2018-11-16 - TIMELINE 1: Let's Go, Animal Care Club!

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Title: TIMELINE 1: Let's Go, Animal Care Club!

Mikoto meets a girl she's never met before, and decides to help her with her club, because both Inori and Mikoto are very fond of animals.


Inori Yamabuki, Mikoto Minagi


Ohtori Academy - Garden

OOC - IC Date:

2018-11-16 - 2013-09-20

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

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

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

<Pose Tracker> Inori Yamabuki [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Inori Yamabuki cheerfully aligned her stack of papers by tapping the edge against the table. A tablecloth with the characters for: 'Animal Care Club' was hanging off. She's lovingly arranged the photos of the club events, but most importantly the animals they interact with in an impromptu collage on the table. Ohtori Academy gave them the opportunity to interact with and care for many animals that would be considered exotic.

Seated in her uniform, she'd chosen a spot where the Gardens aligns with the Bird Cage Greenhouse and the most traveled hall in the school.

The afternoon light cut at a slant through the sparse cloud cover on this breezy day.

And then as the first passers-by came through she called out, "Good afternoon. Please consider joining the animal care club."

Most Ohtori Students ignored her.

She kept calling it out with a smile that kept the faith, but was touched with insecurity.

"Good afternoon. Please consider-" "Animal Care? Like - what the help does?" Inori got a nervous look. "Being able to care for animals is a useful skill... that can serve anyone well to a professional career as a veteranian... or in agriculture!"

A girl laughs contemptuously, "Oh please, my father just hires stablehands to take care of my horses."

Buki seemed a little fazed but brightened like maybe she had a point of connection here. "-you're an equestrian? Well - caring for your horses directly is a wonderful way to bond with..." The girl was already walking away with her back to her, "Take a hint. I'm not interested in common labor."

Buki's shoulders hunched and she sighed a little as she gripped her skirts with her fingernails and murmured insecurely, "Work like this is important though."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Below, a girl is trying to talk to other girls about something something animals.

Above, a creeping presence descends upon the roof of the greenhouse...

Ohtori Academy is home to many exotic animals, after all - but there are some common critters, too. Remarkably, it seems to have a robust feral cat population, with many of the island's cats having settled in across campus. There's always a girl or boy willing to share their lunch with a cute kitten, and so it's a popular attraction for all the strays.

Naturally, not even the Student Council can get rid of them. In Ohtori Academy, the Council's power is godlike - but what is a god to a nonbeliever? The cats of Ohtori simply don't care. Chase them away, and they inevitably return.

It's a good thing. It means there are lots of friends for Mikoto Minagi to make. Not people - goodness, no - but cats! As soon as she spied her first stray, Mikoto began to fit right in. If anything, blending into the feline population has only accelerated the rumours that there's a feral girl about campus - but Mikoto doesn't care about the words she hears people say about her, because there's an old white cat who's been teaching her the best ways to jump up onto the roofs, and a ginger kitten who looks at her with stars in his eyes, and a little brown cat who's reluctant to trust anyone but who she's been sort of getting through to...

That last cat sits a metre's span away from Mikoto on the greenhouse roof, staring intently at the contents within. That, in itself, isn't terribly abnormal. What's abnormal is the girl with a golf club bag strapped over the shoulder of her middle-school uniform, pawing at the panels of the rooftop. If she can just find something which opens, she can let her new cat friend inside, and she can have lunch.

The first squwark from a well-bred parrot is a little uncertain, a little confused, as that shadow over them grows so much bigger than the cats they expect. Soon it becomes a cacophony, as the birds realise that something isn't normal. Squwark! Screech! Scream! Hiss! Cluck-cluck!

Impervious to the chaos below, Mikoto keeps working. They're trapped, so they're not going anywhere. An opening, an opening... she could just take out her sword and make a hole, but she's pretty sure that would make the headmistress mad, and Mikoto doesn't want to get involved with her any more than she already is.

<Pose Tracker> Inori Yamabuki [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

The greenhouse is home to the many exotic plants of Ohtori. It is also home to many birds that are hanging in separate cages within. Suspended. The first squawk of the parrot draws Inori's eye to the glass. "Niji-san?" With all the formality as if she'd called the parrot Mister Rainbow.

Unfortunately she doesn't look up far enough. Ah such is the perspective of people on the ground.

Hoisting up her bookbag up on the table to anchor the pictures, she starts at walk, which becomes a jog with her hands held in the air. She's not a girl that does much running after all, there's something that seems almost prissily feminine about it.

Once she reaches the door she swings it open. "Niji-san? What's the matter?"

Now she must look almost straight up though at the birds in the cages. And that gives her a view on the girl on the rooftop - and the cat beside her. "Oh!"

She seems startled initially. People aren't normally on the roof of this. In these few moments a scream almost seems predictable.

It would only be predictable to someone who doesn't know Inori.

"Are you... trying to get in?" It's like a cat at a glass door to her. Before a second thought occurs to her, "...Are you hunting?"

There's something almost cat-like about the girl - about her behavior - about all of this that then elicits another word. "Ka...waii..."

She then pushes back open the door, to call out to the roof. "Oh you mustn't! Niji-san and all the birds here are pets. I..."

Inori does that same almost too fussy sort of run back to her table. Then digs a hand through her bag.

A moment later, a sound is heard. One that's so familiar to most of urban and domesticated catdom.

It's the sound of a can lid popping open.

The girl below with the sidetail holds it up with a smile that seems almost hesitant, "... I have food."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Yes, the birds are protected by a second layer of cages, but that's fine, because Mikoto has hands with opposable thumbs, unlike most cats. She doesn't have a tail, though, which makes communication more difficult, so it evens out.

Despite her deficiencies in discussion, she seems to be doing pretty well at convincing the little brown cat of her goodwill. The buffet has ever been a place forbidden to them, and she looks positively fascinated by the idea of getting down there with all those snacks. Mikoto looks fascinated, too, but that's because she's focused on what she's doing.

She's so focused on the panels in front of her that she doesn't notice the girl below them, at first. Not until she calls out. And the protest makes Mikoto stiffen from hands to shoulders to back to legs, in an utterly feline gesture. She looks to the little brown cat, and the two of them begin to flee across the rooftop!

... there really is a feral girl on campus now.

And perhaps that would be the end of it, if not for Inori's quick thinking and scuttle back to her bag. The sound of a can opening ought to be too far away for anyone to hear, though. That girl's disappeared from the rooftop, and so has the cat she was with. Perhaps Inori would know that cat by her infamous abjuration of human assistance. No matter how many girls try to pet her, each one comes away with a scratched hand.

But as if by magic, a figure l e a n s out from behind the greenhouse, where she had just leapt down to scurry away. She is alone, now; the little brown cat cannot be tempted by the mere opening of a can. Mikoto's hand curls at the side of the greenhouse, as she peers at Inori, suspiciously.

And then she looks at the can.

And then she looks back to Inori.

<Pose Tracker> Inori Yamabuki [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Inori knows that feral cats cannot be tempted so simply. After all she feeds them feeds them after school on some days. Often she has to coax them into eating into a place of anonymity and security. A crate turned upwards and to the side containing a feeder.

Yet there's no good way to coax a cat off a rooftop.

Mikoto leans out. Then looks at the can, then back at her.

And Inori doesn't say anything. Instead she squats down carefully, and places down the can of food.

Then she simply steps backwards. Again. And again.

It's only once she's at a distance where she feels like Mikoto might feel safe, and better yet, the actual cat - back at her table, that she says gently.

"You're not in trouble or anything. Stray cats have a really hard time. I'm not supposed to feed them - campus rules."

Inori looks down and clasps her hands together as she mumbles, "I do anyway though."

She seems like such a proper girl otherwise, to be admitting to such rulebreaking openly...

"I can't help it. They're all so cute - and all so hungry."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The can of food is placed down, and the girl backs away. One step, two step, three steps...

Mikoto watches carefully, and once she's at a distance Mikoto is sure she can run from, she darts out with surprising speed to snatch up the can. For a moment, she pauses there, peering up at the other girl as she insists she isn't in trouble. She narrows her eyes...

Inori says she feeds the cats anyway, and recognition crosses her face. Is she the one who leaves the crates? Mikoto blinks, once, twice, three times.

And then acrobatic legs bend and she leaps away, bounding back behind the greenhouse. There is the distant sound of a can's contents sloshing out. Hidden from view, the little brown cat watches as Mikoto leaves the food and heads back around the corner. Once she's out of the food's radius, she creeps up and starts eating.

She's a pretty hungry cat, once she starts up. It turns out being suspicious of humans makes it harder to get snacks.

Meanwhile, Mikoto appears back in Inori's field of view, holding the empty can. She approaches back to the place Inori placed it, and puts it down again, before she backs up.

"... edge cuts," she explains, with a glance to the can. It may not be immediately obvious that she's talking about the cats cutting themselves on the sharp edges of the can in their haste to get at what's inside. "But food's good."

She reappeared too quickly to have eaten it herself, so....

<Pose Tracker> Inori Yamabuki [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Inori watches all of this without moving. As Mikoto takes the can back, empties the contents out of view, and returns.

She does not approach right away to remove the empty can.

Instead she simply nods hesitantly. "I usually take it out first - I just... wanted you to have a way to carry it."

She explains, because animal safety means a lot to her.


She says with a sense of uncertainty, a hand reaching out, before being withdrawn.

"...eto..." She can't seem to get out of her uncertainty.

"Do you like... cats..."

It took her so long to just get that out? Something that seems so obvious.

"... senpai?"

How does she know without asking for an introduction? Well. Quite simply, she pays attention. And rumors of a new third year transfer student carrying a golf case abound.

"I ask because... I'm part of a club that... takes care of animals."

Putting her fingers off the handle of the bag, she pulls it aside. To reveal the pictures of the animals the club has cared for. Found homes for. Or just rescued and taken to the vet.

She puts them into view to back up that claim.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

She usually takes it out, the girl says, and at this Mikoto finally brightens. Because now she can be sure: "You're good person!" It's a chipper declaration, even if her pronoun is familiar and superior to the point of being blatantly rude.

Unlike Inori, she doesn't hesitate at all to say it - and perhaps it makes the final request easier. Mikoto doesn't press her to talk; her head cants slightly to the left as she listens, to indicate that she's listening and interested in what she has to say, but she's perfectly patient about waiting for her to choke out the words.

She manages to ask if Mikoto likes cats, and she nods, enthusiastically - before the next word makes her pause. She doesn't ask, though, not immediately, because it seems like Inori is still trying to say something.

Mikoto peers at the pictures; even at a distance, it's not so hard to see. She nods, with a noise of affirmation. She understands!

And because she understands that Inori takes care of animals, she doesn't ask about it.

Instead, she says, as if correcting her on her name: "'Senpai'?" A shake of her head - "Mikoto."

She doesn't sound like she's making fun of Inori, as outrageous as not knowing simple social customs might sound.

<Pose Tracker> Inori Yamabuki [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Inori blinks her eyes, orange and luminous at Mikoto's declaration, "E-Eh?!" Then she's suddenly all hands, her fingers fidgeting nervously, "W-Well I try to be..."

She doesn't think of herself as a bad person per se. Just... passive when dealing with most people. And perhaps inaction sometimes is... not the mark of a good person.

Yet she's able to get off dwelling on that thought pretty quickly... because Mikoto nods and she tries to smile. It's hesitant at first, like a sunbeam coming out from behind the clouds and yet still being dimmed by circumstance.

Buki seems mystified by her question at first though. "Well I mean - you're a third year. So it's meant to be a mark of respect for being... older."

She clarifies, but then immediately backs it up, "If you don't want to be called that... then... Mikoto-san? I'm Inori Yamabuki." Folding her hands together, she bows pretty formally, "It's very nice to meet you."

When she realizes though that Mikoto might think that's too formal because... she said that about senpai... Inori quickly adds, "My friends call me 'Buki."

A few seconds pass before she adds, "Would you... be interested in joining our club? It counts as a cultural club... so if you're into sports..."

Her eyes are on the golf club case perhaps, "...you can still join."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

She's doing things with her hands. Is she under too much pressure? It's a good way to calm down. Mikoto notes it down in her mind, and glances away from Inori so she'll be more comfortable.

... Mikoto still looks perfectly friendly, though, so it's difficult to say it's embarrassment over the way Inori's acting.

Inori tries to explain, and Mikoto hums consideration through closed lips. She looks, if anything, surprised by the revelation that she's older than someone. Or perhaps she's surprised by the fact that they bother to mark that status for strangers. Then again, maybe it makes sense...? Her gaze tilts up as she considers.

Only to be caught in her consideration by her name, and the girl's. Mikoto smiles, glancing briefly to Inori before looking away again. She nods.

She has no recognition at all at the idea that she would be into sports, despite what is clearly a bag of golf clubs resting across her shoulder. But Inori asking that sparks a memory in her mind of words she'd dismissed not so long ago as more meaningless chatter between girls.

"'Buki's trying hard, right?" There's no honourific attached to her name, but despite the brazen impoliteness, she sounds perfectly genuine. Mikoto has guessed in an instant that she's been trying to get people to join her caring club for a long time. "But no one listens."

Well, she doesn't mean to be mean about it.

Mikoto hums in thought again, and then springs forward, to snatch up one of those photos. "I'll help!" She decides, in an instant.

She didn't say she'd join, exactly, but -

Wait, how is Mikoto going to help?!

<Pose Tracker> Inori Yamabuki [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Inori just seems shellshocked a little by the insight that she's trying hard. It's true of course. She works very hard for her few aspirations. Animals weren't just her future career. They were her passion.

"I am." She murmurs, before Mikoto adds 'noone listens'. And there's this slow almost pained blink of her eyes. It's not that Mikoto is trying to be mean.

It's just true. She's had a very hard time finding traction for this club. Justifying its existence in the Ohtori budget.

"The... students here value different things than me. They're wealthy."

There's this light helpless shrug of her shoulders.

"But even wealthy people have animals they love. Pets they care about. It's just... they usually do in a different way than I do... so they don't... want to listen."

However then Mikoto says she'll help and Inori peps up, "You will?" And then she looks positively gleeful. Whatever shyness she had before fades in an instant, "Oh! You will! Well I'd love for you to help. Sometimes after school I take this little wagon and... take it around town and set up feeders. And organize events where people adopt animals to take care of... Oh! And if you find any hurt animals... you can always bring them to me. My father does a lot of charity cases... he's a vet! And..."

She then stops herself, like she's dialing it back. "Uh...! I mean... I'm... just... happy for your help... I don't usually get people wanting to help... maybe it's because I go overboard... when they're interested?"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

They don't want to listen, Inori says.

Perhaps Mikoto would have fled after picking up the photo, but words start pouring out of 'Buki, and that's notable, because she's had so much trouble with them before. So Mikoto just stands there in front of her and listens, attentively. Her ear actually, literally twitches.

"Lots," she surmises, and perhaps it sounds like she's criticising the amount of words coming out of Inori's mouth, though she sounds more like she's observing a fact. She's trying a lot - she's doing a lot - she cares a lot. It seems obvious to Mikoto what she's remarking on, because Inori's passion is perfectly plain to her.

It doesn't occur to her for an instant that perhaps she's not being clear.

Mikoto tilts her head, with a thoughtful grunt. No one wants to listen to her, or help her when she tries to help animals, because they're wealthy, whatever that is. And she thinks it's because she talks too much. She nods, to herself, because she did just talk a lot. But everyone in Tokyo talks a lot, so Mikoto isn't sure why that would make them not want to help.

The corner of her lip scrunches up with her look of confusion. City people are so weird. Mikoto shakes her head, and focuses on the fact that Inori has begun halting again. It must mean she's nervous. And that means - "Don't worry!" Mikoto chirps, in complete confidence.

Yes! She can reassure her, and help her, and everything will be fine!

Another perfect plan from Mikoto Minagi.

With that, she darts away from 'Buki, taking the picture with her. Alarmingly, she leaps in front of a passing student, and shoves the photo in her face. "Help him!!" She demands, of the ginger cat in the photo. Her brazen insistence only earns a look of fearful shock from the girl, who shrieks at the intrusion.

"Were you raised in a barn?!" The beleagured girl yelps, as Mikoto puffs up her cheeks.

"Picture!" She corrects her, misunderstanding the exclamation entirely.

"That's not what I - get out of my face! Ah, no!" The girl scrambles back as Mikoto shoves the photo forward, only to turn and flee.

Mikoto puffs her cheeks out, and storms over to the next girl.

Oh, no.

<Pose Tracker> Inori Yamabuki [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Inori doesn't have any context for what Mikoto's saying as she hesitantly watches her with the photo.

'Lots' of words is what she assumes there, and her hands start growing more fidgety as she makes this nervous laugh. However then Mikoto says 'Don't worry.'

And for one shining moment, 'buki doesn't. She simply smiles. "O-" And then Mikoto darts off and her mood shifts mid word. "-kay?"

And then she turns her head. "Mikoto-san?"

And then Mikoto leaps in front of a student, and Inori just gapes, "Mi-" And the girl shrieks. And 'buki starts to panic as her anxiety grows.


And then she's at the flanks of Mikoto and this girl.

"M-Mikoto-san... Ano... eto..."

She's trying to get a word in but it's not quite coming out. As the girl scrambles away and Mikoto goes off-

"S-Sorry!" Buki blurts out. Not apologizing for Mikoto... but more apologizing for this whole thing, as she thinks its her fault.

'Buki frets, as she approaches behind, doing this little nervous dance in place bobbing from side to side, "M-Mikoto-san... that... that..."

She puts up a hand, trying to indicate. "Paw Revere is... okay! We already helped him... he's... living in a good home."

However then it occurs to 'buki in this moment of surreality, "Wait are you asking... everyone to help all animals...?" And then she exclaims in realization, "Oh my gosh!" It's not exasperation, it's more realization, and it's...

Cute! It's really cute! 'buki puts a hand over her mouth so as not to say it aloud as she wonders if she'll get offended if she keeps calling her behavior cute but...

"Oh - Oh Mikoto-san... p-people will get upset if you're that... assertive..."

The two are a strange contrast in this moment. One who is aggressive to the point of not communicating her point, and one who is too passive that her point would be all but lost if she were trying to recruit someone.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

When cats are kittens, older cats help them to learn how to hunt. First they bring them dead things, and then they bring them alive things and show them how to kill them, and then they bring them alive things and let the kittens do the work...

And so, when Inori hurries up to Mikoto, it makes perfect sense. She's showing Inori how to hunt.

"Help him!" Mikoto insists, again, to this second girl. She gives Mikoto a baffled look, working her jaw.

Her voice is an Osakan drawl. "Honey, are you... okay?"

"Not me!" Mikoto snaps, frustration entering her tone. Why don't any of these people know what words mean?! They like talking so much, they should understand already!

"Oohhhh, I get it. This's performance art! Oh, bless your little heart. Keep trying, it'll work out one day." The students of Ohtori have perfected the art of patronising praise, and Mikoto hums angrily in reply, lips taut against her cheeks.

Inori insists that Paw Revere is okay, and has her own little moment of realisation, and the Osakan girl chortles as she turns on a heel and leaves. She evidently appreciates the comedy routine. There's just one problem: Mikoto isn't trying to be funny.

She snorts, shaking her head in annoyance. Inori says that she'll upset people if she's assertive, and she grunts, puffing air through her lips. "Not working!" She laments, as if she cannot understand why her foolproof plan has gone awry. She's supposed to be teaching 'Buki how to hunt, but she can't catch anything-!!

<Pose Tracker> Inori Yamabuki [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Inori fretfully watches the exchange. She doesn't quite get it. What Mikoto is trying to teach her.

Instead she just tries to get a word in again, "Ano - eto -" To the Osakan accented girl.

She finds it so hard to given how condescendingly she's treating Mikoto. "It's not-" Performance art. Though she doesn't get that.

The Osakan girl leaves - after laughing, and 'buki looks positively miserable.

"It wasn't nice of her to laugh at you." 'buki says, as she knows the feeling all too well. That one at least.

However then Mikoto laments that this isn't working.

'Buki still doesn't understand the lesson. "I m-mean... I don't think they understand what you're asking them to do..."

Even if they weren't being mean, they'd still be confused.

"If you want them to understand you... have to say a little more and... not be so abrupt."

There's a thought that occurs to her. "Maybe... you stand in one spot and let them come to you? Then it won't scare them so much..."

To her that's like handing out fliers advertising a new store.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Mikoto is frustrated, but 'Buki looks crushed, and that makes Mikoto sad too. "Don't be sad!" She insists, as if it's that easy. "They're just words." People here say words all the time! Some of the words are about her. It doesn't really matter, though, because they don't do anything about it, and most of them are just curious anyway.

Inori tries to explain why it isn't working, and Mikoto's lip scrunches up as she turns it over in her mind, with a thoughtful noise. "Hard," she concludes. Harder than it looks. She'd thought it would be easy if she tried to talk to them, but apparently she's not saying the words right. She could, of course, try to figure out the right words to say, figure out how to say them in the right order to make them listen...

... but that's an awfully intimidating task, and Mikoto has a better idea. "'Buki, let's feed cats!" She chirps, brightening again. With authority, she concludes on the topic of rolling out food for the animals: "Helps."

She can't talk to cats, of course. That's just ridiculous. But she can see that the cats are hungry, and they're made happier by the meal-crates left out by the mysterious stranger who turned out to be a meek girl.

It seems like a much more logical way to help 'Buki with her task of helping all animals than trying to communicate with people who don't know how communication works. And it really seems to Mikoto like Inori needs a win, right now. She can score one easily by helping animals who actually have the sense to be receptive, instead of wasting her time with humans who don't get it.

<Pose Tracker> Inori Yamabuki [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"They still hurt." 'buki says quietly. She does not understand the warrior's perspective. After all. She's just an ordinary girl that loves animals a lot.

When Mikoto says things are hard, Inori nods plaintively. Then...

However she then brightens considerably, "Oh! Of course! I just need... a minute to shut down..."


After the table is put up, and the table cloth, and everything on it...

Inori has retrieved a small wagon that her club uses for hauling things about. Right now... it's stacked up with stylized plastic crates, and a heavy duty bag of dry cat food. The idea being to set the crate on its side to give cats a safe place to eat in.

"I know quite a few spots..."

Inori offers, however she then adds with a smile...

"... but I bet you know more."