thumb up by Mikoto's ear, "I'm gonna sneak out after I'm done here... I don't want to wake up Mai."

Oh. She must not know that she's out. Or that the thumping and talking didn't wake her up. Maybe she thinks Mai is just exhausted from the job hunt, or from everything in general. "Promise me you'll get some rest once I'm gone and eat a big meal tomorrow?"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto's fingers lace around Eri's, and it makes it easier to avoid the scratching motions.

Her body is strong, small as it is. And as the light coils around it, as Eri focuses, she might be able to feel something - the edge of a shadow, deep and purple-black. It's almost as if there's something within Mikoto which is consuming the light, hungry - waiting - jealous - terrible.

... but it can't be. Mikoto is laying still, listening intently to Eri's words, fingers stilling as Eri tells her not to scratch. And, sure enough, her wounds are healing.

"Eri's an opposite-flower," Mikoto says. "Uses energy as light, not light as energy. Good thing, too. Flowers don't come out at night."

Then she brings up Mai, and Mikoto frowns. She has to think hard, remembering what happened when she was in so much pain, but a moment later, she says: "Mai's not here. Mai went out. But I will."

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

In the end, it's the weather more than anything that spurs Mai onward. April looms, and spring came with warmer weather - but even a March midnight has its chill. Not a deep freeze - just enough to remind her that staying out all night on 'errands' isn't healthy.

Getting back into the dorms was a little more difficult than getting out was - the RA understandably watchful for uninvited guests to the girls' dormitories. There are a dozen watchers for a dozen entrances...but after a year and a half, Mai has learned most of the tricks.

Far too many of the tricks. Knowledge she'd rightly prefer not to have.

Up the stairs, bag in hand, pulling out the key to the door...and then Mai frowns. The errand took longer than expected, to be sure, but certain tasks are always done. Rules for herself and Mikoto, learned by endless repetition.

Tired as Mai might be, drained as dark thoughts might have left her, she knows for certain the door was not ajar when she left.

Panic, in that instant - did whoever hurt Mikoto come to finish the job?! - and she nearly bursts through the door as the convenience store bag falls to the floor. Only a familiar (if weary) voice stays her hand - the injured girl in question, conversational rather than combative. It's piercing enough, calming enough, to have her stop and listen a moment...

...but the promise that Mai overhears - the vow to destroy Eri's enemies - does little to combat the pounding in Mai's chest.

It seems like a moment. It seems like an eternity. Standing outside a door, listening in...it feels too indirect to Mai. More Natsuki's thing, to be frank, and standing outside her own door makes it all the more awkward. But...what else is she to do? Walk in and pretend she never heard a thing, and likely as not wind up in a shouting match with one of her friends?

The mention of healing, though...that's enough to earn a curious eye, trying to peek through the crack. It's hard to see, and hard to judge what's going on by indirection, but...

...at least Eri cares about Mikoto's well-being. Even if that whole turf war is the reason Mikoto was dragged into another fight in the first place...

It's complicated, and unease sits firmly in Mai's heart. Anger and guilt and worry and-

-and belated realization that Eri's going to be leaving that room any minute. The last chance to dodge awkwardness is seized like an Akamizu pouncing on a bacon buffet - Mai snatches her bag of purchases from the floor, and scrambles towards the nearest corner. Out of sight, out of mind - and easy enough to hear when she can return to her room in peace. It's...a conversation she'll have another day.




Dislodged from the bag and forgotten in her haste, Mai's recently-bought roll of gauze wobbles before falling flat in the middle of the corridor.

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

That strange shadowy sensation feels like it's hiding on the edges of the room. In the same paranoia as when she was a child wondering if there were monsters hiding. It's a queasy feeling, like butterflies in her stomach. That sense of unease.

She can't even fathom the idea that it could be in Mikoto.

"Mmm." Instead she chalks it up to her own paranoia. Like the idea that Mami or Sayaka might not go straight to Shinjuku after all. That niggling doubt she can't escape despite her certainty otherwise.

Because it can't be Mikoto.

It doesn't even register as a possibility.

It clashes too much with the idea of the girl sleeping wrapped around Mai, or devouring Ramen at light speed. It clashes too much with the fondness she feels for the girl who values very different things from other people.

It just can't be.

Her subconscious sublimates it.

"Sometimes I wonder if I store it up." Eri says idly. "Photosynthesize it in some strange way." Her eyes half-lid as a thought occurs to her, "I'm not like other people anymore anyhow."

She's something strange and monstrous. An ur-person. Soul disconnected and body remade. "I don't even know if I really need to eat anymore... or if I could survive just on these..."

he pats her bag so lightly the fabric barely shifts. She sounds disconnected right now too. What she's saying doesn't even seem to make sense. She hasn't told Mai or Mikoto about her nature. Maybe she's forgotten. Eventually however the radiance fades from the inside of the gem to just the soft green glow that always manifests. Now laced with impurity.

"You'll still be sore rather than good as new. Sometimes that's better."

She says as she rolls the gem within the inside of her hand. "Sometimes if I have to do this too much, I forget what it's like to be hurt..."

Her eyes drift up to the ceiling, "Out huh?" She must be considering slipping out before Mai knows she was here at all. "I should go then before she gets back. Try to get some sleep and... thanks again. I appreciate everything you're putting on the line for me..." Her voice sounds a little husky, "...more than you know.

The gem shifts into a ring. With a hand she slips her belongings back into her purse. Then hoists it on her shoulder.


Once she finally steps out into the hallway and leaves Mikoto to sleep. Slipping on her shoe, she opens the door only to close it, locking it behind her before dropping her keys into her purse with a decisive jingle.

She pauses there to rub her face behind her glasses - only for her gaze to trail upon the lonely roll of gauze. Was it there before? She's honestly not certain. Her eyes wander around. Not seeing any other signs of life in the hallway.

Bending down to pick up the roll of gauze, she considers it. Before looking one way and then the other. There was noone else here right now at all.


And it feels like sometimes all we're doing is walking on eggshells around each other...

Sorry Eri you're like a sister to me... but I guess that's how I treat my family after all.

From her crouched position she turns it over in her hands a few times, before setting it back down, "...eggshells." She repeats dully without feeling, before starting to walk back to her room.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

There are monsters in this world. As the healing permutes, that much seems certain, an unassailable fact. But it must be the darkness of the bedroom, all the little spaces for creatures like Mami Tomoe to hide.

It must be, because Mikoto Minagi seems entirely unaware that anything is wrong.

She's not like other people, Eri says, and Mikoto lifts her right hand to trace down her friend's cheek. There's something to the words that makes her wonder, makes her worry, and it seems all the more important to say: "Eri's just the same to me."

She knows what it's like to feel different, after all.

"Being sore's okay. I'm used to pain. Soreness is much better."

Mikoto lets her hand fall back, and she nods. Mai would be happy to see Eri, she thinks, because Mai would be happy Eri helped her. But if Eri wants to leave without seeing her, she must have a good reason. Maybe she has other people to see to? She knows she wasn't the only one who was hurt.

She shakes her head, smiling. "... I'm only good at fighting, Eri. I was made to fight. I'm happy if I can help Eri fight."

The way she says it, she must honestly believe it's reassuring.

As Eri gathers her things, Mikoto settles down into her bedding. "G'night, Eri..."