2018-06-04 - Volcanic Love

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: Volcanic Love

Mai finds Mikoto futilely trying to summon her powers back to her. Mai manages to be a little honest, and Mikoto acknowledges that Mai is precious in a different way to everyone else, and it's Mai's love specifically which grants her the strength to realise her magic again. Also, they found Blanket Town together.


Mai Tokiha, Mikoto Minagi


Ohtori - Dormitories (Rooftop)

OOC - IC Date:

2018-06-04 - 2015-04-22

.******************** 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.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

The hour dawns very, very early.

Or very late, as perspective might suit. The witching hour looms near, but a deep slumber has fallen over Ohtori. The skies have cleared of the evening's clouds, and starts twinkle ominously alongside a waxing moon. Celestial light bears silent vigil upon the academy...

...but the academy is dark. No classes go on at this hour, no clubs save perhaps the most ambitious astronomers. Perhaps some denizens of Ohtori stir, up to activities of their own...but as Thursday begins its chilly arrival, those souls are few and far between.

The roof of the girls' dormitory is as quiet as any. A ventilation system whispers quietly, offering little save a gentle breeze...but generally, it stands as a good place to be alone. Darkness surrounding, only distant lights to spy - a place to be hidden, a place to contemplate the world.

At the roof access door, a girl arrives. Her pyjamas are warm enough when accompanied by a housecoat, but she pauses at the threshold to the outside. The night is chilly indeed - the blanket in her arms testament to the worry that brought her up here - but the darkness holds many worries. Maybe her feet are quiet enough that another figure on the roof might not hear her arrival...

Because someone else is there, aren't they?

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

"I'm normal," Mikoto admitted, one day when she got in from school, putting Miroku's case down with an audible puff of effort. "But it's not good, Mai. I'm... dull." And, you know, she'd told her everything, in that way Mikoto does which omits so many obvious details. The girl with the hammer, and her book which took so much. The girl who saved her, who turned out to be her enemy, tricking her with words. The Witch which tried to eat her when she couldn't face Lera any longer. Eri, who saved her.

She described it as being 'hunted', where she has only ever described herself as a hunter before.


Mikoto has been disappearing at night.

Not for a terribly long time - an hour, perhaps two. She is good at slipping out of holds; she is good at moving without disturbing the bed.

She is not good at compensating for the nippy April nights, but she doesn't think about that aspect at all.

She wakes up, she disappears; she comes back, she returns to slumber.

It's doubtful Mai is supposed to notice she's gone at all.


This is the third night Mikoto Minagi has slipped away from Mai Tokiha and brought her sword-case to the roof.

This is the third night she has sat in perfect sieza before it, eyes closed, face knit in concentration. It's the only thing knit about her; she's still in her pyjamas, even here in the deep night chill. It's fine. It's bracing. It brings her awareness tight about her.

This is the third night she's reached out, again and again, hand and voice in practiced motions: "Miroku."

This is the third night its presence has been so far away, even right here in front of her.

This is the third night it hasn't returned to her.

"Miroku," Mikoto's voice wavers as she says more, this time, so much more than she has on nights previous. Because it's so faint, in her mind. She's not sure her thoughts are reaching it. Maybe - maybe her voice will. "Eri's doing it alone, Miroku. Miroku remembers what we were like alone, right..? I can't let that happen to Eri. Eri can do it. I know Eri can be that person, just like me. If - I didn't have -" - her voice catches, wavers. "- Miroku, I know I can help, but I gotta be able to fight."

Mikoto reaches out, fingertips brushing against the case. "... and there's enemies everywhere, Miroku. I gotta be able to protect everyone. I don't wanna be a burden..." It might call to mind what she'd said, when Mai first brought her back to the dorms.

She takes a shaky breath, trying - trying - to keep her voice low. "I can't be normal, so Miroku... please..."

They are a hundred emotions, flinting off of the jagged edges of her heart. "... let me fight again... for everyone, Miroku." Reaching out, reaching out. It is motion, it is word, so unlike the automatic thoughts which summon magatama.

"Miroku..." Teeth grit, a tear which catches the chill.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

'Normal'. Such an innocuous word. Mai hadn't picked up on the significance when Mikoto had said it, that afternoon. Hadn't picked up on the tone, on the admission of defeat she coloured it with. In Mai's defence, what came next had stolen her attention. How many attacks - how many times had Mikoto needed saving in the space of a few days?

Too many. One would be too many, but the past week went so far beyond that...

Mai had cooked comfort foods that night. Nothing deluxe, nothing requiring going out for ingredients - she stayed in, stayed where Mikoto could find her, and made ramen like she did the day they became roommates.


The first night Mikoto left, Mai felt that something was wrong - but unease in her sleep wasn't enough to rouse her. Mikoto surely just needed a trip to the washroom, that was all.

The second night, she was awake long enough to worry, but did not stir from the bed until Mikoto returned.

The third night, tonight, she was awake enough to hear the door open and shut, oh so quietly. Tonight she opened her eyes after a minute, listening carefully, thinking. Mikoto sneaking out in the middle of the night isn't so foreign a concept, but this late is somewhat extreme...

"...she didn't open the window." Sitting up, Mai fumbles for her walking stick, swings out of bed, carefully makes her way to the window. A quick tug allows a chilling breeze into the room, proving that it was unlocked as ever. Just like usual, so why... "...normal. She...she can't even avoid the RA like usual, can she? Oh, Mikoto..."


It was painfully slow, making her way to the roof access. Oh, Mai still had her fire, still had the flagrantly obvious way of getting to the roof - but the night is quiet, and she wanted to be as well. Her walking stick is carried, out of a begrudging acceptance if nothing else, but it was the wall that was her greatest ally in making her way up. Step by step, breath by breath, to the stairs and the doors beyond.

Admittedly the roof was a gamble - but if Mikoto went anywhere else, catching up would be a fool's errand. Here, or nowhere - but the quiet voice from beyond the door proves that her guess was right.

The words she hears stab as surely as any knife, punishing this quiet intrusion.

Mikoto can't be normal. The echo of every time Mai expressed that wish come rushing back, haunting her. How much did she take for granted? How much did she stay oblivious to Mikoto's wants and needs? She doesn't know...

...but even awash in guilt, she can tell Mikoto is struggling, is alone and cold. She shouldn't intrude - and yet, she has a blanket to offer. Carefully, leaning on her stick, Mai nudges the door open a bit further to see if she can quietly leave the warmth by her precious person's side.

The chilly breeze greedily catches the door's edge, slamming it into the wall with a clang. Maybe not a terribly resounding one, but one loud enough for a trained warrior to hear, easily.

Framed in the doorway, caught in the moment, Mai freezes. One hand rests on her walking stick; the other holds a blanket.

Stealth never came easily to her.

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

Mikoto can, indeed, not evade much of anyone right now. She described herself as dulled - and it seems an apt comparison. It's almost like she's sick, except that Mai has rarely known Mikoto to just get sick. She is incredibly robust. But now, she's even more slowed than her injuries ought to allow. Now, it seems like even those sharp senses are a little less helpful.

Now, the weight of her sword weighs on her.

She didn't open the window. But then, she hasn't leapt through it in some time. Mikoto's been in a sorry state, recently...


The roof, then.

Normally, Mikoto would hear the clack of the walking stick against the stairs as Mai approached - would hear the door as it cracked open. But she's concentrating so hard, right now. She is calling out in every vein and aspect.

The breeze makes her shiver. She can't hide the cold. She doesn't think to try.

But that breeze is catching more than the hair prickling on her arms, right now. That arm reaches out, again, lips begin to shape a word -


- and Mikoto's head snaps towards the sound, breath catching in her throat. That hand comes down to press against the concrete with its fellow, pushing up to allow one leg to pull up under her. It is the beginning of a spring away which is never completed, because there is not an enemy framed there, in the light of the entryway.

Sharp eyes widen with recognition and shame, and Mikoto's shoulders drop with her weight.

"Mai..." The word is despondent.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Mikoto has rarely gotten sick.

That hasn't stopped Mai from worrying about illness, over and over and again and again. She has terribly good practice at that. ...had terribly good practice, at least.

"Mikoto..." She's not disappointed. She sounds...relieved? Her shoulders slump, and she leans heavily on the door frame for a moment. It is terribly late, and it shows in her general posture...but after a moment, she straightens up. Starts walking forward.

On the concrete roof, her walking stick stands out all the more - particularly against the quiet of sock-clad feet. She approaches in silence, seemingly focused entirely on just making it forward without falling down. But maybe it's no trouble - to Mai's eyes, Mikoto looks as tired as she feels.

"...you weren't in bed." Just the slightest edge of admonition, the tiniest bit of worry. "I figured you needed to go do something, but...are you all right? It's...it's cold tonight, after all."

Somewhat awkwardly, closer to Mikoto and her meditations, Mai holds out the blanket.

It's one of the fluffy ones. One that visiting cats seem to lurk on most often.

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

Mai isn't disappointed. Mikoto is just disappointed in herself.

Weight lowers, lowers, and Mikoto is seated back against the concrete roof but it is not nearly as proper, now, not nearly as organised. One leg crooks up, the other curls around it. It's a much more natural look, for Mikoto Minagi, if not a slightly sad one as she rests her cheek on her knee.

"Yeah," she agrees, absently, to one of Mai's questions or perhaps to all of them. All but one, it becomes clear, as she adds with eyes lidded against sorrow: "... no."

Mai creeps closer; Mikoto doesn't move away; a blanket is offered. Mikoto lifts her chin, looking up at it, up at the girl offering it, and there are tears in her eyes. She swallows at the lump in her throat, and takes the blanket, pulling it quite fully over her head.

Mikoto lives in blanket town now.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Blanket Town has been summoned. Mai doesn't say anything immediately, just carefully moves to claim her own spot on the roof next to Mikoto. She didn't think to bring a blanket for herself, only a housecoat that she pulls tight as she lowers herself down.

Mai sits there for a little while, comfortable in the silence. It's easy to find that easy silence, and the two of them could probably stay in it for the whole night if they wanted. But there's a worry, there, lingering in the air. There has been, for quite a few days. And...maybe some fresh air will do some good.

"That's...fair. It's awful, not being able to do anything. To know there's something wrong, but..." There's a sigh from Housecoat Village. "...sometimes...never mind. I'm overthinking things."

Words she might have said, might have thought, about there being no way to fix things...but admitting that out loud is too hard, even here. There's silence for a while longer.

"...is there anything I can do to help? Help you get your 'edge' back, or...anything?"

Maybe Mai's a little despondent, too. Yet again, someone dear to her is hurting, and she...

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

Blanket Town (the entire thing; it's not a very large town) shifts in response to Mai's words, as if turning towards her. From within, there is a sniffle.

And then that blanket rises up, showing just a hint of shining golden eyes, before it's tossed over Mai's head and Mikoto scooches in to wrap herself around her waist. It's a terrible thing, when urban sprawl takes over little villages, isn't it?

At least there's no tourists around.

"Mai," Mikoto's voice wavers, trembles with her fear and her suffering. "Mai, everyone says I can help without fighting, and - and I can, right? But Mai, I gotta be able to fight too. Mai..."

She buries herself against Mai's side. "... feels like I'm being left behind again." And the words are so small, so sad, as if there's some clear meaning to them. She completely fails to explain.

So small and muffled, those words might be hard to hear, except that Mai Tokiha has surely gotten quite good at picking out Mikoto's scant words over the time she's known her. "Why aren't I strong enough, Mai?"

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

There's a yelp, briefly, as Housecoat Village is overrun by the sprawl. In short order, though, Mai has shifted her legs for comfort and started leaning back in to Mikoto.

It's cold out. That's why she's trembling, surely.

...it isn't. "You can-"

Mai cuts herself off at the protest, cuts herself off as the catlike girl buries herself in. A cat declawed might still be able to cuddle, able to comfort...but its mouse-catching days would be at an end, wouldn't they? Part of its purpose, gone forever, and maybe that cat would feel like Mikoto seems to, right now.

Mai's companion is a girl of few words, but there's plenty to read there. Maybe more than Mai's picked up on, but...at least some of the meaning got through, hopefully. She starts to give Mikoto a squeeze, to murmur that it'll be fine, but...Mikoto deserves more than that.

"...why can't I run quickly, Mikoto?" A question answered with a question - and a comforting squeeze, after all. "You've been hurt. After everything you've had to deal with in the last couple of weeks - that woman in space, the enemies from a few days ago - you need to recover. Injuries need time to heal."

She starts to turn, to glare at her walking stick a moment - but the Blanket Conquest means it's out of sight. Oh well.

The 'why' is hard to answer, though, even with that analogy - something doesn't sit right. Mai takes breath, to continue - but the words won't come. The answers won't come.

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

Mikoto's described herself as a hunter, now and then, ever since Mai got back from space. Usually when she's not thinking about what she's saying - which is, let's be fair, a grand majority of the time. It's not difficult to imagine her as a mighty predator, leaping five feet in the air to catch a passing sparrow.

It's not difficult, except when it is.

Why can't Mai run quickly?

Mikoto makes a frustrated noise, though it's quickly dismissed through Mai's squeeze. She listens, as Mai tells her she needs time to recover, time to get better. She sighs, warm breath on a cold night.

"When's it get better, Mai? It's supposed to get better. But I've been trying so hard," Mikoto's voice trembles, "and nothing's better, Mai!"

Mikoto curls in, clutching at Mai's side with a dissatisfied noise in the back of her throat. "... can't afford all this time." It's almost like Mikoto's learnt Mai's lessons on fiscal responsibility, except the context is all wrong. "I've gotta be ready. If something happens..."

Against her side, Mikoto shakes her head. "... no, something already happened to Mai. I already... got Mai hurt. I'm, sorry, Mai." And there is such guilt, there, as if she really does blame herself. "I can't, protect anyone like this..."

She's not just talking about being drained, is she.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Mai wiggles her foot experimentally, and cringes. Nope. Still no good.

There's trembling, beyond what the chill might suggest. There's time that can't be afforded, beyond financial constraints. There's guilt, beyond what being drained of magic might warrant.

There's words not being said, but those said are enough.

"I don't know." Normally, Mai might dance around the issue, change the subject - but she intruded, and she no longer has a right to escape. "I don't know enough about HiME, or about whoever attacked you, to say how long it takes to get better. I wish I did know, wish I had the answer..."

There's a long sigh, and Mai leans a little more. Holds Mikoto a little closer, huddled against the wind under the moonlight. "Don't blame yourself for my actions, Mikoto. I should have been more careful while coming to help...but I don't regret helping. I'm just sorry I wasn't there sooner."

The reassurance might help the guilt...but inwardly, Mai suspects it won't.

Mai stiffens, a moment, and hums a little to herself. The grip on Mikoto loosens a little, as she gets momentarily lost in thought. "...didn't that jerk Nagi say something about that? That the important thing for HiME was..." Abruptly, a yawn, because it is an absurd hour. "...protecting someone precious...I don't know. I'm overthinking things again."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Yuki Kajiura - Yasashisa no Guuwa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQHl54knVtc

Mai doesn't know. Mai admits she doesn't know. This, paradoxically, seems to make Mikoto relax. How can not having the answers she's asking for make her more comfortable?

The answer, of course, is simple: because Mai is honest, even though lies come so easily to her.

Mikoto appreciates that, and doesn't say a word about it, melting bonelessly into Mai's closeness. Even troubled, she is still such a simple creature. And here is the truth about obsidian: it is formed from lava, the flow of earth's blood. It is forged in the crucible of a volcano, born from intense heat which cools -

- such as in the chill of a mid-April night in Tokyo.

Mai is trembling. Mikoto is warm, too, though her battle-ready body cannot hold a candle to Mai's hearthfire, and she tucks herself around her as if to ward away the cold. For it must be cold, to make her tremble so.

And Mai has tried to teach Mikoto a lot, over the year and change she's known her. Has taught her more without meaning to at all. Mikoto cannot help but doubt, when Mai says she isn't responsible, because Mai has taught Mikoto much about what being responsible means. But... she doesn't regret it, even though she got hurt. She doesn't regret it...

"Mai," Mikoto murmurs, happily, nestled in against her. There must be something in what she's said which has reassured her.

There's a questioning noise from that bundled little pile of cat, as Mai stiffens. Her chin lifts, catlike yellow eyes blinking at the other girl. She echoes the word, wonder and consideration. "Protecting..." Protecting someone precious.

It's true, isn't it? It's not the same as being prepared to protect Yumi or Steven - or Setsuna, Kasagami, or Chitose - not even Eri, not like this. There is something her heart cries out for, beyond her promises, beyond her love for them, beyond what is hard and necessary.

There's a difference...

(... why is there a difference?)

Oh. It's because Mai is the most important girl in the world, and there is only one greater. That makes sense. It's perfectly reasonable for certain people to be more important.

Mikoto nods, firmly, with an affirmative grunt. "... right! I wanna protect Mai!" And maybe it's just her short attention span, which makes her call out the girl she's wrapped around. Maybe...

There's words not being said, but sometimes the implication is enough.

There's a hundred emotions flinting off of the jagged edges of her heart, but only one which catches alight and blazes so brightly, fierce enough to melt what is sharp and harsh. Only one which burns all that sorrow and regret away, so much ash on a funeral pyre. Because Mai is someone precious, and Mikoto is a HiME, and surely it's true. Surely she can protect her.

Mikoto straightens, a little, head canting under the blanket. "Mai, stay with me? I wanna try again."

Mai may not need her as a warrior, Mai may not need her to fight... but surely she wants her whole.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

It's hard to be honest to the people Mai cares about.

Mai's worn many masks, a veneer of politeness necessary for countless jobs, but generally she can be honest - or just blunt - to a total stranger. To someone she cares about...guilt and shame must be hidden, and her true feelings buried. But...there are times. Times to be honest, if only for a moment. Stolen moments on chilly rooftops, more often than not, when naught save the stars bear witness.

So here they are, in the newly expanded blanket town, mulling over power and guilt and precious things. A quiet moment - Mai does truly live for those peaceful moments, sometimes - where it's time to be calm and quiet.

It's chilly. Mai might be drifting off to sleep in spite of that. Mikoto rouses her with an abrupt call, and she sits up straight again. Looking down at the girl wrapped around her, a frown flickers across Mai's face - but the words that come to mind...

...but I'm not worth protecting...

...aren't welcome here. By the time Mikoto looks up, there's an affectionate warmth in Mai's expression.

When Mikoto asks that question...Mai hesitates, if only for a moment. But the cat must find her claws again, or at least try...and as much as Mai wishes that that edge wasn't necessary...

It's part of Mikoto. To deny that...

Finally, Mai nods. "Yeah. Take as long as you need to, Mikoto. I'll be right here."

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

Mikoto, guileless Mikoto, cannot imagine the difficulty of truth. It is lies which are difficult, lies which are complicated, lies which blow up in her face. But she knows it's not so easy, for the people around her. If she models honesty, perhaps they can learn, inch by inch. Like a quiet moment veiled under the stars.

She waits, watching Mai's face, for her answer. And when it's given, her face brightens, those big yellow eyes shining with love and appreciation. Because it means that Mai is willing to be here, even for this, even when she doesn't like fighting...

... she will defend her without a doubt. She'll make sure Mai doesn't have to fight.

Mikoto nods, with an affirmative noise, and wriggles out of Mai's grasp and out of the blanket. It's cold, out here, and it's so much more noticable after being beside Mai. It bites at exposed skin, draws warmth away and attention to the dark.

And here is the truth about darkness: in a vacuum, it is dim and easily missed, effaced by itself. It takes a bright light to throw shadows into sharp relief. It takes blazing fire to bring life to darkness again, because darkness is defined by its counterpart.

She does not sit in sieza, this time, and her voice is not uncertain and sad. It is word and it is motion, reaching out into the darkness of the night: "Miroku!"

Mercifully, perhaps, the violence of the summoning is muted. Miroku is, after all, right there laid against the concrete - it does not need to travel far, as it vibrates out of existence in its case for the second time this week. It does not swing through the sky, does not bite into the roof like cold biting skin; it disappears from the world, reappears in the next breath in Mikoto's outstretched hand.

And Miroku when it appears in her hands is not inert, is not dormant - it is dark and powerful and full of that energy which Mikoto never quite manages to recognise as malicious.

There is joy in her expression, as she swings it effortlessly up to rest on a shoulder. And for the first time since she dragged herself in after her dual defeat, Mikoto laughs, a relieved and purehearted thing. A smile crosses over her face, and though they've been smaller and less common over the past few days, this is broad and affectionate and entirely characteristic of what Mikoto ought to look like.

Because in this moment she does not look battered or beleaguered, though surely she must still be hurting. She does not look diminished or damaged. She is tiny; somehow, she towers.

"Mai," Mikoto calls, exuberance and affection and relief, "Mai, I'm okay!"

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi transforms into HiME Mikoto!

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

When it's dark and cold, even the smallest flame seems brilliant and warm.

As Mikoto rises from the blanket, Mai bunches it up in her lap. Her housecoat is fluffy, but it offers little protection against the elements - she can feel the bite of the wind in spite of her preparations. For the best, honestly. No point in her being comfortable where Mikoto is not.

It's different, though. Mai might have missed the first two nights of trying, but the glimpse of Mikoto's efforts spoke of desperate sorrowful pleading. This, though? This sings of confidence, of determination, of conviction.

Mikoto commands, and Miroku answers. Mai's gaze flickers back to the sword's now-empty case, back to where it blazes with ominous terrible power, and perhaps this is the first time she's truly seen Miroku's power so open.

But the sword doesn't have her attention for long. It's known, but it's incidental, like a housepet that doesn't clean up its own holes in the walls.

Mai's attention is on Mikoto, her eyes wide. Here she is, and for the first time in days - maybe for the first true time since that awful hospital stay - Mikoto seems to be filled with honest joy. It's infectious, and Mai finds herself beaming in response.

Maybe everything isn't perfect. Maybe Mai will have to wait to heal a little longer. Maybe some boundaries have been crossed that can't be taken back, in those ongoing battles in the shadows. Maybe this is just the advent of battles yet to come.

And yet, maybe right now those misgivings don't matter at all. Mai's smile brightens a little bit more, because right here, right now, Mikoto's all better. Her precious person is happy, and with a red star shining above, that's all that really matters.

"That's great, Mikoto - congratulations!" She starts to stand, reaching over for her walking stick to help find her footing. Upright again, it's a cautious few steps over, but her arms are open, just in case...

...and her steps are cautious to make sure her footing is secure, just in case any victory hug comes with a tackle.

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

It's different.

It's immediately, noticeably different.

In many ways. It's in Mikoto's mien, the way her realisation of just how precious Mai is gives her the power to reach out. It's in Miroku's presence, seen now without the heat and distraction of battle to call attention away from it. It's in her firm stance, the way she gestures with her free hand - her free hand, despite Miroku's weight - the way she laughs, the way she smiles.

And Mai congratulates her, and Mikoto's heart sings. "Mai!" Mikoto calls again, all happiness and relief, so unlike the tears she'd shed just minutes ago.

Seeing Mai rise, Mikoto swings Miroku down to rest against the ground. She's mindful enough not to tackle Mai, but Mikoto will certainly wrap that free arm around her in a joyous hug. (She is, of course, mindful to keep her sword away from Mai and her walking stick.)

"Mai," Mikoto smiles up at her, "Mai, I did it, it came back, Mai!" It's a strange statement, perhaps, when the sword never truly went anywhere - but Mikoto's not quite referring to that. "I'm not so foggy any more. I feel better."

Mikoto presses herself into her roommate, closing her eyes. "... thanks, Mai."