2018-07-31 - A Song For A Song

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Title: A Song For A Song

Ye-jin summons Mai and Mikoto to karaoke, for a night of fun and entertainment. Surely there's no ulterior motives here..?


Ye-jin Song, Mikoto Minagi, Mai Tokiha


Shitamachi Low City - Pino Karaoke Lounge

OOC - IC Date:

2018-07-31 - 2015-05-02

.**************************** Shitamachi Low City *****************************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Pino Karaoke Lounge +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 A motley half-rainbow of neon lights spell out Pino KARAOKE on the sign
 above the door, emblazoned over a jaunty, stylized palm tree with a pink
 background. The interior of the lounge has only a bit more restraint, with
 cool pink walls and neon lights decorating the counter, where customers can
 rent private booths of varying sizes, from two-person rooms for serenades to
 large party rooms. The booths are mostly soundproof, for obvious reasons,
 but there's still a constant hum of noise from them at peak hours, along
 with occasional bursts of music, laughter, and (often untalented) singing
 when someone opens a booth door.

 Inside the booths, rich red seating (rich in color, not in material) and low
 grey coffee tables hold the audience and their food respectively. Pino is a
 bit on the expensive end for its hourly rates, but because of it, the booths
 are unusually spacious, and even the two-person booths have a "stage" about
 the size of a hotel shower, consisting of a grey platform raised a few
 inches from the ground, equipped with a microphone and a small screen. The
 party booths expand the stage a bit, permitting more simultaneous singers,
 and add a feature only found in Pino: a corner with a hospital-style green
 curtain that can be used to change into any number of cheap novelty

 A small electronic remote can be used to enter the code for one's desired
 song while listening to others sing, and the request will be queued in order
 (or cancelled, if need be). Karaoke almost always involves food and drinks,
 and like most karaoke lounges, Pino's cuisine is unusually Western, and
 includes pizza, french fries, burgers, beer, and, most rare of all, an open
 soda fountain with free refills.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

It's been several weeks since Ye-jin floated the prospect of a night out to Mikoto, with not much word since then. The world has been a busy place, and presumably she has been a busy person within it.

But, one evening after school, Mai Tokiha's phone gets a call. Ye-jin can't call Mikoto directly after all, since she has no actual phone. But Mai is good enough, and part of the reason that Ohtori's Vice-President called in the first place. Her message is short and sweet, and amounts to thus: Karaoke!!!

And, some time later, it is time to enact those plans. The meeting place is Pino Karaoke Lounge, the time early in the evening. Early enough to get a good booth-or, specifically, the best and biggest booth. It's a room designed to fit a dozen singers has been claimed for just the three, already well stocked with food and drink by the time Ye-jin's guests arrive. There's probably no need for that many appetizers, tiny cakes, and sparkly drinks, but they make the room look less empty. They are also a thing that can be bought, and thus must be.

Ye-jin herself awaits inside, dressed appropriately for a night on the town. She wears a black and crimson striped dress, her hair pulled back in a bun held by a dark ribbon. Jewelry too, favoring plenty of golden things when she's not hampered by terrible things like school dress codes.


She's already gotten started by the time her guests arrive.




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

The world must be busy even for people who aren't magical...!

After all, School Council's tough. There's so many parties. And getting involved in everyone's business. And making everything complicated. And probably they need an hour just to put those weird suits on. Yup, it's gotta be hard to be School Council.

Besides, Mikoto is an easy-going kind of girl. She doesn't worry too much about schedules, or time constraints. Things happen when they happen. So why worry about Ye-jin not calling? She'll call when she's ready.

And then she does, and Mikoto chirps a cheerful line about Ye-jin being a good person, and she likes karaoke too, so let's do karaoke, Mai!! She might remember to mention that Ye-jin's a classmate. Eventually. Maybe it's nice to know that Mikoto's managed to make friends with some of her classmates - she's always been a bit awkward and standoffish around people she hasn't warmed up to. Though, why she's warmed up to the Vice-President of the Student Council... why does Mikoto keep making friends with that crowd?! A question for the ages.

A certain amount of fancy clothes are considered necessities to have, in a place like Ohtori. Unfortunately, her ballgown was trashed back then, so... Mikoto's in a ruffly white top, and a yellow pleated skirt which is just long enough to start raising certain questions about whether perhaps she's a member of a motorcycle gang. (Natsuki thought it was hilarious.) There's no jewellery about her wrists, though there's a red cord just visible around her neckline, tucked under her blouse.

Mikoto barrels forward as soon as they figure out which booth Ye-jin has secured for them, a big grin on her face. It only widens as they find the den of iniquity, and all of its snacks. There are so many snacks. And Ye-jin! Ye-jin is not a snack. Ye-jin is, however, glittery like a chocolate wrapper with all of the gold on her.

Ye-jin is also already singing, and Mikoto brightens to hear it, slipping into the booth to watch her. Whether some of those cakes disappear while she's singing, well, Mikoto can't be held responsible for that. Those cakes could have been eaten by anyone. What? Her mouth's full? Stop focusing on her, Ye-jin is on stage!

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

Things had been settling down, errands complete, and Mai had just pulled out a bandana to tie around her hair for a bit of house-cleaning. Of course that's when her phone rang, with an unknown number and almost but not quite unknown name. Why in the world would the student council vice president be calling?

The answer was that she was calling Mikoto, which itself wound up leading to a pointed couple of questions to Mikoto about having to get her a replacement phone.

...budget permitting.

Mai nearly refused the invitation out of sheer spite, because chores to do and because Student Council....but on the other hand, the invitation was to karaoke. That, more than any pleading from Mikoto, tipped the scales rather quickly.

Getting to the karaoke lounge was straightforward. This route is one Mai knows well. Upon arrival, hesitation strikes just long enough that Mikoto is able to blow past her, first to reach the lounge; at least two cakes are casualties by the time Mai pokes her head into the room, sincerely hoping it's the right one.

If not for just who is involved, She's just hesitant enough that Mikoto is able to blow past her on arrival, and it's a few moments before Mai pokes her head into the room. She's dressed up a little bit past purely casual; a slightly loose-fitting sleeveless pale copper-coloured top, a pale green knee-length skirt, and just a glint of gold from a feather-shaped hairpin.

It looks like the right place, and even an unfamiliar face can't dispel the glint of anticipation from her eyes; with a grin and a wave, she slips in to take a seat, steal a chip or two from the snack table, and enjoy the song.

How long since the last time she got a karaoke night?...

...best not to think about it.

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Ye-jin continues on for several minutes more about either how she's a rose, or a kiss, or something about a grave, it really depends on how well one paid attention in English class. There are panoramic views of lighthouses, moons, and eagles in flight that play across the screen in the background, adding an extra element of theatre to the performance. Ye-jin's pronunciation of the lyrics displayed is pretty passable on the whole, as is her singing. She won't be landing an idol contract anytime soon, but at least the next few hours won't be terrible.

Its only once she's finished that she steps off the stage and acknowledges her guests. Her lack of surprise indicates she probably noticed their arrival beforehand, and she makes polite waves between the two. "Oh, you made it." She doesn't sound surprised about that either. To the girl she's less familiar with, she says: "You must be Tokiha-san. Mikoto's told me all about you."

She extends the microphone in her hand toward Mai, smiling brightly. The remote is placed nearby as well, signifying she's free to take over. In the meantime, Ye-jin turns to regard Mikoto and the devastation of the cakes. "It's been a long time, Mikoto. Have you been well?" She assumes yes, considering this rare occasion of a visibly undamaged Mikoto.

A glass is picked up while she waits for an answer, one long sip taken before the girl folds her hands daintly on the table.

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

They really should get Mikoto a new phone at some point.

But phones are such a pain, and Mikoto keeps losing them anyway...

Mikoto, for some strange reason, seems to like an awful lot of people on the Student Council. Like Takeo, and Yukino, and Ye-jin, and Kasagami and Shizuru-- well, wait, no, those two don't count any more, do they? Politics are so hard to keep up with. Maybe that's why Mikoto's made friends so easily: she just doesn't care about politics at all.

She is very good at barging forward without a care in the world, and so she does. Into the booth, stealing some cakes, and listening to Ye-jin, who Mikoto thinks is a very good singer! Even if she doesn't understand half of what she's saying, and the rest she's not sure about either. She's not very good at English class. Regardless of that, she cheers when she's done! "Ye-jin was great!" Mikoto grins, with her usual enthusiasm.

It's strange, but she is looking a lot better than she had been, recently. Perhaps she had a very good doctor.

"Yup!" She chirps, on the topic of Mai. As the microphone is extended, Mikoto says: "Mai's good singer, too!" No matter how long it's been since karaoke last happened, Mikoto remembers Mai's enthusiasm about the topic. She has full confidence in her! And does not realise in the slightest that pointing it out might be embarrassing.

In Mikoto's defence, the cakes have not yet been totally decimated. Of course, this is mostly because Ye-jin has provided a considerable amount of snacks. Mikoto smiles to Ye-jin as she turns to her, ever-sunny, and nods. Once again: "Yup!"

Certainly there are things which haven't been well, but Mikoto couldn't explain any of them to someone like Ye-jin, who doesn't have any of the context. And she's gotten to spend the day with Mai, and now she's getting to go out with her friend Ye-jin. That makes today a very good day, so she has, indeed, been well.

She tilts her head as she considers Ye-jin, in those moments as Mai sets up her music. "What about Ye-jin? Busy?" She must have been.

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

In the karaoke parlour, many sins are forgiven. Flubbing lyrics, tripping during dances, being off-key - perfection is left at the door, and the only goal is to have fun with the music. Ye-jin's singing has enough enthusiasm to meet with Mai's approval, and there's a brief round of applause as the song wraps up.

"Thank you for having us!" Mai bows, briefly, as Ye-jin steps down. "That's right, Mai Tokiha. And you would be our new vice-president, right? I confess I probably don't know as much..."

It's a flash of guilt, but it doesn't last in the face of the bright smile and the flagrant offer. Beaming in return, Mai immediately sets to flipping through the songbook, cursing as a few tracks she had in mind seem to have been dropped since her last visit...

She looks up, briefly, finger marking a spot on the page. "I'm not that good, Mikoto...just enthusiastic." She grins, takes a sip of water, and keys in a number before she can hesitate much longer.

...for all that it's been perhaps a minute since she was handed the microphone.

"All right - I'll go ahead, don't mind me!" She steps up to the stage as the instrumentals start up, twirling the microphone in her hand with just a little less practice than she might have had. A brief glance to the fellow singer she doesn't know, a brief worry about embarrassing herself...but it's been a good day, and so she beams as the song starts with an upbeat melody.

"I tied a ribbon in my hair, and tried my best to smile -"

"How I believed that I could change who I was with a new style..."

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Ye-jin offers a bright smile in return to Mikoto's question, tapping a finger to her chin as she considers just how busy she might have been. Student Council does take up a bit of her time, but she avoids that whenever she can. Mostly just by arbitrarily agreeing or disagreeing to any case brought before her. It saves time to not think about pointless things.

"Student Council is very hard work." Ye-jin assures. "I'm very busy. But I can make time for fun, sometimes." A somber nod follows this. She can make time for fun. Or, more accurately, keeping track of HiME.

Ye-jin does find a tiny cake to pick at in the meantime, slicing off tiny bits between sips from her drink. She turns her attention toward the stage once Mai starts her tune, giving the other girl an encouraging 'ok' sign with her thumbs and forefingers.

And when she finishes, Ye-jin politely applauds. "Good job, Mai-san." She approves, noting, "I guess Mikoto was right after all. Do you practice a lot? You must come here all the time."

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

Well, it's true that Mikoto talks about Mai more than anyone else, for some reason.

"Good!" She grins, to Ye-jin's assessment of her timekeeping capabilities. "Gotta take breaks!" It might sound like a strange statement, for someone who disappeared right after class in the days leading up to Golden Week ever since she mysteriously got better, and who has....

... for anyone who might be keeping tabs on any errant HiME...

... been out scouring the city for most of the holidays, too.

She doesn't comment on the hypocricy, though. Perhaps she considers it obvious that she's including herself in the statement, too. After all, she's here now.

And then it's time for Mai to sing, and Mikoto turns to her, clapping her hands together. "Mai! Maiii!" She calls out, joyful. She watches with rapt attention, and applauds mightily when she's finished her number. "Mai's so good at singing!"

She's tried to get Mai out for karaoke before. But, well... it's hard to get Mai to do things Mai likes... and Mikoto's been distracted at points... but they're here now!

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

Mai barely touched the snacks before rushing to the stage, pouncing on the chance to break free and sing. Discounting certain dream illusions, it feels like it's been forever...but here she is, and here the song is. A few notes were off, the tempo has a few trip-ups from non-familiarity, but Mai Tokiha is having fun with every line.

There's applause, and Mai takes a cheerful bow. She smiles, to answer Ye-jin's question - and then for a moment, seems to freeze up. Karaoke all the time is something she hasn't done since...

"...I practice at home, a bit, but honestly I don't get out as often as I'd like. Life just gets...busy." A statement that someone tracking the HiME could likely back up - in the last few months, Mai seems to have gone through a lot of short-term after-school jobs...

She gives Mikoto a smile as she makes her way to her seat, but she's a little calmer about flipping through the book when she gets there. "If either of you want to try something, go ahead - I might need a minute or two to make up my mind for the next one!"

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"I try to take breaks." Ye-jin agrees. It's easier to do that with school responsibilities, strangely enough. She smiles again, making motion to the microphone for Mikoto. "You can sing, right Mikoto?" It seems like a strange question, but it's Mikoto, so she's not really sure.

Either way, she gives her classmate some peace to choose her song, turning to Mai again. "Do you have a lot of school work to worry about? I bet it's hard, in your last year." Another sip and her glass is empty. Thankfully, there are many more left.

"You're not in any clubs, are you? Mikoto told me you like to cook. You didn't get an invitation to the new cooking program, did you? There's a very famous cheff-he taught us how to make pancakes. My team made the best."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phtm7LabKno Yuki Kajiura - Canta Per Me (Japanese vers.)

Mikoto brightens, springing to her feet at Ye-jin's question. "Yup!" If Mai needs time to pick her next song, Mikoto will sing in her stead! Off she goes, giving Mai and Ye-jin a moment as she goes on her own personal karaoke quest.

'Quest', in the end, is the right word for it. It takes her a moment to figure out the controls, even watching Mai do it so many times. Difficult as it may be to believe - there were no karaoke machines on the mountain. But she manages, because they're not designed to be difficult to understand, at all.

There's a moment as she considers the list of songs. She's not familiar with all the classics - again, there were no radios on the mountain - but she's heard enough popular songs in her time here that she recognises at least some of the tracks. After a moment, she nods, to herself, and plugs in a number.

She doesn't seem terribly scared, as a striking instrumental backing starts up. After all, she's amongst friends. Why should she be embarrassed?

"I sing farewell with a sweet voice."

They're careful words, and Mikoto bobs up and down to the music as she follows the kanji on the screen, a finger following them through the air.

"On a moonlight night,"

But though she's concentrating very hard on what she's doing, she's not a bad singer at all. She brings an energy to her performance which is difficult to deny, even if she trips over the words sometimes.

"I draw closer to your face..."

Energy, and - a strange amount of passion, as if there's something personal about the lyrics on the screen.

After all, singing should come from the heart.

She struggles with the Italian lyrics at the end, but she makes a valiant effort, and once she's done she bounds back down to the booth, all smiles.

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

Mikoto is quick to volunteer, and so Mai is left with a little more time to decide. She shifts to one side so that Mikoto can get at the song book, winding up a little closer to Ye-jin in the process. She picks out a drink as the question hangs in the air, thinking it over for a minute.

"There's...a fair bit of work left. Some uncertainty about university plans that's making it hard to get prepared - my brother has it a little easier there for once, he's just got to worry about making it into high school." Mai pops the lid of her bottle, taking a sip while trying to judge the other girl's reaction.. "Admittedly I'm trying not to think about next year too much. As for clubs - sorry, I'm a solid member of the 'Go To Work' club."

There's a faint grin, there, something tinged with exasperation. "No cooking club for me - and after the fiasco that was the cake-baking contest, I figure I might have been skipped for an invite this time around. Congratulations, though! I kind of wish I could spare the time to study cooking more, but..."

The violins of Mikoto's chosen song kick in sharply, and Mai quiets down to give her companion room to sing. It might not be a bouncing spectacle, but there's a powerful intensity to Mikoto's singing - one Mai finds hard to ignore. The lyrics are powerful, the singing is earnest, and behind it all there's something indescribable.

Whatever drove that song, it's worthy of applause - and loud cheering from Mai, rather heedless of how close she is to Ye-jin.

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Oh, you have a brother? That's nice." Ye-jin considers this for a moment, digesting the rest of what Mai has to say. At the mention of work she says: "That's too bad." It's more of a cursory apology that Mai has to work, since Ye-jin has no relatable experience there. It sounds very boring though, so she doesn't pursue that avenue of conversation.

"I can get you an invite to the class, if you want one. Just let me know." Another smile, an Ye-jin carves herself another tiny slice of cake.

Her attention turns out to Mikoto when she starts to properly sing, an her head tilts quizzically. Even though Mikoto said she could, Ye-jin might not have really believed she was capable of a proper ballad. She listens intent, until the girl finishes.

And then there's a brief wince when Mai starts cheering so loud and so close, Ye-jin's eyes slanting briefly into agitated lines. She fixes that pretty quickly though, settling for pressing a finger over the ear closest to Mai and reapplying her toothy smile soon after.

"You really can sing, Mikoto." This must be a sign of approval. And as Mikoto takes her seat again, Ye-jin seems to decide that it's her turn, because she's commandeering the microphone and song menu. "O-kay! Now one together." It's actually everyone's turn. She's at least kind enough to pick a song in Japanese this time.

And so the night will go on. More snacks are brought if needed, and more singing is done. Ye-jin is, all in all, a surprisingly pleasant hostess. Even if she does bogart the mic from time to time, but such is the price of free karaoke.