2018-06-15 - LOTUS DREAMS: Descent From Mount Homework

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Title: Descent From Mount Homework

Mai spends a morning hanging out with her friends, Eri and Mikoto, catching up over pastries. It's good to have friends who aren't your responsibility to take care of, right?


Mai Tokiha, Mikoto Minagi, Eri Shimanouchi


Midori-ya Bakery

OOC - IC Date:

2018-06-15 - April 25th, 2015

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> My Soul, Your Beats (AmaLee version) - Audio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CtJOGPM3rg - Lyrics http://leeandlie.blogspot.com/2018/04/my-soul-your-beats-english-lyrics.html

Morning at last, so I open my eyes - like any other day
A tie around my neck, and that's the last step...

It's a nice day for April. Sun's shining, no classes today for a lazy start, homework safely being utterly ignored...life is good. Mostly good. She'd been a little late for breakfast, and her sports nut of a brother had already eaten most of it...so after puttering around for a little while, she ducked out to get a few things done.

There's a grocery list in her pocket, handed to her on the way out the door.

It has remained in that pocket, unread, ever since leaving that door.

Not too far from home is a wonderful little bakery. Some fancy desserts, some fancy pastries that could generously be called 'sort of breakfast', and supposedly decent coffee... A decent place to stop, with plenty of nice little tables for meet-ups...and so after claiming a table with a decent view, she fired off a few texts.

It could be that her friends are too busy...but maybe they'll make it.

In the meantime, she's got a comfortable chair, a chocolate cornet, a glass of fruit punch, and her music player. She can just relax, hum along in practice for karaoke, and enjoy the table's view of some high school sports team out training not too far away.

It's a nice view.

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

Mikoto Minagi miraculously doesn't have any club duties today! Between History Club (she founded that one herself!) and Animal Care Club, she's a busy bee on any particular day of the week. That's fine, though - she's a remarkably responsible person, and that might be why she's such a good foil to the carefree Mai Tokiha.

Her cell-phone has a cute little cat decal on it, of course. And when she receives the text, she looks up from her homework - which she's naturally doing even though there are no classes today - and calls out to her roommate and friend, Eri Shimanouchi. "Hey, Eri! Mai's invited us out - you wanna take a break and go check out the bakery?"

Because, you know, homework's important, but seeing a good friend is important too.

She's already put-together - a perfect contrast to Eri, too. You'd think a future academic like her would get a head start on looking a little ratty or rattled, but despite her history studies, Mikoto is remarkably on top of everything. Her secret is the cat lying on her bed! It's not a stray, of course. This cat, called Miroku, is her beloved pet who she responsibly cares for every day of the week. "Hey, hey, don't worry, I'll help you out."

And when she steps into the bakery - jingle-jingle, goes the door - it's in a fashionable little blue dress, leggings to ward against the cold. Her purse is understated, but it compliments the spackled pattern of blue on blue. Is this what Ohtori elegance means? She gives the perfect impression of someone mature for her age, who can handle any situation with aplomb...

... including pastries. "How's it going, Mai?" Mikoto steps over to her with a cheerful wave and a grin which belies the fact that despite her fashionable appearance, she's still entirely friendly. She does, however, interrupt that tone to put on Ohtori snobbishness for a moment. "We've descended from Mount Homework to grace you with our -" - but she can't keep up the act, and she just ends up giggling as she takes a seat at the table. "- whatever! It's good to see you!"

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Right now!? I have a paper due next week- just let me write one more page?" She eyes Mikoto - "Paragraph? I don't want to lose my train of thought - you know how easily I get writer's block..." Chewing upon her lip, "You will? Okay let's go then-" She picks up her bookbag and takes a few steps, then realizes something, "Oh first I need to change into something that doesn't show everyone how I live!"

Right now that'd be an oversized T-shirt with FLOWER POWER written on it that almost reaches her knees and nothing else visible.


These days Eri Shimanouchi is always in one state when Mai Tokiha sees her. Occupied. Always moving a mile a minute. Either she had her nose pressed to the grindstone - a book. Or she had her ear to a phone. Which was fast becoming her main source of social life. Even as the Midori-ya bells ring and she steps inside - she stands there for a while instead waving Mikoto to go on ahead. She's got on a dark green dress and a muted dark yellow jacket. A coppery bracelet on one wrist. And a pair of dark tights that extend down into fashionable flats.

With a cell phone pressed to her ear, Eri was smiling from ear to ear as she finished up her conversation, "I've been having the best time on the little field trips they're sending me on. Guess who just got to see a coronary artery bypass graft procedure?"

The answer came in her ear and she tittered a little, "It's open heart surgery. Eh?"

Now she looked faintly exasperated - and disappointed, "You know exams are coming up - I can't take a night off right now." She makes this little motion that slid the bracelet up and down her wrist. Her voice dropping into a sotto voce, "After though? We can spend a whole weekend together. And we'll go out somewhere nice - no staying in with cup noodles again!" Her smile returned anew, bright as the sun, "You're so understanding. Anyhow - I've gotta catch up. The girls are waiting on me."

"Love you Yuuichi."

Clapping her flip phone closed, she still looks all bubbly as she reaches the table to hear the tail end of that. "What's this about Mount Homework now?" She snorts, putting a hand over her mouth at Mikoto's snobbish act, "Only briefly! I've gotta go straight back - but I'm glad that Mikoto-chan convinced me to take a short... teeny-tiney little break so we could come catch up."

Draping her bookbag over the back of the chair - she takes a seat before eyeing the music player, her eyes a little mirthful, "We're not taking you out of your 'zone' are we-? You karaoke fiend."

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

It's just your typical day
That's carried on in the wind

At the little jingle-jingle of the door, Mai turns to see what sort of person has entered the cafe now. People-watching is a nice way to spend the day, after all. Upon seeing just who it is walking through the door, though, her face brightens. "Mikoto! You managed to drag Eri into the sunlight, I see - great work!"

She stands to greet her friends, brushing at the hem of her blouse for a moment. It's nice, a little frilly, and goes well with her red skirt - but compared with the Ohtori elegance before her, she can't help but feel a little underdressed.

But that's just how her friends are, after all, and she wouldn't trade them for the world.

"A gracious descent indeed - great to see the both of you! And don't worry about it, I can practice my singing any time. Getting a hold of the two of you is a lot rarer - though I swear, one of these days I'll drag you there!" She's beaming, even though it's the same vow she's made a dozen times to the same effect. With a swipe of her thumb, the music player stops.

The cafe is nice, at least, and there's enough assortment of fruit pastries and chocolatey desserts to fit most palates. Once the trio is properly seated, Mai gestures out the window. "Well, the home front is the same as ever. Takumi's out training for that basketball game - still haven't decided if I'm rooting for or against him. I think the Cooking Club's gearing up for something, but most of the planning seems to be at Infinity so I'm kind of out of the loop there. Mostly just practising my bento work, for..." She glances to one side, then perks up.

"Oh, and Kags has been watching clips from those new fantasy movies - that bird does a thundering dragon's voice way too well, you wouldn't believe it!" Mai puffs herself up, trying a baritone for a moment. "I am fire... That kind of thing, anyway. So that's the highlights - how about you, what's new and exciting?"

A mile a minute, when she feels like it.

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

Occasionally, Mikoto still has to perform fashion checks for her poor, pre-med friend. It's a bit socially clueless to go outside in a tacky t-shirt! But her lessons are sticking, slowly but surely, and Mikoto looks downright /proud/ when Eri says she can't go out in her FLOWER POWER print.

They've come so far from when they first became roommates and Mikoto had to insist on taking Eri shopping to get some decent clothes. But that's fine, you know? One of them has to be the proper Ohtori student, and naturally, it's Mikoto.

"Aw, come on, we can afford like half an hour," Mikoto waves a hand at Eri's protests. "Your teachers couldn't love you any more than they already do, you're not gonna miss any marks taking a /little/ break." She gestures, with painted nails, towards the pastries. "I mean, come on, who doesn't love baked goods? A girl's gotta live a little. You're just lucky I'm looking out for you, Eri-chan~!"

Well, perhaps it's entirely predictable that Mikoto was tempted from her studies by pastries. She's always had a weakness for good food.

She grins, to Mai's suggestion of karaoke. "I'll fit it in one day, and drag Eri out too. My schedule's just so full, you know? Busy, busy," Mikoto waves a hand. Mai has seen her /diary,/ a truly intimidating thing full of all her obligations. It could crush a man - not that she ever would. Mikoto Minagi simply doesn't have it in her to harm a fly.

(Eri has plenty of embarrassing stories about her squealing about her medical tales, so squeamish is she about people being hurt.)

She listens with great interest to Mai's own report, snickering at her indecision over Takumi. She claps her hands together, fixing her with a Very Serious Look once the report is done. "Mai Tokiha, you /cannot/ let Cooking Club overshadow you like that. You're a member of the club, too! You deserve to be in the know just as much as anyone else! Give me their number - I'll give them a real piece of my mind. Don't they know it's /rude/ to just keep their members in the dark like that?"

Mikoto brushes the long sleeves of her dress down. "/Honestly./ Well, it's been busy as anything over here. My parents are naturally holding more socials, so I've got those to plan for... you're so lucky, Mai, Juuban students don't need to worry about that stuff at /all./ Gotta keep up with schoolwork, too, and my clubs... I'm taking the History Club out to see the Ryogoku soon, that'll be a fun weekend." She pauses, and adds, slyly: "And, you know, it just coincidentally also helps that I'm writing a paper on the area. Unlike Eri, I've gotta get in my tricks to make sure I'm still doing well at class!"

She taps at her temple, grinning. "... oh, and Miroku finally learned how to drop things! Your advice was /invaluable,/ Mai, it turns out treats really were the answer. I just had to figure out how to apply them right." She laughs, nervously, waving a hand. "You know, instead of just... giving them to him for everything..."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"I'm not that bad right-? Right?" A little anxiously she pulls out a hand mirror from her book bag, and checks her complexion. Finding it not so pale and pasty as to be a problem, she puts it away. Before waving them off, "And that's the kind of trap I can't listen to Mikoto-chan! It starts with me splurging on pastries a little more often - but then it escalates to drinking - then before you know it I'll be out partying every night-!"

She looks absolutely scandalized. "And you know the kind of things they do at those Ohtori parties!" She mouths a word, 'topless' like it was the worst thing ever, going a little red as she says it.

Eri waves to the server, and Eri politely orders, "I'll have a coffee - cream and sugar and a Petit Four please."

Apparently she's expecting to be staying up extra long tonight to make up for this outing.

Lacing her hands together - she listens in with a smile, "So he's really doing it huh? I say good for him." A beat, "Uh-huh." Before glancing to Mikoto, "Hey - isn't that overreacting a little?"

Then she rolls her eyes and snerks - "Oh /is/ he now?" She leans in - teasing, "Well at least we'll know if whoever you have your eye on gets past Kags that they're definitely the one for you Mai-chan."

She listens in on Mikoto but she's already heard all this, "Oh honestly Mikoto-chan. As if she can't understand your plight - poor little debutante you are." She teases lightly. "I'm so jealous that you're getting to go to Ryogoku though-!" What's she jealous about? Is it the Sumo? The history? "I hear Doai Memorial has a really good internal medicine department."

Before she finally snorts a little, "Thank goodness for you Mai-chan. I'm clueless about pets. It was just in time to get her to drop my flash drive - it would have been a disaster if I'd lost that." She leans forward to mouth - 'My term paper.'

Yawning seemingly out of nowhere, she puts a hand over her mouth, "Oh - excuse me. Not bored - promise. Just. Late nights." Before waving a hand back and forth, "Nothing really new - unless you two wanna hear the scoop on the kind of things I've seen on my pre-med rotations-"

Her eyes sparkle for a moment - before in realization of something she glances towards Mikoto, "Sorry - sorry - I did promise to tone it down - especially while we're eating." Leaning back - "Let's see. Dad got promoted again. He grumbled about that officer training not being worth the paycut but that didn't last long. Yuuichi won another tournament - everyone says he'll be captain next year. And I-"

She puts a hand towards her chest, then sighs with this notable slump, "Have not spent nearly as much time as I'd like with the gardening club. The sacrifices we make for higher education..." Straightening up she holds up a finger, eyes lighting up with the positive, "...still got my number one spot in my class though."

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

Back when they first met, Mai had gotten glimpses of Eri's pre-med 'outfits'. While it's wonderful that Mikoto's done such a great job excising them from reality, it's one less thing she can needle her friend about. Kind of a shame, really...but isn't this for the better?

Mai, predictably, rolls her eyes at how busy Mikoto is. She always does, after all, and it's amazing how much that girl does on her own. She does take a moment to nibble at her cornet before answering. "You seriously fill up that schedule of yours too quickly. It makes it really hard for me to drop surprise meetings on you, after all. On the both of you - don't you have at least another year before those exams, Eri? You've got to make sure you don't burn yourself out..." She takes a sip of her juice as the coffee arrives, and just...

...takes in her friends' news. Mikoto's offer of Polite Vengeance earns a bit of a chuckle, while the plans for the Ryogoku trip earn an impressed little whistle. "Clever, clever..."

Which advice was it - oh right. "You spoil Miroku way too much - remember that month you seemed to want to take the little bundle of claws everywhere?" She's grinning, teasing ever-so-slightly. "Glad the new plan worked out - for both your sakes. Just spare me the details of what you were writing in that medical paper of yours, Eri - and don't let the cat rule the room, Mikoto!"

She leans back, popping another piece of the cornet into her mouth while Eri finishes her news. The poor girl... "Congrats on the grades, and congrats to your Dad - mine's been putting in way too much overtime lately. I think Mom might have a word with him soon at this rate. And...dropping the 'kun', are you?" Her smirk could set the table on fire. "Well, I'm glad your guy is working out. You remember that guy who asked me out, met Kags, and ran off in terror? This princess's little dragon really doesn't need any more help scaring off suitors!"

Maybe that'll work out sometime. Maybe...Mai glances at Eri for a second, but thinks better. Some things a girl can talk about with her friends, and some things are better for a daughter to discuss with her mother.

"I'm kind of tempted to ask if there's room for another on that History Club trip, but from the sounds of things you're being a lot more studious than I would be fore a weekend." Mai waves off the idea after mulling it over. "As for the Cooking Club...eh, it might be nothing. Might just be another of those ridiculous chef challenges, those are at least fun enough to watch. If they don't say anything in a week then maybe I'll try making waves."

She might. She probably won't. She looks a little wistful at the thought - wondering what it'd be like to join in one of those contests...but she doesn't really apply herself enough to be on that level.

"...hey, Mikoto, Eri? Thanks for making the time for this, and sorry for the short notice. Just feels like it's been a while since we got to sit down properly like this..." ...wasn't it recently? It had to have been, so why does it feel...

...like this is a chance that's been gone for half a year?

I feel as if I've finally found
All of the missing days so dear to me
And all the memories
So can we pretend that it's not the end?
My story goes on...

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

Mikoto reddens, too, as Eri makes her wordless accusations about /Ohtori parties./ "H-hey, hang on! They're not like /that!/"

She clears her throat, regaining her composure as the server approaches. "I'll have a slice of sponge cake and a strawberry milkshake, thank you kindly." The ability to appropriately respond to strangers even under pressure is the sort of skill a socialite needs, after all.

"Nope," Mikoto crosses her hands in an x-shape as Eri accuses her of overreacting. "I'm reacting just the right amount!"

(She lets out a little sigh of relief, as Eri promises she /won't/ talk about her rotations.)

Mikoto places a hand to her head, theatrically, as Mai mentions her schedule, and puts on that posh accent again. "Can I help being so popular?" She laughs, shaking her head. "But seriously, I don't think I've made a single enemy at school. It's remarkable, really. I mean, you'd think at Ohtori there'd be /someone,/ but no. I suppose it helps that I haven't dated anyone." She waves off the thought. "Not that I haven't gotten offers, but, well, you know..."

She trails off, despite the fact that she's just dangled a juicy cut of meat into the shark tank of /girl gossip./

"And, hey, Miroku's not that bad! It's not his fault your flash drive looks like a cat toy. ... besides, he wouldn't have eaten it." Mikoto pauses, laughing, nervously. "Probably... maybe... okay, I hate to admit it, but he's not the sharpest knife in the block. So, like, I'll be straight with you. He might've eaten your flash drive. But it's fine! Mai's advice saved the day!"

Mikoto grins a crafty grin. "Oh yeah, she's dropped the 'kun.' And she calls him aaall the time. It's /super/ cute." She waves a hand. "Anyone who gets scared off by that adorable little bundle of feathers wouldn't cut it anyway. I mean, come on, who wouldn't find a bird who can trill like a whale cool? Get yourself someone who appreciates your freaky whale-dragon-bird, Mai. He's great."

She tilts her head, considering Mai's next statements. "You wanna come? Maybe we could even teach you something, Mai-chan! Then again," Mikoto chuckles, "/one/ of us has gotta stay carefree. I mean, who's gonna drag us down from Mount Homework if we get you into studying too? You're a vital part of this friendship ecosystem, Mai! So don't worry about apologising, alright? Let's be real, you're doing us a big favour." She nods, firmly, totally sure of Mai's absolute necessity.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Ohhhh - And how would /you/ know?" Eri gives her a look of accusation. As if her roommate were some kind of wild party animal for even /knowing/ about them. "Well yeah! But cram school pre-boards are coming up - and they're the best indicator of how I'll do on the real thing!" How many pre-test pre-tests does this girl take!?" As the coffee arrives - she stirs it up with a tiny spoon, before taking a sip. Then with a fork - slices off a small hunk of the petit four and into her mouth. Putting a hand to her cheek in wonder as she chews- "Ah... bliss..." She then gives it a dour look, "And that's why these places are such study traps... I'd never get anything done with one of these within reaching distance."

Eri gives a long-suffering sigh of her own, "Not so bad? Mikoto-chan. Miroku-kun is like a demon king ruling over our dorm room with his noisy little mews and jealous demand for pets. The only time I can bear to put my foot down is when he tries to lay on my laptop for warmth." There's a gleam in her eye. "I can't let anyone get away with that."

As she takes another sip of her coffee, she almost spits it out at Mai's statement, suddenly flustered, "Mikoto! You make me sound so needy - and I-I mean it's a natural step in any relationship! That kind of familiarity..." She gets this little smile, "Yeah. Things are working out. I was worried it was so superficial at first - but Mikoto-chan pointed out that his eyes are actually up here-" She gestures to her eyes, "-most of the time. I mean it's not a bad thing to want to be checked out sometimes."

She snerks again, "Oh yeah I remember that guy. He was ridiculous - what'd he pose on top of again? A prize bull - right - while he had his servant fan flower petals at him? I guess Kags took one look at his perfectly coiffed 'plumage' and decided he was a rival for Mai-chan's heart." She laughs, "And he'd be right too - any guy who can't accept the place of Kags in your life doesn't deserve you." She says in total agreement as she shares a look with Mikoto.

At Mai's statement that it feels like it's been a while. "It hasn't been that long right-" Eri gives Mikoto a desperate look for answers, "-right? Oh no... it's happening." She rubs her hands under her glasses, "My youth. My precious youth. Soon enough people will be calling me the Obaa-san of nerd peak."

But after that moment of melodrama she holds up a hand, "But it'll be /Doctor/ Obaa-san to them!" She laughs and waves dismissively, "Yeah seriously Mai-chan. I mean I grouse about it - but I couldn't be more happy about getting an excuse to just unwind a little."

She offers her this smile, "I bet we'll be doing this forever. The three of us meeting at these cafes for the rest of our lives - enjoying each other's company..." She slices off a bit more petit four, "... that'd be truly wonderful - don't you both think?"

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> My Soul, Your Beats (AmaLee cover) - still https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CtJOGPM3rg

Mai didn't have much input on the ~Ohtori parties~, never having gotten to see anything befitting the rumours - at least, not until Mikoto frantically protesting and Eri's accusations. "I'm sure the both of you would know better than me~" She dips a piece of cornet in the filling, and pops it into her mouth like a piece of popcorn. "Please educate this lowly Juuban student with your noble wisdom of surreptitious parties."

I think I hear it calling me
I think I feel it waiting to be heard
But can I answer? I feel my soul is trembling

Even though they're on a different level, it seems...in her heart, in her soul, Mai Tokiha knows that these two are her friends.

She laughs at Mikoto's overblown posh accent, mockingly kowtowing in response. "Indeed not, Lady Minagi! Truly, your grace and beauty know no bounds, as evidenced by your evidently countless suitors!" Mai's grinning. She caught that bit of girl gossip. There's a sharp glint in her eyes.

Fortunately, there's a feline to momentarily divert her from the topic. Cats are cute...though if asked, Mai would usually say she thought her bird was cuter. Still, it's fun to hear the tales of Miroku. "Demon king, you say? I'm impressed, in a way - I know he's a lovely cat, Mikoto, but he's about as sharp as a golf club. I'll see if I can't find a few more tips for managing the fluffball, and keeping Eri's hard work safe."

...and as easy a topic as Mikoto's love life might be, Eri's really is the low-hanging fruit. "All the time, eh? And he's learned to keep his eyes up?" Mai lets out a whistle. "Certainly does sound like things are getting serious~ I'll have to start needling Mikoto to save whatever date you wind up picking." She winks at her socialite friend.

And then rolls her eyes at the memory of that one...failed date. "Not much of a rival with that attitude. I mean - I think I'd prefer someone who liked more than my looks, but a guy who only cares about his own looks is going a bit too far. I mean - " She gestures to herself, albeit with an overblown grin. "Seriously? Yeah, better luck with someone not scared of my dragon-whale-bird who's quoting Cumberbatch."

Today was feeling a little aimless...and this kind of banter is exactly what Mai needed. This kind of companionship.

I finally found my missing piece
Lost in these days that mean the world to me
The finish line I dream

There's a warmth in Mai's heart when Mikoto expresses her gratitude, one that finds its way to her face as Eri chimes in. For a moment, all she can do is look down, bury her face behind one hand for a moment, before finally looking at the two of them. Maybe she's a little carefree and aimless, but for times like this?

...it's worth it.

She finally uncovers her face. "Well, I'll do my best to keep dragging Lady Minagi and Doctor Shimanouchi off of Mount Responsibility in future. If you're sure...I'd love that too. The three of us, just meeting up like this..." One finger traces a circle on the table, and she closes her eyes for a moment. Maybe they're not as close as siblings, but...she has her friends, and that's what matters.

"Yeah. Forever."

So I wish them well
And wave them farewell
Till' we meet again