2018-05-01 - Kasagami Returns, Ohtori Whispers

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Title: Kasagami Returns, Ohtori Whispers

After realising she has to return to her normal school life, Kasagami Araki takes the plunge and attends Ohtori classes again. But she's not popular, any more - she's an absolute pariah. She's joined during lunch by her fellow outcast Kimiko, and by Mikoto, who just doesn't care. They give Kasagami some more advice, in their own ways.


Kasagami Araki, Kimiko Akane, Mikoto Minagi


Ohtori - Gardens

OOC - IC Date:

2018-05-01 - 2015-04-15

.******************** Yamanote High City - Ohtori Academy *********************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Garden +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 Ohtori's grounds rarely miss a chance to include flowers, particularly roses
 and poppies, whether they be in planters, decorating terraces, or engraved
 into the stone walls. Nowhere is this theme more evident than in the
 courtyard garden, an open-air enclosure surrounded by the pillars of nearby
 walkways, permitting those traversing the facility to enjoy a bit of natural
 beauty on their way to class.

 The courtyard features a French formal garden, with nature kept in strict
 manicured order, man's dominion over nature turning shrubs and blooms into
 paint for the gardener's brush. A great glass jewel of a greenhouse
 dominates the courtyard, with the same lacelike white-painted cast iron that
 decorates the walkways supporting its cloudy antique glass panels.

 In contrast to without, the garden within the greenhouse is rampant and
 lush. Order is maintained with a subtler hand, and everywhere the flowers
 and trees are permitted to spill a bit, nature's cornucopia lovely in its
 excess. Exotic, oddly-shaped blooms that would wither outside the glass cage
 flourish within the winterless warmth, and small quantities of tropical
 citrus fruits are produced, most destined to be gifts for valued visitors.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lunchtime rolls around, and Kasagami Araki sits at one of the smaller tables on Ohtori's grounds. The young woman's uniform is odd, by what many have become used to seeing her in. It's red and black as she's so known for, her coat wrapped around her as if to ward off the weather rather than proudly flying behind her like a cape. Dress pants and a military cut shirt, reminiscent of but utterly lacking the ostentation of the Student Council uniform.

Kasagami somehow looks even more exhausted than she did back at the Estate. The day had not been a good one to her. Legs crossed, staring blankly at a half-eaten bento, her eyes close. She shudders, and runs a hand down her right arm.


Where she was used to fear and admiration, the morning walking into Ohtori after her absence was instead met with a far different reaction. The sight of the young woman, visibly tired and stripped of her influence, is set upon by the tide of middle and highschoolers. Some point. A few laugh or shuffle away. Whispers start.

"I always knew that Araki was a cheater!"

"They should have thrown her out. After all that talk about ambition! Hmph. Coward."

"She's too ugly to be around Touga-san anyway!"

"Hey, Araki, showing your face finally? How's it feel to lose like the low class girl you are? Ohhhh hoh hoh hoh hoh!"


A chopstick in hand, she stabs it into the yielding flesh of cooked chicken. Seething rage and humiliation lurks in her eyes, and it has nowhere to go, nowhere to lash out as she remembers the day's events.

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

School is something Mikoto can do, even injured. Mai can't argue with Mikoto going to school. Even recovering, she can at least do this. And really, she's getting better! She doesn't even have a walking stick or bandages keeping her down any more!

But there's been empty chairs, in the classroom. One, in particular, belonging to Kasagami Araki. And Mikoto's eyes have lingered there, more than once, because she knows why Kasagami is missing. It makes her sad.

The other students whisper about her disappearance. They're just words. Words, words, words, and Mikoto doesn't listen to a single one, even though her sharp ears catch them all. She never has. She doesn't care what people say about her friends - from Nao to Mai.

She doesn't care, and yet she doesn't stop them. They're just words.

(She doesn't stop those words when they're about her, either. In one particular case, she can't. And doesn't that kind of sting a little, Mikoto Minagi..?)

But Kasagami has returned, now, and Mikoto smiled brightly to her as she took her place at her desk, called out to her with excitement before Midori told them to settle down, come on, guys, this is technically a classroom. Mikoto, at least, was all smiles for Kasagami's return.

She's not unaware of the fact that her smiles are rare, compared to the staring eyes and the whispers behind cupped hands.

So Mikoto finds Kasagami, during lunch. "Kasagami!" She calls, again, announcing herself as she slips into a seat beside her. She doesn't bother asking if it's okay; of course it's okay. Mikoto smiles to her, as she has all day. "Kasagami's back! I'm so happy!"

She ignores the way two long-limbed girls turn their heads and titter quietly about how of course that feral girl is ignoring the facts, but can you blame her, she's always been a bit stupid.

<Pose Tracker> Kimiko Akane [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The start of a new school year had done little for Kimiko's enthusiasm for Ohtori. While she respected many aspects of the school there were other things that still bothered her. Sometimes she wondered if maybe it was just because there were too many bad memories here. Memories that pretty much anyone would want to distance themselves from if they could. But still... she's here and trying to make the best of it.

Lunchtime however makes it hard for her to not feel alienated from her peers. She had no one that she wanted to really socialize with. The whispers all around her don't help much either, especially when they involve one of the few people at the school she found herself starting to admire. And so, without a lunch she wanders heading towards the library but as she does, she passes the small table where Kasagami sits and her face actually brightens just a little.

Stepping closer though, her expression falls. She can already tell that something in the rumours must be true. Kimiko pauses for a moment before approaching Kasagami like she is working up her nerve. However, before she can reach the table, she notices another familiar face. Mikoto's enthusiasm seems out of place and it makes her more uncomfortable but nevertheless she finally approaches the two. Her voice is quiet and she seems unsure of herself as she speaks up, "Mikoto-san, Kasagami-san...may I join you?" Everything Kasagami told her about being confident seems to have been forgotten in that moment.

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

Kasagami can't hate Mikoto for her pure love for a friend. As much as a dark part of her wants to, she can't even be angered by Mikoto's lack of realization that her purehearted joy in the classroom only makes things worse for the disgraced former StuCo member.

This doesn't mean she's not annoyed by it. During their classroom time, the young woman pointedly ignores both Mikoto, and more frigedly, the classroom at large. The fiery Kasagami is giving the cold shoulder broadly just to survive right now, and only Mikoto and strangely Midori get something akin to recognition.

...She always did have a soft spot for the strong teacher, given her former position as Disciplinary Executive.

Upon lunch though, Kasagami looks up. The two tittering girls are given Kassie's best death glare at. Even now, there's a certain inborn anger in Kassie that makes normal people step away when fixed with it. She softens quickly. Even as her hand still trembles, clutching the now snapped and ruined chopstick in her hand.

"Mikoto. You are a wonderful soul and I love you like the little sister I wish Dad and Mother had given me."

Reeeach. Flick flick flick! She doesn't look to the much shorter girl, but she does start flicking Mikoto right towards the nose.

"But you really need to learn a thing or two about tact. And that's coming from someone who hates being tactful." She finally looks at Mikoto.

This is a look from a very, very tired and weary older sister. It's as hard as iron for a second, and then soft as silk in another. She reaches, and then ruffles Mikoto's hair.

And then she laughs. It's bitter, and humorless. It's becoming a common sound from Kassie these days.

Blink. Kassie looks up and spies Kimiko after a moment. She looks utterly distracted, of course, but pulls forth a smile for the young Puella. She can't even get angry over the poor young woman's condition. Her focus is inward, and yet, some spark comes to her. She has so many she loves. And Kimiko is in that ven diagram of those she calls friends and loves.

"If you don't mind sitting with a pathetic 'coward', as I keep getting called...I don't mind. Are you doing alright, Kimiko-chan?" Her first thought is for Kimi. How couldn't it be? Even if she's brought low, a Puella's situation is infinite times worse.

"Let me ask you two a question." She starts. Her eyes close.

"...If you where stripped of everything you thought was your heritage and life, how would you go about rebuilding? How would you balance responsibilities without power?" She doesn't touch that bento, only stirring rice and veggies with a half-shattered chopstick.

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

Mikoto is flicked. She stares, bemusedly, at the chopsticks. Tact...

As her hair is ruffled, Mikoto realises what Kasagami is saying. She still smiles to Kasagami at the contact, but it's a little more muted, and it fades to a thoughtful frown as Mikoto looks down. "... everyone's talking. Thought maybe... Kasagami could use someone who wasn't."

The 'sorry' is implicit, but clearly carried through the way her awkward tones have that shade of apology to them.

Mikoto looks back up, as Kasagami laughs so humourlessly. It reminds her of wooden smiles, and it makes her honest heart so uneasy. "Kasagami..." Mikoto starts, uncertain and concerned.

But then comes Kimiko's entrance, and Mikoto turns to her and smiles again - a little more shaded, a little more reserved. Still, her greeting is warm. "Kimiko!"

She puts her bento on the table - it's Mai's own special lunch, obviously - and unwraps it, snapping open her own chopsticks. Mikoto begins devouring her food with ferocity and swiftness, only for Kasagami to ask such a vulnerable question.

In Ohtori, occasionally, miracles and mysteries happen. The Crystal Hall becomes a matrix of mirrors reflecting Kasagami's utter failure, or a kangaroo boxes its way through the halls, or...

... Mikoto stops eating before all the food is gone.

Very occasionally, the most impossible things happen in Ohtori.

She stops eating, and she looks down at her bento, and she thinks. Then she looks over to Kasagami, and she thinks some more. And then, finally, she says: "I wouldn't break my chopsticks. Need those to eat."

Mikoto pops a piece of shrimp in her mouth, chews, swallows. (See, Mai? She's learning.) "Kasagami's breaking lots of chopsticks."

<Pose Tracker> Kimiko Akane [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Kimiko frowns at Kasagami's words as she takes a seat. "Kasagami-san... I never thought of you as being a coward...or pathetic. How can you even say that?" And then, Kasagami is asking about her and Kimiko raises her eyes and shrugs. "I am okay but you haven't been to school lately and I was..." She searches for the right word. "...worried."

The next question from Kasagami makes her think for awhile. Even as Mikoto begins devouring her bento, Kimiko seems to be considering what to say, choosing her words carefully. However, Mikoto's response makes the younger girl raise an eyebrow. At first her expression is quite serious but then she actually cracks a small smile and then laughs. In a way, it eases a little of the tension she feels.

Still, the looming question causes Kimiko to take a more serious approach. "Kasagami-san, ever since we met you have instilled a message of strength and courage." She pauses, glancing at the broken chopsticks for a moment. "Even if the power was taken away...that doesn't change who you are right?" Kimiko is trying very hard to seem more sure of her words than she probably actually is.

Then suddenly, she reaches for the broken chopsticks and then leans into her bag, drawing out two of her own from an unopened bento. "Here, take mine. I haven't used them..." She offers a half-smile but finds it hard to really offer any other advice that, in her mind, would be useful.

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

Twitch. Kassie looks to Mikoto as she mentions 'talking'. A shiver through her body, and all at once? She smiles. That 'sorry' Mikoto's offers sends a burning wince through her body, and yet she offers one final flick to the girl's nose.

"You're a sweet girl, Mikoto. I appreciate it. They don't understand! All of them that talk!" She snarles. Her two clubs. Her Estate. She shudders, and draws yet another chicken to her mouth. Crunch.

A pause. Twitch. And then she offers an honest laugh. "I guess I really am killing a few too many chopsticks." Offers Kassie.

There's two chopsticks being offered to her. Kassie pauses, and then takes them. She looks at the gleaming pair of food devouring implements. And then she looks to Kimiko.

'How can you even say that'.

Kassie manages to grit her teeth. And then her good eye is wide.

"No. No it doesn't." Kasagami suddenly realizes what Kimiko is saying. She stands tall. She has so much to fight. But maybe she can do this.

She takes the chopsticks, and then spears some of both veggies and meat. She chows down. And finally, she looks to Kimiko again.

Suddenly she looks at both girls. "You're both right. Just insults. From people that don't realize what hardship and strength is. What they say doesn't matter. I...I want to be a King. And I will do what I must to obtain a crown!" She looks to Kimiko.

She picks up her bento. And then peers at the two girls.

She has so much to fight. But at least she knows she has those who care for her.

Hands reach, and both Kimiko and Mikoto get a pair of ruffles on the head if they don't pull back.

"My clubs..my Estate...I'm going to save both, even if it kills me!" She snarls, and then she's walking off. A glance back. And she smiles to Mikoto and Kimiko.

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

Mikoto doesn't comment on Kasagami being pathetic or a coward, because Kasagami asked that of Kimiko, after all. But it's quite evident in the way she sits beside her that she thinks these, too, are just words.

The tittering girls, at least, shut up quick when Kasagami glared so ferociously. There's not been a peep from them since.

Strangely enough, Mikoto frowns, when Kimiko laughs. She wasn't making a joke. She was trying to make a serious point about how much Kasagami is breaking in order to sate her anger. Just because it's also practical advice about her actual chopsticks... do they really not get it?

(Can you blame her, she's always been a bit stupid...)

Mikoto feels foolish in her misunderstanding, and frowns down at the table for a moment, fixing it with a baleful stare. Kasagami is laughing at her, too, and her shoulders hunch -

- but then Kasagami admits that maybe she's killing too many chopsticks after all, and Mikoto looks up at her and smiles in utter relief, because she thinks that maybe Kasagami got it after all.

The tension drained from her, when Kimiko offers Kasagami new chopsticks, Mikoto smiles to her again. "Wow, Kimiko's prepared!" It doesn't occur to her at all that Kimiko might be giving up her one and only pair of chopsticks. Naturally she's just carrying around a spare set, right? No one would just give up their ability to eat lunch like that.

Mikoto finishes off her own bento as Kasagami eats. It doesn't take her long. And when Kasagami declares they're just insults, Mikoto nods. "Only words," she agrees, evidently pleased with her conclusion.

And she smiles, again, when Kasagami ruffles her hair. There's such warmth in her expression; she cares for Kasagami, and doesn't even bother hiding it, even now she's a pariah. She nods, firmly. "Kasagami can do it."

She watches Kasagami leave, smiling to her. She'll stay with Kimiko until the end of lunch, if the other girl doesn't leave. Mikoto's lunch chatter is generally quite cheerful, and she doesn't seem to be holding much of a grudge for the misunderstanding. After all, it was Kasagami she was really worried about misinterpreting her.

<Pose Tracker> Kimiko Akane [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The comment about chopsticks does seem to be completely lost on Kimiko. Even Kasagami's response doesn't make her 'get it' any more but she seems oblivious to it in the end. There are other things for her to focus on after all.

The anger that Kimiko feels behind Kasagami's words makes her realize that's the same way she feels too. Every time in the past that someone has hurt her. Every time she gets wind of another rumour about her. No matter how much they may want to ignore it, the sting is still undeniable, even for those who may find it hard to admit. But with that anger can come resolve to do something...

Kimiko nods at Kasagami and she doesn't even try to resist the head ruffle. It's something she has come to expect from the older girl. "It'll be okay Kasagami-san and you know... if you ever need anything I will do what I can to help. After all, you have done a lot to try and help me so it seems only fair."

When Kasagami steps away, Kimiko looks back to Mikoto, not making a move to leave. Lunch wasn't over yet and really, she had nowhere important to be. Rather than take out her bento and eat though, Kimiko draws out a book and flips through the pages mindlessly as she makes small talk throughout the rest of the lunch period. It's been awhile since she actually purposely sat with anyone at lunch and the company is pleasant enough.