2018-11-09 - Meet The Yagamis 2

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Meet The Yagamis 2

The visit to the Yagami family turns serious.


Lera Camry, Fate Testarossa, Signum Yagami, Vita Yagami, Setsuna Higashi, Hayate Yagami, Shamal Yagami, Zafira Yagami, Reinforce

GM: Hotaru Tomoe


Yamanote High City

OOC - IC Date:

11/9/2018 - 05-23-15


<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.


Lera trails off, slightly, as she presses her button -- and Donkey Kong floors it. Then, however, a wave of dust appears. At first, it seems Lera doesn't know how to play. This would not be wrong, exactly, except...

"...I like Donkey Kong because..."

The wave of dust is because Donkey Kong has done a U-turn. The split screen for her shifts, to show the racers coming at one Mr. Kong. A floating turtle on a cloud lowers, a sign on a fishing pole declaring: "WRONG WAY"


Lera Camry is not a gamer. She is a roleplayer.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Fate's gets the start boost performed correctly and by all indications seems to take an early lead. "I had no idea he was so disgruntled..." She says with all sincerity at Lera's statement.

However she messes up trying to take an alternate route and gets thrown off the track...


Right into a bull. "Ah! I'm so sorry Kobe." Fate declares. Apparently she's named the cow.

It takes her a moment to get back into the race.


Later on in the track she's neck and neck with Setsuna Higashi. Peach and Rosalina - in an ultimate Princess showdown.

"Come on..." Fate seems to lean forward, as she tries to steadily attempt to earn an advantage, but she can't quite get ahead of her. "... come on..." Instead the two bumping into each other again and again...

Falling back Fate picks up an item and launches a shell, "Got y-" - just as Setsuna throws a banana peel on the track.

... and neither event matters because that's the moment that Lera as Donkey Kong going the wrong way plows through them both.

Followed by every racer behind them continually battering them again and again. Fate seems dazed for a moment at these turn of events before looking sideways to check on something with Lera. "... It was the banana wasn't it?"

<Pose Tracker> Signum Yagami [None] has posed.

Lera has a problem which is that Signum, as established, is playing Mario Mario, the hero of this particular ape-and-mushroom show; and what is more, she is in a house being permeated with the intoxicating scent of Italian cuisine. Not merely the comfy shadow that is often purveyed in Japan, but the real, deep, profound thing.



"Wrong way," Signum says, with obscure alarm. Despite this, she starts braking - perhaps concerned about some failure mode in the game.

But then any transient lead she might have gained evaporates. Signum, cautiously, resumes acceleration as she sees Fate do so. "... Was it the banana?" Signum asks Lera.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"It was always the banana," Lera says gravely.

<Pose Tracker> Vita Yagami [None] has posed.

Hammer gremlins can only act according to their nature. Vita may have muffed that start, but Mighty Bowser Jr. is off to the races!

He finishes dead last of the PCs because Vita has forgotten how to fight humans. "Hnng! I see! Right, of course!" she says, fingers gripping the controller tightly as what is either murderous intent or competitive spirit ignites in her eyes. "Yes....I had forgotten...the power of a real player....!!"

Vita likes speed, but she likes power more, and she changes her character almost every time she gets a chance, swinging between mediumweights (she's better at them, to be honest) and heavyweights. Though weirdly when it comes to heavies, she mostly ends up playing Morton, as though Bowser were somehow...too precious.

It turns out her game plan with Morton consists of doing nothing but firing shells and crowing with laughter. And accelerating ridiculously of course.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna, as it turns out, is super competitive. She gets kind of... intense. There is only one thing that breaks up Setsuna's clear win--

...And that's Lera. Lera comments on why she likes Donkey Kong and Setsuna starts laughing. She brings a palm up to her face. The first time Lera does this, in fact, Peach starts running into a wall because Setsuna can't actually focus enough to keep controlling her.

...It is not the last time it happens.


"What does a banana have to do with anything?" Setsuna asks, frowning as their karts get battered. "Leraaaaaa..." Sigh. She laughs despite herself after a few moments.


Peach fires a red shell right for Morton because she can.


Along the high-flying track, they take a ramp--and Peach saaaails through the air... And misses the item box. "Oh--!"


"...But why does money make your kart go faster?" Setsuna wonders aloud mid-race.


"Ah--!" Lightning bolt. "Now everyone is super cute!" she declares, pleased. .......and promptly runs over mini-Donkey Kong. Sorry Lera.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Hayate spends at least as much time looking at other peoples' split-screens as her own. Not to get one up on them; she's just motoring her mouth like a soccer commentator, not from Italy, but from Brazil. All very complimentary stuff, a high-speed cheerleader. (Reinforce, beneath and beside her, is completely silent but not forboding. Just... intense.)

And every time someone ends the race in first place, Hayate shouts:


Then her wrist goes BEEEP and she glances down at it.

"Ahh, dinner is almost ready! Reinforce, please?"

In short order she is lifted into her chair and the two of them, plus Shamal, vanish into the kitchen. There's some rustling -- then Shamal emerges again to summon the group with a bow.

"Please join us for dinner," she tries, a little too formally but with a broad, proud smile.

Dinner is lasagna, of course, bubbling golden above the baking dish. But it's also garlic bread and a beautiful salad and an assortment of drink options, none of which are soda. Various juices, milks and waters are on the table though.

Hayate's chair has been rolled to the head of the table, and Reinforce sits at the opposite end. There are numerous chairs in between, and the heavy hardwood strains with the weight of all the food on it.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"And so, Donkey Kong found peace..."

Lera nods her head, proudly. Then, she sets her controller down. She stands up -- beaming at Hayate and looking, guilelessly but a little guiltily, eager. She likes lasagna. She turns on a heel, and then she sits down -- after Hayate has been rolled up to the table. (It seems polite.)

She plops down, which makes the chair groan a little under that much weight applied that suddenly. She is sitting next to Setsuna on one side; on the other, she sits next to Vita. She flashes a warm smile.

Then, she turns her attention on Vita.

Her smile turns, slowly, into a wolfish grin; her eyelids half-lower. "Hey--" She teases, the way she does when her and Vita are horsing around. "Hey, Gremlin. Bet I can eat more than you, y'know?"

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Setsuna asks why money makes the Karts go faster. Fate struggles to explain the game mechanic, "Because..."

One can imagine calculus equations drifting by her head before she comes to a conclusion that came from her primer on Modern Earth she studied even before living here and experiencing it herself.

"... Capitalism?"


Lightning strikes her cart. "It does but... Arisa always hates it when that happens..."

Before she leans over and confides with Vita and Hayate with a murmur, "... she likes to be tall."

The three of them can relate perhaps.


Every time Hayate shouts GOOOOOALLLLL. Fate has to bite down on her lip and smother a giggle - but after a while she doesn't even bother trying to hide it. She's just having fun.

Putting down her controller, Fate heads for the kitchen, and takes off her thin jacket to drape it over the back of her chair. "It smells delicious Hayate." There's a slight pause as she seats herself down and asks Hayate. "Do you do most of the cooking here-?"

Her eyes trail over Shamal knowing she's helped out, then Signum and Vita. Not really knowing if that pair can cook too.

Either way, she starts with the salad without complaint. Though she's eyeing the lasagna with a look hungrier than a cat on Monday.

Stopping between bites she looks at Lera. "Really? Now?" At first perhaps it's a question of propriety while they're guests at Hayate's table, but then she murmurs in wonder, "How are you more competitive with eating dinner than Mario Kart?"

<Pose Tracker> Vita Yagami [None] has posed.

'She likes to be tall.' Vita nods, gravely. These words, she knows.

Vita perks up at the sound of the meal alarm. She looks just a touch disappointed, but quickly brightens up as people start moving over to the table. "Yuh-huh!" Vita chimes in response to Fate's question. "I help whenever something needs smashin'!" she declares with a smile.

It's possible the first time this came up she had to be stopped from using Graf Eisen to pulverize the entire countertop.

She settles into her seat - she goes there quickly and automatically, the way familiar seating at the family table gets. She has knife and fork in hand already, smiling wide with eager excitement. Then....

....a challenge....!?!? She perks up, her eyes furrowing to turn her grin into a more challenging one. "You're gonna challenge me in my own house!?" she boasts, puffing up. "I won't lose!"

<Pose Tracker> Signum Yagami [None] has posed.

Signum is wondering about the banana herself, Setsuna.

But every time G O A L is shouted, she smiles, and each time the smile is a little warmer. But then comes the BEEP of destiny, and Signum moves forwards where others move to the kitchen, in order to secure the equipment and avoid twisting Shamal's ankle (again) in the dead of the night.

"A perilous wager," Signum opines as she rejoins the party, just in time to hear Lera's estimate.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Capitalism..." Setsuna ponders this word thoughtfully, as if it holds many mysteries. ...Which, well, for her it does.


Soon, though, Donkey Kong finds peace. Setsuna smiles, shaking her head. "I guess that's what counts, Lera..." But she stands with the others, still pleased with the memory of Goals and still just as clueless about where the reference comes from.

"Thank you," Setsuna answers the invitation, and her eyes pass over the wonderful-looking food. "It smells great," she says, as she takes her seat beside Lera, smiles. She accepts some juice, herself. And siiighs at Lera and Vita. "Well," she says, "Thank you very much," she says to Hayate and Shamal, instead. She pretends to be above the competition.

...She is not above the competition. She begins with a polite but enthusiastic portion of salad. A dark horse has entered the race...

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Hayate folds her hands into prayer and murmurs "Itadakimasu" on behalf of the aliens she's surrounded by. She eats fairly daintily, maybe less than she should. Still, being physically active is a new thing to her. She's figuring it out.

"I take care of all my children," she explains proudly, as to the cooking. "But, the others are all learning! It's important to be able to cook, so you can show people how much you love them."

The fabulous meal on the table sparkles a little, and so does her smile.

She stays out of the contest, but keeps a rather pointed eye on the tomato sauce. Any mess, at least a mess made by a Yagami, may result in her reaching out and gently tugging on their nose!

(Zafira is excluded from this policy and likes snoot-boops anyway. He is happily wolfing down lasagna from a bowl under the table, and his furry bulk is an outstanding foot warmer -- and foot rest, for shorter people.)

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Mm-hm!" Lera calls out to Hayate, with a big grin in her direction. "Let's dig in!"

She looks back at Vita, and she nods -- and then she dives into the lasagna. Despite her challenge, she isn't going for speed. That would be rude -- one should savor their food -- but she does scoop up a large portion, taking advantage of her larger than normal frame to begin wolfing down lasagna.

"I guess it's kinda like I'm the invader. The welcome guest invader...?" She ponders this, before she turns back to the lasagna. "This is really good, Hayate! Where'd you learn to cook this sorta stuff?"

She also pats Zafira, once, with a foot.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Fate's expression looks confused as Vita talks about cooking and helping with smashing.

"Like... with eggs?"

And she's just imagining Graf Eisen being whipped out to smash eggs on the counter with a splash zone of yolk and egg shells.

"You're so responsible Hayate." Though Fate becomes quiet for a moment as she dwells on Hayate saying it's a way of showing other people how much you love them. It's something she's thought of before. Giving gifts of food or sweets to try to express how much she cares. Though in the past they were storebought. Now...

Now perhaps being friends with someone who lives in a bakery gives her a higher standard to live up to.

"I'm trying to learn to bake myself. Though I'm just learning and not too good at it yet."

Fate nods in agreement with Signum, "I wouldn't underestimate her Lera." She suggests, knowing fully well that sometimes the biggest stomachs come in the smallest packages.

Zafira may occasionally get a pat under the table, it's something she's accustomed to doing with Arf at home.

When Lera declares she's the 'welcome guest invader.' Fate has to restrain a laugh, though her lip is tugging a bit as she crunches on a bite of leafy greens from the salad. After she swallows she suggests, "So now we know why you really came all the way from Midchilda..."

Pausing for effect, she says it almost reverently, "For the lasagna."

<Pose Tracker> Signum Yagami [None] has posed.

Signum settles down. She eats with efficient, polite, neat bites, though she did get a pretty generous portion. There are memories for her that tell her, even now, on a visceral level: Enjoy it while you can.

That has a dark side to it - but often overlooked is the sunny side of the same concept. And in this time and place, Signum dares - to let herself walk on the sunny side of the street.

Also she got a big share of salad.

"The cuisine of Earth is very diverse... I have known many dishes that could be compared," Signum muses, "to ones that I have seen here. But rarely have there been so many in one place. Perhaps it is similar in Midchildia?" She also glances at Setsuna as she says this, as if to extend the question to her without... poking at it.

("Hayate, may I have the grated cheese?")

<Pose Tracker> Vita Yagami [None] has posed.

"Dough, sometimes meat..." Vita explains to Fate, head tipping a little. "That's kinda it, actually...."

Vita is physically a young child and may actually have some kind of magical furnace instead of a stomach, all things considered; she helps herself to a slightly unreasonable quantity of lasagna and a decidedly inadequate amount of salad. "Oh, uhm, itadakimasu!" Vita adds, too late; this is a ritual she got out of the habit of, on account of--

Well, let's not worry about things gone by. She looks abashed briefly, and then turns a wicked eye on Lera. "That's not how welcoming, guests, or invasions work!" she declares, though the rebuke is more of a tease than a jab.

Then she jabs a fork in a huge portion of lasagna and tries to lift it, and fails completely because gravity asserts its cruel mastery of all matter upon it. She grumbles and starts working to cut it down.

"Not that we ever got any of the interesting stuff anyway," she grunts at Signum. These should be hard memories, but she says it like two old vets ribbing themselves about hardships now many years past. "I never did get any of that orange sausage and rice thing."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna takes Hayate at her word! --And as aliens go does eat more politely and carefully than Lera, yes. ...The contest is a marathon, not a sprint! And, well, she's been living with Earth humans long enough to learn a little...

Mom-ozono has Rules.

"Yes!" Setsuna agrees though about the idea of cooking. "That's why I've been trying to learn, too," she answers, "I have a good teacher!" And then she pauses. Welcome... guest... invader?

"Hmm." She considers Lera--and then gets the message from Signum, looking towards her and hesitating briefly. "Ah..."

She looks down, and shakes her head, before looking back up with a small smile. "We didn't have meals like this in Labyrinth," Setsuna answers Signum simply. "And definitely not meals this lively..."

"It's nice."

In the space between frames, she has acquired lasagna. She savors all of it.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Reinforce doesn't eat anything; Shamal eats a healthy portion, very neatly and methodically. And Hayate -- smiling wider than anyone, eager to offer second helpings of everything, while periodically suggesting that people keep their 'dessert stomachs' open -- falls asleep.

It happens all at once. One minute she is equal parts mother, hostess, and overjoyed child, glowing with contentment over the scene at her table. And the next she is tipping over to one side.

Reinforce is there, as though she knew before it started, in a blur of black and silver, hair catching up to her in an echo of motion.

"Don't worry," she tells everyone. "She's just exhausted from the physical therapy. Finish your meal. I'll be right back."

And without further ado she bears her Mistress up to bed. Indeed, she is back in nearly a flash, and settles herself back in her chair. It was the foot of the table, but without Hayate, it's the head.

"She works very hard," Reinforce murmurs. "More than she likes to let us know. Rest is part of healing. Do not worry for her -- she would be devastated if she ruined our evening."

She reaches up a pale hand, pinky-finger extended, though she can't actually pinky promise with everyone all at once.

"There is still much food to eat. And much to discuss."

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Midchilda has a lot of different kinds of food!" Lera says, with a grin at Signum. "Um, it mixes together a lot -- more than Earth, actually, since... it's so easy to get around the planet."

Lera slows, and then stops eating as Hayate starts to topple. But then Reinforce is suddenly there, moving with such speed and grace that she ends up able to catch her. Her eyes widen a moment, before she nods her head.

She falls quiet, though. "Mm-hm," she murmurs, after a moment. "She definitely seems like a hard worker, y'know? It's really impressive..."

She slows down enough on eating lasagna to, well, have a conversation. Her eyes shift towards Setsuna. She shares a brief, knowing look with her. Then, she looks back at Reinforce -- holding her pinky up in solidarity, but leaving the actual touching of fingers to someone else.

"Is, um... is there something specific, Miss Reinforce?" she asks.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

"Oh." Fate starts to get it when Vita says dough and meat, "Oh!" She doesn't correct her though on saying kneading and tenderizing. "I see - smashing." The word sounds endearing to her after all. Almost like a fun way to relate Vita's martial knowledge to cooking.

However when Signum asks that question, "I'm not sure. I grew up pretty isolated. And my memories of the city..." Fate considers for a moment, then fails to grasp it. A child under the age of five sees the world differently, and so too does Alicia see food. "...well, she was too young for me to really get a sense of the food. She just had a few favorites."

Fate looks between Vita and Signum in sympathy on how they used to never get anything good to eat. Though she doesn't say anything to drive home that sympathy, just letting the two vets be vets.

Before looking at Setsuna. "Ah yeah. I got the sense that even seasoned rice would be a luxury on Labyrinth." She saw how Soular ate that seasoned rice after all.

And then just as she was about to suggest, "Hayate would you mind if we cooked together some..." And noticing how her eyes are closed, "...time?" She says in confusion. However Reinforce catches her. And the silver haired woman is so calm that it defuses the majority of Fate's worry.

"I see." Before she mentions to Lera, "The nurses at the hospital did mention how she sometimes really pushes herself..." Fate had tried to visit a few times, though most of the time Hayate was resting, or in therapy...

She did drop off some things with Signum though.

Having finally finished her salad though, Fate finally plates herself an even more heaping helping of Lasagna. She's firmly in a household where she must finish her vegetables, no matter how much she longs for the meat and cheese - or the sweets after. Silently vowing to clear her plate of every bite to let Hayate know that she had a good time - and loved her cooking.

Fate does look up as Lera tries to prompt the kind of discussion. It's sort of strange sitting across from the being that is Reinforce. After all they went through in the Lotus World. And the battle afterwards, but she doesn't blame her for what happened given the circumstances of it.

Or any of them for that matter.

"You can talk to us about anything you'd like." She prompts further. Perhaps a little eager to get to know them more.

<Pose Tracker> Signum Yagami [None] has posed.

"How did you dine? It seems as though Labyrinth is not an encouraging place in any way," Signum says. "Even in the harshest circumstances, camaraderie can bloom..."

When Hayate falls asleep, Signum sits up straight - but Reinforce is swifter, and from her demeanor, this is not a horrifying turn of events. Sad, perhaps: a moment in need of alert attention - but the attention is given. And as Reinforce bears their master to her repose, Signum nods once and returns to her food.

There is not time for more than a few bites. As she shifts in her seat, coming to an attentive posture, it may dawn on Fate, on Lera, on Setsuna, that *she* doesn't know what's coming either.

(To Fate, though, Signum murmurs, "We have spoken to her about the importance of pacing. But she was delighted to host you all. It has been some time...")

<Pose Tracker> Vita Yagami [None] has posed.

Hayate collapsing unexpectedly has PREVIOUSLY BEEN A SUBJECT OF SOME CONCERN to the Yagami clan, and Vita starts a bit, halfway out of her chair by the time Reinforce appears. Signum manages stoic repose, but Vita - raw nerve that her every emotion is - is visibly fraught and off-center from the event. "I," she starts slowly...but she doesn't follow Reinforce back. Reinforce is the closest to the Master of all of them, in a strange way, though Vita palpably wants to just go and sit watch, immediately.

Still, she manages a sigh and hops her way back up to her chair, trouble across her face. She looks up at Reinforce, anxious. She relaxes some at the explanation, but she'll need a few minutes before she'll be back at top form. She spears a reduced lasagna chunk and drives it into her input slot, chewing with the vigor of the grump.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna does not understand hammering food. However, she does look to Fate as she speaks--and then shakes her head very lightly at the matter of luxuries. Maybe a denial, or... maybe just a note that maybe she doesn't think they should linger on the subject. She meets Lera's eyes, though, smiling at her with a small expression for a moment. Sure, it's intentional of her, but...

She doesn't drop it after all, though. "At pre-appointed times, communally," Setsuna answers Signum. "Usually in quiet; Mobius-sama's schedules almost never had to be interrupted by unexpected events, so meals were in turn uninterrupted."

She smiles though, once Reinforce makes things clear. "All right. ...She really was very impressive," she says simply. Then she pauses, and nods. "...All right. I won't worry."

She quiets though, her expression fairly blank as she looks to Reinforce. She doesn't repeat what's already been said; she's curious about the subject, of course. ...And will go back to her food of course.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Reinforce looks around the group uneasily. Her eyes are very red, and very calm, and very... kind.

They were always that way, weren't they? Even when they were mad with grief, even when they were possessed... the Tome of the Night Sky has beautiful eyes.

"Brave defenders of this beautiful blue world," she begins, nodding at them. "And my proud, strong Wolkenritter... I have caused you so much trouble already. And now I fear I have to ask you for a final favor."

It would be easier to bear if she looked down, but she doesn't. She keeps gazing at each of the group in turn.

"Working together you were able to protect everyone from NachtWal, but... the security program grafted onto my core is regenerative. In time, it will return. It is as inevitable as the sunrise. And it is... incurable. It will return, it will take me over, and it will try to destroy this planet and everyone on it, again and again."

She nods, gravely, as though backing up her own statement with further encouragement to believe it.

"There is only one solution that will guarantee everyone's safety. I must be returned... to the sky."

An artful description of death, but a clear one, to be sure.

She pre-empts the first question before it is asked, holding up a fingertip. "Do not fear, Wolkenritter. Our Mistress' magic has made you not only whole but independent. You are not tainted by the curse, and you do not need me to carry on. You will all survive..."

Her lips flicker into a tiny, satisfied smile, as she glances around the full kitchen.

"...and thrive."

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Lera catches on that Signum and Vita, too, don't seem to know what this is about. She nods, loosely, after what Fate says. Her own encouragement.

She falls quiet, after that. She lets Reinforce explain until the very end -- which is when her eyes begin to widen with the realization of what is getting at. She isn't so dense to fail to understand what Reinforce means. Her eyes widen a little more sharply, and she draws in a short gasp, before she looks down at the table.


She swallows. Her fingers reach out, under the table and to her side, until she finds Setsuna's hand. When she clasps it, her fingers squeeze tighter than they need to. It isn't, really, a gesture of offering comfort. It is something altogether different. There is a visible tension in the Midchildan.

"There's... there's gotta be a way," she says, weekly. "A way to fix it. You shouldn't have to..." She doesn't finish, lapsing into silence instead.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Fate smiles at Signum's comment. She's still smiling when Reinforce starts talking. Even hearing her talk to them - feels like a gift after the time they spent at odds. Being able to communicate with words, Nanoha taught her how to value that.

However her dread starts to grow when Reinforce states degenerative, and her smile is gone on 'incurable.'

Inevitable. Something in her stomach curdles. It goes against everything Sayaka tried to tell them as Chevaliers.

Their mission. Their ideals.

It is no small wish to want no sacrifices. It is a large one. It feels like it goes against the nature of the universe.

She'd already seen Hotaru all but offer herself up - what if next its her asking her this?

What if its them having to mercy kill Sayaka the witch next?

Reinforce had felt like the one bright spot of victory where noone needed to be sacrificed and it was true. How the situation resolved felt like the embodiment of all she believed as a Chevalier.

And now... even that feels like it comes with a need for sacrifices.

"Ah. It's so unfair." Something in her eyes glimmer a bit. "For you to be free... to have a name... for Hayate and you to be together and..."

Her eyes slide shut after a moment, as she takes a breath, tries to compose herself. It only half-works. "...it's just... too cruel." She whispers.

She'd chosen this world where sometimes ideals aren't enough and sacrifices need to be made. She'd chosen it after Alicia.

"You're sure?" She asks just for confirmation and feels so small, compared to the largeness of these cruel truths of the world. She doesn't say that Reinforce had been wrong before. She doesn't try to argue.

Perhaps in a world where Hotaru were not missing.

Perhaps in a world where Sayaka Miki was not a witch.


This is not that world. She wants that world to be built, but it is evidence only that it is long in coming.

"I don't want you to go." Fate says, selfishly, as she hunches herself within her seat. "It barely feels like we got to know you. And... Hayate..."

Hayate regards all of the Wolkenritter as her children. What is it like for a mother who truly loves one of her children - to lose them?

Her mind can only think of Precia in that moment.

She cannot put the feeling of how Hayate must feel to words. Instead she just lapses into an uncomfortable silence.

<Pose Tracker> Signum Yagami [None] has posed.

Signum glances at her plate, bashfully, as Reinforce speaks, the praise pleasant even if she makes a show of her stoicism. Her eyes return to the fifth member of their society, the one who she could never have met, and then she speaks of the security program.

Signum blinks slowly, like a friendly cat.

'Returned to the sky.'

Signum looks to Lera, and to Fate, and then Signum closes her eyes. She sets down her fork. She lets her head loll slightly forwards...

And then she smites the tabletop with her clenched fist! Hard enough to rattle everyone's plate, although she did not put enough force in it to damage it. It's still LOUD, emphatic, and Signum shouts, "NO!" with sudden hoarse force.

"Reinforce, I refuse it," she says plainly. "This cannot be so. You have suffered as much as we, or more, and we bled and suffered in our foolishness because we dared not hope! What is your system status? Do you have a rate projection? At..."

Signum struggles. It is not common, though Fate, at least, has seen something similar. "At the worst case, perhaps it will be necessary to produce a static, to temporarily halt matters. So that a solution can be... found; one must exist, after all of this. Somewhere. Somehow! If one cannot be found we will be patient, we will study - we -"

Signum falters again.

Her voice is tighter, her fist deflating, fingers spreading apart.

"... We cannot let Hayate bear this again... not, after everything -" She makes a choked noise and her cheeks are wet, and she does not bring herself to lift her gaze -- or where her gaze would be if her eyes were open -- from the empty plate of home-cooked food before her.

<Pose Tracker> Vita Yagami [None] has posed.

Vita's visible unease doesn't go anywhere. A lead weight forms in her stomach that no quantity of cheese and tomato can calm. Her fork hits the plate the second Rein starts talking in sweeping terms, her hands in her lap, her back tense. It would indeed be easier to bear if she looked down. Vita does, instead. For all her power, for all the strength her arms can bring to bear, her heart has always been Vita's great weakness, and again she must steel it against the worst.

Signum cracks and Vita shatters, her whole posture curling in on itself as her fists ball tight in her lap. "Aren't you....aren't you the administrator program? The master control of the whole book!" she objects. It's useless and her stomach has already sunken through the floor because she knows it. Reinforce would not say these things if she could fix it herself, after all. "What's....why...!"

She trembles, eyes down, unable to look up. Shaking. "I thought...we didn't have to hurt her anymore..."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

To the sky...

Unfair. Yes, it's unfair. Setsuna looks at beautiful eyes... And she hears another favor. A request. The details of it become obvious, through Reinforce's words. What will happen--what must happen. Yes, it is artful. Yes, it's true that the others will live, will thrive, that sounds right. But--

Setsuna's expression is not blank. There is a distance to it, a clear sadness in her eyes, as she feels Lera take her hand. There must be another way. It's unfair, when they're free...


Setsuna thinks back. She thinks back to knowing where she ahd to go, what she had to do. ...She thinks past that, to a Garden, and more recently, at that fight where they found this victory. Odds, rates, status...


What can she say? It isn't her choice, is it? The world, threatened over and over again. The calculus is very simple.

Setsuna looks down, and draws in a slow breath. ...It's the sort of breath one gives when making sure she doesn't cry.

"...How long?" Setsuna asks, voice quiet. "How long do you have? Before this happens again?"

They barely defeated the program the first time. Now...?

"How much time is there?"

Lera at least can feel the slight shake to Setsuna's fingers as she looks forward.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Reinforce looks at the Knights, as they grieve not her passing so much as the pain it will cause their Mistress, and her smile gentles further.

She looks at the heroines, determined to save her.

And, finally, her eyes close.

She shakes her head. Her hair makes a soft swishing sound on the back of her chain.

"No," she begins, "There is no other way, and it could happen at any time. It is not cruelty, though. I have lived a long, long life. Bringing my story to a close on my own terms... to protect all that I love... that is kindness. It is mercy. I ask it of you all because it will take great power to affect safely."

Her hands reach out... one grasps Signum's shoulder, the other Vita's. She squeezes. It is a gesture very like Hayate's. It would have been unthinkable even six months ago.

"And because I would not ask our Mistress to bear witness. I make this choice to protect her, but to have her do it herself -- that would be cruel. That is the other reason I implore it of all of you."

She's still smiling.

"The ritual requires the presence of dawn. Let us do it tomorrow morning... before she wakes up. Believe me, friends, family... I do not think of this as an unhappy ending. I would like to spend my last hours celebrating life, not mourning it. And, already, just by being here all together, you have begun to grant that wish, beautifully."