2018-04-26 - Unanswered Questions and Tea

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Title: Unanswered Questions and Tea

Ami Mizuno checks in on Kasagami Araki. She has few answers, but gives plenty for Kasagami to think about.


Ami Mizuno, Kasagami Araki


Araki Estate

OOC - IC Date:

04/26/18 - 04/14/15

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed. The Araki Estate is already becoming untenable. Dust and insects are reclaiming the large place already without servants to maintain it. The pure emptiness of everything is astonishing. The place, once so renewed and full of life, now feels like an abandoned mining town. One could imagine ghosts residing here.

Arguably one does, even if her pulse still beats. Kasagami Araki has bound herself up in a kimono, a dark blue and silver one, particularly thick given it's a somewhat chilly night. The young woman is at her desk, still pouring over ream after ream of finances. She's still being the shut-in, a drastic thing for the attention-and-people loving Kasagami. But at least thanks to Setsuna, she's more actively facing her problems. That her face is drawn and stressed, showing lack of sleep and internal agony, might be evidence she is still very much grieving over everything.

But Kasagami Araki is a young woman who /does/ things. Often destructive to herself and others, but pride so far keeps her afloat from simply giving up. That, and the love of her dear Setsuna.

Her phone sits nearby in the old office that she's practically locked herself away in since the dinner with her dark-eyed love. She's past the phonecalls.

All she can do is try to desperately think, double check, and plan as obsession sets in.

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed. When the rumours first began to circulate it seemed like it was impossible. It was hard to envision Kasagami as anything but the outgoing and hard-working person she had known. Regardless of things that had happened in the past, Ami still found it hard not to care about someone who had faced a lot of the same things they had and still managed to come out unscathed. But, perhaps this was her breaking point and she found it hard to stop thinking about it.

That is why she finds herself rushing out of class today to make it to the estate. She hesitates before knocking wondering if she would be intruding or even if Kasagami was home. Given the whispers of rumours she had heard from her peers, she imagines it would be hard for her to be out much right now.

When she finally knocks on the door, the sound echoes around her. With no answer at first, Ami knocks louder and more forcefully. "Araki-san, it's Ami. Are you home?" Her face is filled with concern as she calls out. Even though she is unsure if the girl is home or can hear her, Ami continues, "It's okay if you're not up for visitors. I just..." A pause. "...wanted to make sure you're okay."

Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed. The forceful knocks finally get Kasagami's attention. She looks up from a ledger, and finally stumbles to her feet. It takes a minute or two, but the Ghost of the Araki Estate shows her face.

Click. The door opens. It's an expansive estate, made so much lonelier now. It /feels/ like decay and mourning, matching the spirits of the one who peeks her head out. She blinks. Kasagami's eye is bloodshot and face darkened by lack of sleep.

Comprehension comes slowly.

"...Ami-chan?" Starts the young woman, staring at her as if she isn't sure the Genius of Juuban is really here. She considers sending her away. After all, why would someone like /her/ want to spend time with someone who /lost/! She's heard all the rumors by now. Their weight is an iron anchor around her neck, alongside far more tangible concerns.

But no, this is the same girl that helped her so selflessly when she was weak and in pain. She won't be cruel to someone who helped her. After all, wouldn't a real King do so? Can she do at least that much.

There's no boisterousness in her expression. But she opens the door, and turns to lead in Ami towards the office. "There...isn't much left here, Ami-chan. My servants are gone. My contacts abandoning me by the minute. A single moment really can snatch away everything you have built and fought for." A shudder runs through her body. She looks tired, angry, and depressed all at once. Her words are bitter and full of venom without any real place to vent at.

"Pathetic, isn't it?" She wanders aimlessly to a slightly dusty kitchen, where she starts to make tea. She can at least try to be that much of a host. Silk rustles as she moves about.

Finally, she looks at the younger woman. "Why are you wasting your time on me? You're someone who has talent far above others. Hah, I can hardly match up in any way right now." There's no jealousy in those words, just self-loathing brought out in a raw, stabbing motion in her own heart.

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed. Ami turns to glance back out away from the estate, sighing softly, when the clicks of the door make her quickly turn back to face the door. She nods slightly at the question, making note of the worn look in Kasagami's eyes. "It's me Araki-san. I'm sorry if you don't want visitors but..." She pauses, not knowing how to explain her concern or the reasons for it and maybe it didn't matter so much right now.

She follows Kasagami into the office as she talks about what happened. Ami listens at first. It takes her awhile to formulate a response to the hopelessness she hears in Kasagami's voice. When she speaks, her voice is calm and quiet and if she can, Ami reaches out a hand to her shoulder. "Araki-san... I know you probably feel like there is nothing else you can do but you can't give up. What about all those speeches and all that inspiration you gave to so many other students and your friends? You can't say that all of that was for nothing."

While Kasagami busies herself in the kitchen, Ami steps up beside her. "Will you let me help you?" She pauses to reach for a mug. "And... I don't just mean with the tea. I mean, you have friends and people that care about you...like me. I would never consider this a waste of time. I wouldn't be here if I did." Ami offers a smile to Kasagami, hoping in some way to cut through the haze.

For awhile, there is silence in the kitchen as Ami moves to assist as she can. The dust that has accumulated doesn't seem to bother her. "This is going to sound really silly but in a lot of ways I look up to you. You know how to talk to people in ways that I never could. You have goals and aspirations and even if some of that was taken away from you, it's not the end. So..." Ami takes a towel and wipes some of the dust from the counter. "...what can I do to help you? What do you need right now?" Her eyes meet Kasagami's tired gaze as she asks this.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed. Kasagami doesn't reject the touch to her shoulder. She looks back, and peers at Ami for a moment. They feel like a lifetime ago, when she felt so full of ambition and energy and /purpose/. When she felt unstoppable, unlike now. Her inner turmoil writhes. Yet? She thinks back to when she first started organizing events, driving so hard to encourage the passions of Ohtori's student body.

She doesn't respond. Into the kitchen, she's busy making tea, but she looks more distracted than ever.

A shudder. Surely, those students she inspired will abandon her speeches as nothing right? Surely, she didn't touch their lives now that she /lost/! Kasagami sucks down an angry rant, at lashing out at this wonderful girl who has come here to /help/.

She glares, surely, back at Ami. But at least the girl has drawn some of her old fire out of her. Even if she's on the edge of lashing.

Yet it's easy to dismiss the rumoring Ohtori students. Her friends? Not as much. The Shepherds flash through her mind, and Kasagami finally turns to fully face Ami. Whatever invectives she was ready to offer the bluenette die on her lips.

"If...have I really been helping them? You're far too nice of a person, Ami! All of this time, I've only been considering myself! All of those speeches, all of those encouragements, was it really for them, or was it for /ME/?" She screams suddenly, Utena Tenjou's words haunting her like keen knife edges at her heels.

The teapot boils behind her. She doesn't notice.

She slumps into a chair. Ami might have to deal with more than just the tea.

One leg is hugged towards her chest. "...I..."

Goals. Ambitions. And this beautiful soul wants to /help/. She remembers Setsuna. Eri. Kyouko. Akko. Chitose. Yumi. Everyone that's been a true friend.

"My Estate will die in two years if I don't regain my family's fortune. I have no contacts, no friends in the /adult/ world left, Ami-chan."

She pauses. She swallows, and that haze lifts for just a moment. "I want to change the world." She starts. She says it twice, then a third time, then a fourth.

"Where do I go from here? How do I rebuild? I want...you're right. I can't let the people I love down. But how do I go forward when I have nothing?" Then she looks to Ami. Her eyes brim with tears.

"I want to be a King, what /should/ a King be?" She finally belts out the question that's started to grind at her very essence of being.

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed. Ami feels the tension building in the silences between them but even still she doesn't seem overly concerned. When Kasagami screams though, she nearly drops the cup she is holding. The reaction that of surprise not fear. "Kasa...even if it was for you. Even if your motives weren't in the interest of others, deep down... I think that you do care and that other people are important to you. It's not just about status you know?"

Ami steps behind Kasagami to take care of the boiling teapot and then walks back to the girl, now sitting in a chair and she bends down, meeting her at eye level. "You have to snap out of this. The longer you avoid facing this head on, the harder it will be to get out of it." She frowns, sitting back on her heels as Kasagami continues repeating her words.

The next questions make Ami realize that maybe she can't be as helpful as she would like to be in this situation. "I think that... the most important thing is talking to other people, figuring out exactly what you need to be able to do that. I probably don't have the solution that you want Araki-san but..."

Concern grows in her eyes with the appearance of the tears. "...you have friends who I am sure would do whatever they can to help if you just ask for it."

Ami stands up quickly, grabbing a chair from nearby and she faces it towards Kasagami, sitting down as the question is raised about kings and she considers it for awhile before speaking.

"All of this time you have spoken about wanting to be a King. When I think about that I immediately think of someone who can lead others, who makes decisions and follows through. A good king has power but doesn't abuse it and cares about people and making a difference." She pauses and takes one of Kasagami's hands.

"I can see all of those qualities in you but if you don't know what you want or how to get out of this how can you ever achieve that goal?" Ami offers a warm smile. "I think you know, deep down, what you need to do."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Status. Respect. Things she's always sought after her time in middle school. She gives a look to Ami that's openly confused. When /hasn't/ it been about status? Since she gained, and then lost it?

But her good eye opens a bit wider. The young woman finally /listens/.

Eyes meet, and steel peers. It reminds her of Setsuna.

Encouragement to face the problem directly. Has she ever done anything but? Guilt wells up in her chest, and Ami deals with the tea. Kasagami is up, stumbling forward as if she wants to stop Ami from turning into the host. She's way too tired to follow through. She finally collapses back into a seat. She ignores more dust.

She laughs. It's a low thing, almost defeated, but not quite. Ami is right. She has friends. People close to her, that love her.

One tiny, miniscule part of her soul feels hope. It's just for a moment, but this young woman reminds her of those who truly matter. Those that, even if she's been selfish, she's been fighting for all this time.

Hands touch, and then Kasagami finds herself gazing into Ami's smile. She blinks, and as the tea finishes? She sips it with her free hand. Warmth, physical and emotional fills her.

The tiniest shard of hope remains. And then she remembers the promise she gave to her dead parents. Teeth grit.

"...I'm not sure that I'm not a terrible person, Ami-chan. And I am not sure if I can live up to the Kingship I imagine. I...don't even know what an ideal King is right now, Ami. But..." Another hand joins Ami's, and then she rubs the other girl's hands as a weak, fragile smile comes to her face.

"I want to make the world better. For me. For the people I love. For..." She gulps.

For the people she hates. For her enemies. For everyone. That little spark grows brighter, a zippo amidst the infinite darkness of her ravaged heart. But a spark starting to glow, thanks to Ami and Setsuna.

"I really am being a terrible host. Let me at least find something to make you for dinner." At least the Estate still has power and a decent pantry. Even as she aches, even as she's tired, she struggles to make Ami a good meal.

Italian of course. With excessive spices to mostly keep herself awake.