2018-04-12 - Stop To Recover

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Title: Stop To Recover

Mikoto wakes up in hospital, and panics. Yumi is there to reassure Mikoto that everything is okay and she'll take care of her. Tama's only concern, on the other hand, is taking care of Yumi.


Mikoto Minagi, Yumi Ohzora


Mitakihara General Hospital

OOC - IC Date:

2018-04-12 - 2015-04-08

.***************************** Yamanote High City *****************************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Mitakihara General Hospital +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 Recently completed to great fanfare, this 42-story hospital is the tallest
 in the world, with a glossy glass exterior that folds two great wings inward
 towards the main entrance. Equipped with over 1,200 beds, Mitakihara is
 known as a place of last resort for those with difficult illnesses (and,
 ideally, disposable income). Designed with typical criticisms of health care
 facilities in mind, this ultramodern building eschews the usual bland
 pastels and workmanlike right angles for elegant, understated earth tone
 patterns and dynamic diagonal windows and paneling. Its patient rooms have
 large windows wherever possible to let in natural light, and are decorated
 to suggest a hotel-like atmosphere.

 There is substance behind Mitakihara's style; the latest technology
 dominates its every facet, from the touchscreen controls on its room-sized
 glass elevators to the particle accelerator in its basement used for
 precision radiation treatment. For all of its amenities, however, Mitakihara
 can be a quiet, lonely place; not all of its rooms are in use yet, and those
 that get lost in it can find themselves wandering empty halls.

 Mitakihara leverages its sheer size by providing a small, French-style
 garden on the roof for patients. Low hedges of pink flowers seem to sprout
 directly from the tiles, in a radiating circular shape, and an ornamental
 iron fence around the rim of the building ensures safety.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 <Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

By the door of Yumi's suite, some doctors have a discussion just loud enough for her to hear.

"... and what are we going to do with all those crash victims?"
"Contact their families, we'll go from there."
"Ah, yeah, about that..."
"The Minagi girl - we don't have any family on record for her."
"Come, now, she's got to have parents somewhere."
"No parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles... there are no other Minagis related to her. We can't even ask her who her guardian is, because she's still unconscious, and the girls who brought her in disappeared."
"What a pain... I suppose we'll just have to treat her as a Hanako Yamada for now."


Some time later, Mikoto lifts her arm, calls out for her claymore, and summons it to herself with a word: "Miroku." It clatters beside her bed, and her arm collapses back to her side. She falls back into fitful slumber. It's doubtful she was ever truly awake.

As for the sword, they really shouldn't touch it.


A long time after that, Mikoto wakes properly, face scrunching up as consciousness clings to her bones. "Nnnh..."

The first thing she notices is waking up alone. Mai isn't with her. Eri isn't with her, either. She's cold and alone. There aren't even any cats napping with her.

The second thing she notices is the pain. It's dulled, as if beneath a layer of fog, but it's still there, and she can feel the depth and breadth of it as she's pulled from her dreams and black glass memories. She hurts inside and out. She draws in a sharp breath, through grit teeth.

The third thing she notices is everything inside of her and on top of her. There are hollow plastic lines, going into her arms, clear and red. There's some strange clip on her finger, which makes a machine beep incessantly as she rouses. There are pads stuck to her with clinging adhesive. Her skin is being held together all over with weird, itchy little stitches, behind layers and layers of bandages.

Mikoto sits up, fear coursing through her veins. Pain explodes in her side, and she grits her teeth against it. She's in a strange place, she's alone, she - she can't stay here. There could be enemies anywhere, she has to - she has to get to a safe place, she has to get to familiar territory. Her head feels light as a cloud from her wounds and whatever they've done to her. She has to work through it. It's not safe here.

She rips out the things inside of her - more pain, from deep under her skin, and blood which trickles down from the red tube. Rips off the thing on her finger and the pads linking her to those beep-beep machines. They scream a cacophony as Mikoto slips from the bed, stumbling as her feet find the floor. Breath rips into her lungs, through teeth clenched like a steel trap. It hurts.

Miroku, who has not let itself be touched by any other hand, still lies by her bed. She grasps it, and straightens - and howls in pain as her side and arm light afire. It hurts!

And that's when the nurse bursts in.

"What are you doing?!" He exclaims, naked shock on his face that a patient would dare to be so brash. "Minagi-san, put whatever that - that thing is down and get back into bed immediately!"

Mikoto snarls at him, backing away. He's yelling at her. Is he an enemy? He must be. He must have done this to her. But she has to survive! She glances back. The window's just a few steps away, and the setting sun beyond it offers escape. She just has to make it a few more agonising steps.


Her grip on Miroku is white-knuckled as she turns to the window. One step - two - three. Every footfall is like steel driven up her leg and through her core.

The nurse, despairing, tries one more thing as he sees her muscles tense, hefting her sword upwards: "... Yumi Ohzora-san wanted to talk to you when you woke up!"

And that, nothing else, makes Mikoto pause. Miroku's tip falls back to the floor, heavily, halted in its path towards the glass. She turns to the nurse, teeth bared as she growls, words hitched by gasping breath. "What did you - do to Yumi?!"

"We didn't do anything to her - this is a hospital, for God's sake! You're going to tear everything open, just - just lie down!" For some reason, the nurse is nervous. Perhaps it's the weapon, openly wielded. Did he not realise it was there before?

Mikoto only grunts, in reply, as the pain overwhelms her. She only had one hope to break that window and escape, and she's squandered the chance. She buries Miroku in the tile with the last of her strength, using it to hold herself upright - if only barely. Her mind works against the pain. If Yumi... is here, and wants to talk to her, then... this place belongs to...

But then the nurse makes a terrible mistake as he approaches her, reaching out. "Come on, just - let me get you back in bed."

She stares at him with hateful eyes, though her breath comes fast and pained through her throat, and her muscles shake with pain and lack of use and some cotton-bud sickness he must have done to her. It hurts so much, but he is a stranger, and he is trying to touch her. It must be enemy action. She acts on instinct and adrenaline alone, addled by pain, all rational thought dismissed in the face of the emerging threat. Her voice is desperate as she shrinks back behind her sword. "Stay... away!"

But there are other nurses coming up to the room, now, alerted by the mechanical alarms she's set off and which haven't yet been quieted. Yellow eyes dart from one to the other to the third, wide and wild.

Mikoto hears one of them mumble something about a sedative to the other, and she bares her teeth, as the nurse practitioner moves to a drawer and pulls out a syringe. They mean to attack. They are her enemies! She has to - she has to - but she can't muster the strength to do anything. She can barely stand. So she barks, because she no longer has the energy to bite. "STAY AWAY!"

But as she keeps her eyes on the syringe-wielding nurse, the others spring forward. She whirls to face them, pain tearing at her - and feels a pin-prick on her thigh.

Betrayal flashes over her face, replaced by nothingness as she swoons into the arms of that nervous nurse.


It doesn't take her so long to wake, this time. But now, there are bindings which hold her wrists and ankles in place, against the flat of the bed. "No!" Mikoto roars, as she pulls this way and that - the movements muted and sluggish from some malevolent influence or another, but pain stabbing at her like hot iron all the same. There are tubes inside her again, a clamp on her finger. Her breath comes in quick little gasps which make those terrifying machines beep-beep in protest. "Let me go!"

Miroku is still buried upright in the tile, utterly immovable and utterly indifferent to her plight.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"...Hey. Hey!"

Yumi raises her quiet voice loud enough for the people outside her suite door to hear her--or rather, does that and turns the volume up on the TV to painfully loud levels to make someone come in. ...It's the latter that works better. She's laying in her own hospital bed, and even that much effort is kind of a lot at the moment. She's got a lot of wires, a lot of tubes, a lot of everything but thankfully nothing that stops her talking.

"She must've dropped the rem--Ohzora-san?"

"...Eheh," she greets sheepishly, muting the TV, "I thought I could get your attention this way. I overheard you..."

"Ohzora-san, a girl your age should know better than to eavesdrop--"

Yumi shakes her head slightly, 'No, I mean--it's important. That Minagi girl. ...I got it."

The nurse lifts an eyebrow. "You... got it? Do we need to adjust your med drip?"

"No no I mean..." Yumi opens her mouth, and then manages a small laugh. "...I mean you can forward her bills to me. I got it."


Yumi's been up and about, more or less--'up and about' means mostly that she's been in a wheelchair and able to get walked. ...Not very much, but some. She hasnt had much opportunity to get into try to see Mikoto yet...



"Ohzora-san," a nurse with a clipboard says with a knock at the door, looking over at Yumi. "Your friend's awake. ...You're sure you know her? If you can tell us something about her medical history..."

"...Can I talk to her? I can calm her down and get her to answer your questions if I can get a little privacy."

"...All right. But we're keeping her restrained--I'm not about to have you get hurt worse here."


Knock knock. Mikoto roars, and the door opens after a moment. "...Minagi-san," the nurse announces, looking her over, "You have a visitor."

Yumi's wheeled in, and waves. "Hey, Mikoto-chan. Can we talk? You're safe--I'll explain everything."

The nurse watches the two of them for a moment. "...If you're willing to talk with her, I'll leave you alone for a few. But I'll be right outside. You need to calm down."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto thrashes, pulling at her bonds as violently as the medications they've given her will allow. They bite into her flesh, and even padded as they are, they're bound to leave a mark. The bed shifts, creaks. The leather strains.

... but she's too wounded, and too sedated. Even with her well-honed strength, she can't break free. She's left to struggle, hopelessly, fearful tears stinging at the corners of her eyes. "Nnnn...!"

In such a terrified state, she doesn't realise what the nurse has said, for a moment. But when Yumi rolls in, Mikoto quiets down, lying flat against the bed but for the way her chest rises and falls with panicked breath.

"Yumi," she gasps, after a moment. Her voice wavers, plaintive and pained. "Yumi... help me..."

The nurse is talking to her. She is an enemy, and Mikoto hates her. "Stay away," she snaps, glaring up at that terrible uniform. The change in her, the anger as she slips from one subject to another, is palpable.

And it means that when the nurse leaves, Mikoto is able to relax a little, releasing pained muscles and sinking into a cot which feels too comfortable. She just breathes, for a moment, hurried gasping things as she struggles to think.

"... Yumi's... Yumi's all... did they..." Did they hurt Yumi, too? Did they tangle her up in these wires and cords and leave her unable to think or fight? She just needs a moment. Just a moment to collect herself and - and she can fix this. Tears sting at the corners of her eyes as her heart hammers, reflected in the BEEP-BEEP-BEEP of those intimidating machines.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Yumi doesn't really need medication to slow her down--the truth is that the medications they're giving her are a lot of why she's able to do as much as she is. ...The nurse rolls her the rest of the way forward looking between the two of them, noticing the anger but, frankly, accustomed to things being difficult sometimes.

"Mikoto-chan..." Yumi trails off at first, worrying about her, "I'll call you in a few, okay?" to the nurse, and then she watches Mikoto relax. Those questions--

"...I'm gonna need you to slow down and take a breath, okay? There's no need to be mad. Nobody here's trying to hurt either of us." She doesn't know Why Mikoto is reacting so violently, but... She of all people isn't going to wonder how someone could be suspicious of hospitals.

"We're in a hospital," Yumi explains, just in case... Mikoto doesn't get that, somehow. She must be out of her mind--she's clearly scared. So the witch keeps her voice calm, gentle. ...If Mikoto looks, she can see; Yumi has an IV plugged into her hand, a clamp on her other index finger, prongs in her nose, wires and cords attached to her chair and a green blanket over her lap. ...She's not in her own clothes, and she's not in her makeup, which means all the careful tricks she has of hiding her sunken eyes, pale features, bony countenance... Well, she looks like someone who's sick, because she is.

"I'm fine," Yumi says, with a little shake of her head. "Well, about as fine as I get. I was brought here after the fight and I'm stuck for a while. But that's normal for me, at least. ...Not so much for you."

"...They tell me you're scared. That you've been fighting them. But you don't have to, you know? ...It's scary, and kind of unpleasant sometimes... But it's going to make you better, so you don't have to be here anymore."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto tries to take a breath. The first hitches, catches on her tears and her hyperventilation. The second wavers as she struggles to slow that breathing down. The third has a little better luck.

'Nobody here's trying to hurt either of us.' Mikoto turns her face, eyes trailing over all the cords and wires and tubes running around and into Yumi. "... but..."

They're in a hospital and she's fine, Yumi insists, and Mikoto can see the truth on her worn and sickly face. Even if she couldn't, she'd trust Yumi's word. Yumi is her friend, and wouldn't mislead her. "... but..."

Those tears roll down her cheeks, one side meeting with gauze which covers the mild burn on her face. "... Yumi, they... they did... things to me, I can't think, Yumi, I can't... move..." She tugs at her wrists, and they remain, as ever, implacable. "... I can't move," she whimpers, again.

Yumi has always known Mikoto as an unstoppable force, and yet here, strapped to a hospital bed, she seems so fragile and small. Has she always been so small?

Mikoto blinks her eyes, trying to rid her eyes of her terrified tears. "... this doesn't feel better, Yumi..."

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Yumi is sick; she is frail, she is worn. ...But she is not so small as Mikoto. She is not so small as this girl strapped to her hospital bed for fear that she will react violently again, for fear that she will use strength beyond that body. ...But Yumi can see that she is small here, even from her difficult angle, and she sighs slightly, looking her over. The burn...

"...Most of these happened when you were fighting," Yumi says. "They've bandaged you up. They've given you medicine. ...And I think they gave you some extra so you wouldn't fight it more and hurt yourself worse. It's... not great, but they do that if you're in danger of hurting yourself."

Yumi looks worried. "...If you promise not to fight them--to let them help you so you can get out of here as soon as you can--then I think I can convince them to take off the restraints so you can move some more at least."

"But the bandages, the drugs... They're gonna make it harder for a little while so you can heal fast. So you can go out and protect the people you care about again. If you don't let them help you, then you'll be stuck here longer."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The burn is one of Mikoto's mildest injuries; compared to the bloody bandages around her side and her arm and leg, the bruising, the hundred welts from where something just a little too sharp and jagged had rubbed against her, it seems almost inconsequential. But it, unlike the others, is on her face, and impossible to ignore without looking away.

Mikoto looks to Yumi, frowning, as she explains. The injuries came from the battle, she says. The medicine - the medicine is making it so she can't fight. They think she'll hurt herself. She thinks back, to the last time she was awake. ... she did hurt herself.

Did she do this? Did she bring this on herself? "I'm scared, Yumi," Mikoto whispers, hand clenching and releasing in its bonds.

Yumi says that if she promises not to fight them, she can convince them to release her from these infernal, terrifying bindings. Mikoto looks away. "... but... I have to fight enemies..."

Only an enemy would curse her in this way, drain her strength, tie her down. Only an enemy would stop her from going back to a place she felt safe. Right? But they're trying to make her better, Yumi says. All this, all these afflictions, are meant to fix her. Mikoto glances back to her friend, uncertain. "... are they... not enemies?"

It doesn't make any sense, but Mikoto shakes her head. "I... I don't wanna stay, Yumi!"

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Yumi doesn't really like seeing people hurt, but it's a curious thing, really--one might imagine that a girl like her, who cares about people, would naturally shy away from injuries, would be a little squeamish about this sort of thing.

...Yumi doesn't look away from the bandages, from what must be under them on Mikoto's face. She watches her friend, instead. She watches, and listens. She's scared...

This is something Yumi can do. She can't fight as hard as Mikoto, or guard as well as Sailor Pluto... But she's here. She's here, and she gets this.

"...They're not your enemies," Yumi says quietly, after a moment. "They don't understand you--but they just want to help. This is how they think they can do that."

Yumi looks away finally, thinking, finding a mid distance to set her gaze on. "...Who takes care of you? Like--your parents, or guardians, or whatever? ...It's their call, whether you can leave. But I think..."

"I think if you don't stay for a little while then you won't be able to leave. You're really hurt. And right now, as you are..."

She closes her eyes, sigh. "...We'll all be really worried about you if you don't stop to recover. I can talk to them, help them make it more comfortable... But I think you should stay for now."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto frowns. "Not enemies..." She turns the thought around in her head. That they don't understand is obvious - that they just want to help much less so. But Yumi says it's so, and Yumi must know better. Hospitals are where you go when you're sick, right...? That's why Takumi goes there so much. And Yumi gets sick a lot, too. So Yumi must know hospitals. She must know what she's talking about.

Even if these people are terrible, they might not be enemies. They might be trying to help in a clumsy sort of way.

"Live with Mai," Mikoto explains, smiling a weakened smile as she thinks of her. Mai's the one who makes sure she has good food, and Mai is the one whose disappointment makes her do her homework. Mai takes care of her, as much as she sometimes... well... that's a thought for another day.

Or never. (That's another thing Mai's taught her.)

"... and," Mikoto grumbles, reluctantly, as her expression darkens, "... the Principal..." She leaves the sentence trailing, frowning. She doesn't like Mashiro Kazahana, not even after the events of the siege at Ohtori. "... technically."

She falls silent, as she listens to Yumi explain. Pain-darkened eyes search her face, desperately. "... won't be able?" Mikoto has gotten hurt before. Training accidents, or fighting youma. But she's never been this hurt. She's never considered that maybe if she gets too hurt, she wouldn't be able to do anything any more.

... what was she dreaming about? Suddenly, it feels important... like... she's supposed to survive, after all...

She shakes her head, grimacing as some distant part of her mind devotes itself to that puzzle. "... don't wanna worry Yumi," she says, instead. "Does Yumi really think... it's that bad?"

She bites at her lip as she thinks. "... if Yumi thinks so, I'll... I'll endure it. Won't fight, so..." ... so please stop tying her down like this. She's a warrior. She needs the option to move. What if an enemy were to visit her, in this state?

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Yumi can't help but be aware of the fact that she's being manipulative here--is it really right for her to try to influence her friend for her own good like this?

She thinks about Mikoto fighting on and on and getting herself killed because she doesn't slow down, and thinks maybe she's doing the right thing after all.

"Mai," Yumi repeats, and nods. "Okay, cool." She pauses, at that.

"The Principal..." Yumi nods, after that, thinking about it. "I guess she wouldn't know about what you get up to, huh?" Yumi just assumes, after all. Parents don't get to know stuff. "OKay, thanks." At least it's important to know. She can't... not act on it, right?

"...Yeah," Yumi says. This she's more sure of; her gray hair is a little limp right now, her glasses catching some shine of the flourescent lighting. "Not able. It sucks, when you can't do things that you know you need to do, that are important. I don't want you to end up there."

The puzzle... She doesn't want to worry her. Yumi manages a smile after that to her. Not a big one, not for long, but.

"All right," she says. "I'll talk to them. Let them know it's not necessary anymore. ...Your head'll probably still feel foggy--that's the painkillers. Soon as we get done talking I'll tell them, okay?"

...Maybe a little more than that, considering. "We're gonna have to tell the Principal you're here," she explains. "I can reach out to Mai too--just tell me a little about her and I'll make some calls. I--" Yumi stops short suddenly, words cutting off, and then ends up coughing for a few moments, her hand covering her mouth coming away flecked with red.

"...Ugh.... Not now," she mutters, shaking her head. "I'll... still be here a while, okay?"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto doesn't notice she's being manipulated at all. She thinks that Yumi is worried, and she doesn't want Yumi to worry. That's as natural to her as breathing.

"... it's complicated," Mikoto says, on the subject of the Principal. She sounds frustrated and annoyed by that complication. Mashiro knows she's a HiME, after all; she's the one who asked her and Mai to fight Orphans in the first place. But does Mashiro know all of what Mikoto has been doing..?

... Mikoto doesn't know. Mikoto doesn't particularly want to think about it. She dislikes the idea of the Principal watching her. The Principal is creepy. She doesn't smell right.

She watches Yumi as she explains about not being able to do things. But there's something she says - 'I don't want you to end up there.' - and Mikoto realises then she's not just talking about what Mikoto might not be able to do at all.

"... Yumi..." Mikoto murmurs, and all she says is her name, but it's so sad and compassionate and full of sorrow that this must be what Yumi feels like all the time. Mikoto couldn't have imagined it would be as bad as this. How could she, when she'd never felt it? But this - this is horrible. This is Yumi's battle. It makes her heart break to think of it.

She doesn't dwell on it, because Yumi always seems so self-conscious of her limitations. Instead, she listens, and nods. "... 'kay," she agrees, necessarily cowed by the thought of her head remaining so fogged.

She frowns, when Yumi mentions the Principal again. "... I guess," she grumbles. But before she can answer Yumi's question, Yumi starts coughing, and Mikoto starts, pulling against the leather straps as she tries to rise in alarm. "- Yumi!!"

Beep-BEEP-beep-BEEP, go the treacherous machines which are monitoring her heart rate and blood pressure.

She pulls, and tugs, but she can't get to her. Concern is writ clearly on her face, alongside lines of pain. "Yumi... Yumi, you okay!?"

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

And that's true; Yumi is worried.

"...Complicated?" Yumi finds herself asking, and hrms. "...Hm. I don't know much about her," she admits. "I didn't even know you had a connection to her. Well, I won't tell her your secrets or anything. What are friends for, right?"

Yumi didn't quite mean to play her hand there--but she realizes she does at the tone in Mikoto's voice. She's not sure what to say about it--immediately starts being self-conscious because Mikoto is right, she so often is. But at least she can explain...

Yumi could talk more about the Principal except--

The machines beep beep beep and the sshouting is obvious. "I'm--I'm f-fine--"

Mikoto asks the question, and the door opens right up, the nurse coming in and immediately moving to Yumi's side. She reaches out to her and starts to take a shoulder immediately as Yumi tries to get the coughing under control. "W-wait--"

"She'll be fine," the nurse says to Mikoto, not unkindly but a little brusquely. "Just someone feels the need to overdo it as soon as she gets here," she scolds, and Yumi looks up a little weakly. "...Sorry... But it's okay. I took care of it."

"...All right," the nurse says, as she pulls something from Yumi's lap, brings out what's obviously an inhaler and gives it to the gray-haired girl.

"...Visiting hours are about over for Ohzora-san here," the nurse says to Mikoto. "But if you're good, I can see about getting you some more time with her; she seems very concerned with you."

Yumi, for her part, is starting to get her breathing under a bit better control. "...You can... take off the... restraints..." The nurse looks between the two. "...We won't leave you alone in here; someone'll be right back for you, I'm just going to go take care of your friend. All right?"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto brightens, a little, when Yumi calls her her friend. "Yup," she nods. She can trust Yumi not to tell the Principal everything! And what Mashiro doesn't know won't hurt her, right?


But what Yumi's been through does hurt her. The door flies open, and Mikoto's big golden eyes dart to the nurse, still wary. It's an expression which wilts as soon as that nurse blames her for Yumi's condition, and Mikoto can't think of any reason she's wrong. Mikoto crumples, completely. If she hadn't fought, then Yumi wouldn't have had to come in, and...

... and Yumi said that this was a hospital, and hospitals made you better, and that must mean this woman can do that.

"Fix her!" Mikoto demands, sharp and desperate, heedless of the fact that nothing can possibly fix Yumi Ohzora. They're the first words she's said to any of the staff which aren't a warning. As much as the nurse says Yumi seems concerned with Mikoto, it's clear that this strange, feral girl is invested in the Ohzora scion too. (What sort of friends does that girl even make at school?)

Yumi struggles to mention the restraints, and Mikoto remembers what she said about not fighting. It's hard, but she stops herself struggling to get up and go to her friend. She watches the nurse suspiciously as she approaches, muscles tense and breath caught in her throat, but she doesn't move.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Of course!

Mikoto's demand--words that aren't just snarls or warnings--get the nurse's attention, who lifts an eyebrow just long enough to watch Mikoto, to study her face and get a feel for her. ...It doesn't take her long; she doesn't do this job by taking a long time to make decisions. "...We'll do our best," she answers. "Don't worry; Ohzora-san here just needs a little more rest."

Yumi manages a smile at Mikoto, briefly, and the nurse notices Mikoto not fighting, not freaking out, staying still.

"...I'll send someone in to get you more comfortable," the nurse says more gently to Mikoto. "Maybe get you something to eat. And I'll come back and tell you how your friend's doing once she settles back in, hm?"

From completely stern to a little softer quickly. ...But not so soft as to lose her wits. She starts to wheel Yumi back, who looks up at Mikoto again. "S-sorry..." She manages a smile anyway. ...And then Yumi gets wheeled for the door. It's quiet after that, for a few moments; there's the sound of talking at the door.

...And another nurse steps in, this one taller and male, and moves over. It's been a few minutes, now. He holds up his hands. "I'm coming to loosen things up for you." Careful; he announces his presence before he steps over... and starts loosening up restraints to remove them entirely. "It's a little boring in here, hm? Once we get in touch with your guardian, we can bring some things for you, at least; for now, I'll bring over the remote."

He's nice, but he doesn't stay very long. In short order, Mikoto is shown how to adjust the incline of her bed and is able to move her arms and everything! ...And the nurse starts to go. But...

...There's a flash of motion at the bottom of the door, sneaaaking in. The door closes.

"...Hello there," a feminine voice says, and there's the sight of a black cat padding over closer.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The nurse mentions food, and Mikoto's stomach growls, as if on cue. ... how long has it been since she ate last? Maybe it's no wonder she doesn't have the strength to fight.

But Mikoto doesn't seem that interested in talking with the nurse, even if she's being a little less threatening, now. Her eyes are on Yumi, who is struggling so much, all for her sake. "Don't worry, Yumi," she insists. She can't say everything will be okay, because she's not sure it will be - but she honestly doesn't want Yumi to worry.

And then she's gone, and Mikoto is alone with the beep-beep machines. She feels her fear rising again. She struggles to contain it. If she freaks out, Yumi will feel like she has to take care of her, and then Yumi will get worse, and...!

- there's someone else coming in. Mikoto's eyes dart over to him, immediately. She stiffens; she still remembers the first one. He gets a grunt of acknowledgement, and she says nothing as he approaches and starts loosening the restraints. Once they're loose enough, she pulls her hands free and cradles them at her chest - well above where it hurts so much.

He talks to her about a remote, whatever that is. And, promptly, she's shown whatever that is. She watches carefully as he explains the buttons, nodding as he does, and immediately elects to rise her bed up a bit so she's not lying prone any more. She watches him leave, and looks down at the remote -

- but there's a flash of motion, out of the corner of her eye, and a voice. Mikoto looks back towards the door sharply. "I see you," she snarls, immediately on-guard. "Come out!"

For some reason, there's also a cat. Normally, Mikoto would be thrilled to see a cat. But something just entered her room, and is talking to her, and she can't find them. It must be an enemy. Her muscles tense, as she glances towards Miroku. She just said she wouldn't fight, but...

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Food! ....But not just yet. Soon. Instead...

Mikoto is alone with the beeping machines until she isn't, and the buttons at least are simple enough. There's a television; this room is perhaps not the most luxurious in the hospital but like all of them in this hospital is modern, excellent, designed to look more like a hotel than a prison-like infirmary.

The nurse considers it a victory that Mikoto doesn't start fighting, and is gone shortly after. Mikoto has risen... and she sees the motion, hears the voice. There's a snarl already, and Miroku is there, close by.

"Is this usually how you greet your elders?" There's the voice again, refined and somewhat stern, more clearly now the voice of someone older than the teenager that was here before--older than the teenager who was here now. "Excuse me for taking my time to cross the room..."

The shape blurs again--and abrubtly there is a cat on the edge of Mikoto's bed, climbing over the railing. Her fur is black and smooth, her eyes green, her form quintessentially feline. Once she's at the foot of the bed she sets her eyes on Mikoto's, tail gently lashing.

"Perhaps you'd like to try a more polite greeting?"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto growls, teeth bared, much more an animal sound than the smooth tones of the older woman. She's not revealing herself. She's taunting her. She tries to push herself up to stand - but it hurts, too much, and Mikoto winces as she shrinks in on herself. It's no use. Not even she can fight, right now. She flinches, bracing herself as a weight settles on her bed.

... it's that cat. "Run," Mikoto begs it, her voice rasping and pained. She can't save it. She can't even save herself. She can only watch as - - that cat - - chastises her.

Mikoto looks around the room, back at the cat. Around the room, at the cat. No, that was definitely the cat's mouth moving. And it does seem like it would be small enough to sneak in. But... that means... all her anger turns to confusion, writ in ten-foot screaming letters on her face. She stares down at her, blinking. "... cat is... talking..."

... and a genuine smile crosses her face as the pieces click together. "Talking cat!" She exclaims, enthusiastic. "Talking cat!!" She's often wished that her cat friends could talk in her language, instead of her talking in their language. What would they say? Would they say nice things? Would they be proud of her, like she is of them?

That happiness is interrupted as she can no longer ignore her side's protests over its rough treatment, and she grips it with her clipless hand as she grimaces. "Nhh..." ... even just preparing to leap into battle hurts. But when she looks back to Tama, she doesn't look ready to fight any more.

"... hi." In Mikoto's perfect world, she would have met a talking cat at any other point, and they could have hopped out the window together and gone and napped on the roof. But not only is this not Mikoto's perfect world, she seems to have insulted that talking cat. The least she can do is try to fulfill this talking cat's wish for a greeting. No matter her fascination, she doesn't stare at her - she glances at, glances away. It's only natural for Mikoto to speak cat to cats.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Run, Mikoto begs, and the cat considers her in the moments that Mikoto is looking around the room, becoming confused, starting to work things out as she goes. Cat is talking. ...Mikoto smiles, and Tama watches that smile for long moments--for Tama is the cat's name, though she has not given it yet. The excitement, the happiness...

...And yes the pain. Tama keeps watching her for a long few moments yet, and waits. Waits, until--


Tama looks down her nose at the girl... watches her avoid staring, glances, looks away. And then--

The cat nods.

"Much better," she says, finally pronouncing her judgement. "Yumi certainly does have colorful friends..." She steps forward, at that, walking up the bed before she stops short enough to peer down at Mikoto's side, sniffing a few times. "Injured, of course..."

"But yes, I am a cat, and I talk. My name is Tama. Your friend Yumi is my charge."

She considers a little longer, thoughtful. "I'd hardly believe you're her age. You're obviously a kitten yet."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto's side smells of blood and medicine, that acrid disinfectant stink which offends the afflicted girl so much. She smiles, close-lipped to avoid showing her teeth, as the talking cat decides on her worthiness.

"Had to... fight," Mikoto explains, on the topic of her injuries. Why she had to fight goes unsaid. It seems like a lot of things go unsaid with this girl.

She glances to Tama, again, as she introduces herself. "Mikoto," she says, in reply. It must be her name. She thinks back to a conversation she'd had with Yumi, though it feels like her memories are molasses. She had mentioned a cat. This must be that cat.

And she is... calling Mikoto a kitten. For some reason, that just makes Mikoto look totally crestfallen. "I'm fifteen!" She insists, unable to stand being called a baby by a cat. "Sixteen soon!" That's forever old in cat years!!

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Tama's nose wrinkles as she detects the particular smell there, glances up to Mikoto in turn. Close-lipped smile, even. And Mikoto does not seem to be thinking hard about it.

"I can tell," Tama answers about Mikoto having to fight, though it is obvious that she is withholding a good bit of judgement on it. "...Yes, you definitely fought..."

Mikoto. Tama nods, at that, speaking 'human' well enough. She seems to at least not disapprove of simple introductions, though it's hard to read her. ...she is a cat, after all. At least there are no obvious signs of displeasure, no lash of her tail any longer, no flattened ears.

Mikoto looks--

"Hmmm," Tama considers, and then walks up enough to bump the girl's arm with her head. "You always do try to grow up so quickly." She sighs, lightly. "But all right, all right. Nearly her age."

"...She's fine," Tama adds after that. "Or at least, her visit with you didn't make things much worse for her. You're lucky; she doesn't reach out to everyone that way."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Cats don't understand things like fighting. Cats don't have to! That's the privilege of being a cat. And Mikoto Minagi, friend to all cats, would never dream of troubling this one with details of a hard battle. So she tries to hide the way she winces, and doesn't talk about the pain.

It's strange, to see a cat nod. But perhaps it's also strange to see a human blink slowly, as that cat comes up to bump her uninjured arm with a friendly nudge. They both seem to be mixing their languages. "... how old's Tama?" Mikoto asks, because it seems so strange that she would speak so distantly about teenagers. And she did call herself an elder, after all.

Mikoto seems entirely unaware that this question might be seen as a little indelicate.

Relief floods her, as Tama tells her that her friend is all right. "Yumi's okay..." The comfort that brings her is obvious; is it even possible for her to hide what goes on her face? Mikoto shakes her head, and insists, plainly: "Yumi's my friend. Friends help." She sounds grateful for it, at least.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

What a nice world...

As they mix their languages, Tama considers Mikoto's body language. And then she peers at the young girl at the question of her age, green eyes peering into her after all. Indelicate? Well, yes. But then...

Before she answers, Tama allows, "I saw no reason to make you worry further about it. I have little opportunity to get in to see her here, but I have my ways." She pauses, at that. "...Yes, I can tell. You are friends. I'm not sure yet how I feel about that. She can certainly use them, of course."

Lazily, Tama lashes her tail, crossing the bed again to look out towards the window for a time.

"...As for my age, I stopped counting a long time ago. Much, much, much older than you are. ...Old enough to remember that I liked this place better when it was a charming little house that left out fish."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Tama says she's not sure how she feels about their friendship, and Mikoto frowns in confusion. "... is it... bad?" The question clearly wounds her. Is it bad, that she's friends with Yumi? Is it bad, that they've connected? The idea puzzles and alarms her. Love is good, isn't it..?

... is it because she knows bad things? Cats can tell these things, after all, and Mikoto's own catlike yellow gaze falls to her hands as she realises that's the most likely explanation. She puffs out a sigh as she tries to ignore the heavy feeling in her chest.

She listens, subdued, to Tama's explanation. Shaking her head a little to try and shrug off the dark feelings which have descended over her face, she glances over, briefly. "... so cats really like fish offerings?" Mikoto had always told Mai they did, when she insisted on leaving the fish offal out for her cat friends. "Mai can't argue with real cat..."

Mai probably can argue with a real cat, but Mikoto is handily ignoring that fact.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Mm," Tama answers, and a sound like a sigh escapes her when she sees just how wounded Mikoto is, the way she finds the girl seeming to deflate. The young are so... fragile, she finds, and looks up to Mikoto as she listens. At least there is the lighter matter for an instant. This Mai...

"Well, I do," Tama allows. "Our tastes do vary, of course. But I certainly enjoy offerings. It's nice, when humans remember their proper place in things."

She waits a beat, and frowns--her whiskers twitch, her tail lashes. "...Oh, fine. It's not a problem that you're friends," she allows, somewhat grumpily. "Heaven knows that girl needs some good friends. She spends too much time alone already."

There's an unspoken but as she adds, "...What concerns me is her membership in your... group. With all of you. As a result of that, she's in more danger than she needs to be. ...I suppose it's not your fault, though. You're merely helping. You're here as surely as she is."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

If only Mai were a light matter. Things have only gotten more and more complicated, as they've danced around Mikoto's place in the war and Mai's refusal to participate. There are so many subjects they just don't talk about - or at least, that Mai doesn't talk about, and Mikoto doesn't press.

Mikoto wishes she were here now. And then she feels bad for wishing for such an awful thing, when Mai spends so much time in hospital for her brother. She's really causing problems again, isn't she..?

She's always causing problems.

The thought cause her to nod mutely to Tama's light conversation. Normally, she'd be thrilled to learn cat facts from a real talking cat. But right now, right here, she looks to be near tears again. Perhaps that's what makes Tama yield, eventually, in that stubborn way cats do.

"... oh," Mikoto says, her free hand gripping into a fist and then releasing. "Tama's worried..." She doesn't even bother with Japanese politeness, cutting straight to the heart of the matter. She gets it. She's worried, too. She's worried about a lot of things.

She shakes her head. "... I know we do bad things," she says, quietly. "If... if Yumi didn't want to... if Yumi didn't attack... Yumi wouldn't be my enemy. But, Yumi wants to. It would hurt Yumi, if we excluded anyway." Mikoto has been watching her, all this time. She might not speak much, but she listens, even if she sometimes hears the wrong things.

"... Yumi needs to be strong. And Yumi is strong. But I can't just, tell Yumi. It's not something which can just be told." Not that Mikoto doesn't tell Yumi she's strong - she has. But she knows that Yumi believing it is much more than a matter of Mikoto saying it enough.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

If only, if only.

Tama can share other facts someday. ...For now, yes, she yields, and yes, when Mikoto voices that realization, she answers, "I am." Cats don't appreciate being 'gotten', as a rule, and she is no exception--or maybe it's just that she prefers to maintain her distance, her mystery. But the way Mikoto continues...

"You do," Tama agrees. "And I don't approve. And yet..." She sighs, again, something that sounds more like a low growling mew without the anger, as she sits down, watching Mikoto. Mikoto has been watching.

"...She doesn't believe me when I say it, either," Tama answers. "But maybe her being hurt is better than her dying or worse as a result of all of this."

"well, all right. For now, you should focus on your recovery. At least with you here there's one of you she doesn't have to just wonder about."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Somewhere, a cat disapproves. That somewhere is right here, right now. And that makes Mikoto sad, like all her fears about herself have just been confirmed, because a cat has said so.

But they still have common ground: Yumi doesn't listen to either of them on this one specific thing. Mikoto shakes her head. She hates disagreeing with a cat, but at the same time, she can't help but be honest. Perhaps it's because there's a little too much cat in her herself. "... wounds heal. Emotions don't. I love Yumi. I won't do that to Yumi, not even for Tama."

If they pushed Yumi away to save her body and her soul, they'd just be condemning her heart. And that would be a terrible fate, for someone who struggles so bravely. Mikoto is sure there would be nothing left to salvage.

She's quiet, for a long moment, as she listens to Tama. She glances over to her, again, glances away - a sort of silent apology, or perhaps a gesture that she's not mad. "Don't want to worry Yumi... I'll try."

And she'll try not to involve Yumi in her wondering.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Tama can be a very harsh cat, in the ways that a cat can and even beyond; sometimes when a cat can speak human language, the things that she says are not very nice. ...And that time is now, too. Wounds heal, emotions... Tama looks up glumly at Mikoto. "Not all wounds heal," she points out, but doesn't press it; she can see the logic there, knows full well that it isn't that simple or she would have done it by now, found a way to insist harder.

Tama looks out the window still, notes the gesture... and Tama inclines her small head again. "Good. I won't complain at least at your loyalty. ...It would be simple if you weren't good to her." Tama shakes her head, and pads a little further from the foot... looking over at Miroku.

"...I have a spell I can tell her about that can help you hide your weapon. It may make things simpler for you. Don't mention that I spoke to you about her, if you don't mind. She'd find it embarrassing."

She looks over to Mikoto again, and then, "...And if you're good, then when you get out of here I'll show you some of my favorite nap spots on your campus."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

It would be simpler, if Mikoto's heart was made of obsidian instead of just being guarded by it.

It would be simpler if she were just a bad person.

Instead she is the way she is: loyal and loving, in that surprisingly jagged way of someone who will do the worst things in the name of devotion. Mikoto has paid close attention to Yumi, as they've grown closer. Mikoto has attached perhaps distressingly fast. Mikoto doesn't seem like the sort of person who would let go easily.

Not all wounds heal. Not all hearts break. There's a measure of uncertainty which unsettles Mikoto to think about.

But she doesn't think she's wrong.

"Miroku doesn't like other people," Mikoto shakes her head, her tone growing as firm as Tama's for a moment. "Can't cast on Miroku. ... around, maybe." Casting the area around it should be safe. Safer than having it out for all the nurses to look at, at least. That's a judgement call she can make, as the sword's guardian. It's not a completely comfortable one, but... she doesn't have its case, and she can't get up to return it even if she did. At times like this, she has to make do. It has to be by her side.

It feels bad, to talk about someone and then not tell them. But then again, Mai's friend Chie is always telling her that a little gossip is good for a girl's soul... so after a moment, Mikoto nods. "I'll keep secret." It's... it's fine, right? After all, she doesn't want to embarrass Yumi.

And she brightens, for the first time in a while, when Tama confides the promise of a cat secret. "Really?!" She'll be good!!