2018-12-05 - TIMELINE 1: Battle For The Top Of The Mountain! Snow Melts Hearts!

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Battle For The Top Of The Mountain! Snow Melts Hearts!

A snowball fight, among friends.


Madoka Kaname, Sayaka Miki, Kozue Kaoru, Mami Tomoe, Homura Akemi, Mikoto Minagi


Hokkaido Snowy Island - Ski Course Kubota

OOC - IC Date:

12/5/2018 - 12-24-2013

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"a-doka! A-DOKAA!"

A chubby face is taking up most of the camera's field of view, but a basketful of mewing noises competes for the audio's bandwidth. And then they're all visible again, alternatively sleeping, gamboling, or otherwise existing as kitties (it's enough, all on its own), as Tomohisa Kaname lifts his son out of the way with a cheerful 'hup!'

"So you see, Madoka-chan, everyone, everyone here is just fine. We all miss you loads though! Come back soon so you can play with us!"

About halfway through that paragraph of dialogue his voice climbed an octave to be what has been rapidly established as Papa's official kitty translation voice.

"Wave goodbye, Tatsuya-chan!"


Madoka is much too old and mature an individual to be tearing up a little bit. She definitely wasn't homesick her first night in Hokkaido and she isn't homesick now. Her eyes are shining awfully brightly though, and she beams at her family as she waves goodbye, along with the others who have joined her on her futon, nestled around the screen like they're almost a pile of kittens themselves.

"Let's -- let's get some air, okay?" she suggests, a little breathlessly.


It's a perfect day; with a blue sky like that, Madoka is almost overdressed in her puffy white ski jacket, chick-yellow scarf trimmed in ducklings, and red and white fleece headband (which means that, for once, she isn't wearing twintails, or ribbons).

She skips down the steps of the lodge, clicking her bootheels with glee. By the third click her wish has come true and the happiness is real. All it took were a few deep breaths of that wonderfully bracing air, which has already transformed her nose to a hue adequate as a replacement, on her color palette, for the missing ribbons.

That, and:

"Homura-chan! Mikoto-chan!"

Her eyes are still shining.

"Look, look! Isn't it all just beautiful?"

She probably means the freshly fallen snow all around them (laid atop a season's worth, of course) -- but her gaze never left the other girls.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> I'll Never Find Another You - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmactMIhrRM

This sure isn't the black diamond course. It's barely a pink heart course. Round friendly hills glisten with sugared snow, and every tree's a Christmas tree, strung with white. Stately crags loom, pleasantly inhospitable--the geological equivalent of a rainy day that makes you appreciate the warm indoors. And a gold-haloed sun is surrounded by pale blue.

Oh, wait, that's Mami, Sayaka, and Kozue.

The two bluenettes, who might each in their own way be fairly deemed a 'Miki sister,' chat easily as they go, laughing frequently. Periodically though Sayaka's flow is interrupted by a resurgence of nerves due to the inexplicable presence of such a cool senpai. Sayaka has gotten a little more used to Mami, but not much.

"Aaa, a big branch!" Sayaka says, as if that was very exciting. High-kneeing her way through a deep drift, she fetches it. "Eheh! I always wanted to try this." As they continue, Sayaka lets the big wide fir branch drag behind her, and waggles it around like a fish tail, scraping it across their footsteps.

"Geeeh," she grins sneakily. "We have to hide our tracks, so the bad guys can't follow." She hums for a while as she works at that. This is how she is when she's self-conscious? What's she like when Mami's not here?

At the top of the hill, Sayaka looks back in alarm. There's a big clear trail where the branch dragged, more noticeable than the footprints had been--and the footprints are partially visible anyway. "Hey! How is this supposed to work? It just made it worse!" Dropping the branch with an uptilted nose, Sayaka sighs. "I never knew travel would be so disillusioning..."

On the other side of the hill, below, is a little pink head Sayaka would recognize anywhere. She perks up.

"Shh," she urges the other two, kneeling to scoop and pack a snowball. "Watch how cute Madoka-chan is when a snowball bonks her out of nowhere." Sayaka sticks a tongue out of the corner of her mouth as she winds up, pitching practice assisting. "I'll try to get her hair, that's extra cute," she comments.

Some sidekicks are Naru, and some are Lilie.

Whistling from a clear blue sky, a snow-softball plummets. Sayaka's range is good due to her arm and her high ground. Her aim?

DICE: Sayaka Miki rolls 1d5+1 and gets 3!
<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Her aim is true as her heart.

  • splat*


Madoka emits a tiny sneeze of surprise. Wide-eyed, she shakes the show out of her hair rather as a puppy might, not because she's trying to get rid of it but because she's looking left, looking right, curiously seeking the thrower.


Her sneeze has rapidly dissolved into giggles. Then she's jumping up and down (crunch! crunch! go her boots) and waving wildly, with both hands, as though living in a world where the people who just swatted her with a snowball haven't spotted her yet.

It's hard to get out 'hiiiii' or 'everyone!!' through her merry laughter, but the meaning is clear.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [None] has posed.

Kozue Kaoru seems unfazed by Sayaka's interest in a big branch, it reminds her of summer camp from when they were younger and the girl running off to catch a frog. Still she does loft an eyebrow until the other girl explains. "Ohhh? Good thinking."

Kozue agrees, "That way there'll be no chance any of my ex boyfriends can follow us." Before she turns to Mami and utters without missing a beat, "Isn't my Oneechan cute when she's being protective?"

However as they walk along and she actually notes the results, Kozue just shakes her head with an amused look, "Well now that you've ruined it - might as well go all in. That way the occult club will start rumors of an abominable creature around these parts." There's a pointed glance her way at the word 'abominable'. "I bet you'd become one of Ohtori's seven mysteries with a little spin."

Kozue gets shhh'ed a pace behind Sayaka, and stops in her tracks, crouching down, crossing her arms as she examines the pink-haired girl and the other targets. "I think the girl with the glasses would make the better target if you're really looking to get a reaction." She says with a light shrug, "Just look at her, I bet she'd never recover."

There's a sort of casual cruelty in how she decides that, as she scoops up a snowball into her gloved hands, packing it more and more as they wait until she has a decently sized slushy missile.

Then as Sayaka's snowball flies free, Kozue watches the results with a sorta clinical analysis. "Not bad." She says over Madoka's sneeze-giggle of surprise, "Now its my turn."

Kozue's then launches hers in an underhanded pitch, taking it in a deceptive, almost lazy arc towards the side of Homura Akemi's glasses, right where they meet the face.

She doesn't put much power on it. Then again... does she even need to?

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Friendly, pretty; it's easy to look good on this course. That's an important feature! ...Well, it is for some of them. But Mami wouldn't really want Sayaka to be censoring herself too much--even when she gets all nervy...

Trying to conceal her tracks like in the movies is terribly charming. As soon at is happens Mami smiles back--and then plays along, nodding knowingly at Kozue. "Ah, that's very important. Nothing ruins an outing like that," she agrees. A beat, "She seems to take good care of you." She in turn has gotten more comfortable around Kozue, which certainly took... a bit of interacting, given the other girl's prickly reputation. But Sayaka... Ah, well--

Mami suppresses a laugh that she can't quite hide when Sayaka's alarmed by the results. "Maybe you need a different kind of branch?" She fakes considering for a moment, 'thinking' before saying, "I'd almost like to see someone coming out here to find a great creature on the little slopes."

Duly quiet as requested, however, Mami looks with some surprise to see Sayaka preparing a snowball. "Oh," she begins uncertain but not arguing, still considering until--

Madoka laughs and waves and Mami is quickly waving back pleasantly, breaking into a similar set of giggles herself. "Oh--"

She watches Homura, not quite sure how the shyer girl will react, and in her laughing is waving to her and to Mikoto, too.

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Homura Akemi wobbles in place next to Madoka with her phone screen full of cuteness, but that's pretty normal for her. The cuteness of a kittenswarm cannot help but command some of her attention, but Homura keeps sneaking not-so-sneaky glances at bright pink eyes. Her braidtip nearly bobbles into Mikoto's shoulder as she does so -- she turns back, and gives her braidsister a little nod.

"They're taking such good care of our kittens while we're gone," she marvels. Madoka's family amazes her nearly as much as the girl herself does. "Okay, Kaname-san," comes her quick agreement after. Such a puppy-dog of a girl she is...


OST: Animal Crossing: New Leaf 3pm Snow Theme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ud8bYUcVazE

And right behind Madoka she trots, wrapped in a puffy quilted jacket so overstuffed it makes Homura look like a toasty purple marshmallow on black stilts in her leggings. Today she has her mittens carefully clipped to her sleeves, intending to lose neither. Her braids emerge from beneath the earflaps on a warm but not necessarily stylish wool cap, and her glasses fog slightly from her own exhalations.

As urged she looks around, taking in the sparkling beauty of snow on the ground and adorning thick-needled trees; she turns about once, completely, a shuffled pirouette that leaves little heaps of white stuff atop her booted toes.

"I've never seen anything like it..." Because she hasn't. Homura's been in the snow before, even in picturesque situations -- everything was just so different when witnessed through the lens of loneliness. She finishes her rotation to find Madoka looking at Mikoto and herself--

  • splat #1*


Kozue was right, Homura's the one to get a reaction from. In fact, she's already reacting as if she was the one hit, with this comically shocked moue on her face to see Madoka take a snowball to the head. Those giggles reassure her, though -- Homura just has never been the target of a friendly snowball before and tends to assume the worst.

"Your hair," she objects, still. All that snow in it! Madoka's head will get cold--

  • splat #2*


Shrieking-cold drippiness makes the first impression and it is a strong one. Homura keeps eeking, a repeated little series of objections, and hops backwards as if a belated dodge could save her. It... cannot.

Kozue was right about not needing much power behind that snowball, too.

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

In the end, it didn't seem like there was any dark plot behind THE BEARS at all. After all, even the Executives were confused. Mikoto did eventually find that bear again, napping in a cave, and so she decided that all was well.

(It's probably global warming, let's be real here.)

Rather than something she doesn't understand, let us come instead to LOCAL WARMING: because Mikoto has appeared in the lodge again, and after a lengthy lecture from the history teacher Midori Sugiura about napping where she can see her (Mikoto does not bother to correct her), she has managed to escape to the warm embrace of her friends.

She's wrapped around Madoka to see the images on her phone, big yellow eyes wide as saucers, and if Homura doesn't watch out she will absolutely just rest her head against hers, braid to braid. "Tatsuya!" She chirps, in greeting, and then she chirrups again when the kittens are revealed, but that's a feline sound instead of one meant for people. Unfortunately, her attempt to get the cats' attention by mimicing a bird is foiled by the distance of the video-call, but luckily Tomohisa is there to translate for them.

"Bye-bye!" Mikoto waves enthusiastically at the screen in response, because she still hasn't gotten the hang of worrying about looking old and mature unless someone specifically tells her she's being childish.

She still hasn't gotten the hang of a lot of things, really, but she has a lot of new friends, like Homura and Yumi, and she can tell they're not feeling well by the way they sound when they talk. She usually doesn't know what to do when they're feeling bad, but they know, so she's used to listening to them! So when she hears the breathlessness in Madoka's voice instead, her head cants in brief concern, and she nods, firmly, hopping up and pulling her up by the wrist. "Let's go!" 'Right now' is implicit in the way she tugs at her.


Black-and-gold coat, yellow mittens and hat with little kitty ears stitched on, boots in place of Ohtori flats: Mikoto is all dressed up for the cold. It's a good thing, too: she has bemoaned more than once to her friends (those gathered and those dispersed amongst the lodge) that it is cold and she does not appreciate it. It's usually a complaint which comes alongside draping herself over the nearest amiable associate. The Hokkaido trip has resulted in so many hugs, and really, isn't that the greatest measure of a vacation's success?

But it's hard to be cold in this many layers. A little chilly, perhaps. It colours her nose, though her ears are mercifully covered by flaps which are stitched at the bottom to resemble cat-paws; her breath comes out in a puff, and she holds up her hands as if to capture the sight. Tragically, like a sunbeam, steam cannot be held. It can only be chased for eternity.

Blink-blink-blink, and it's a moment of captivation which Madoka surely wasn't calling attention to, as she bids them to look. She grins at the other girl's enthusiasm, looking over the snow weighing down branches, the places where it hasn't been disturbed, the little footprints where it has, and the big footprints where people have come through instead of the native residents.

She nods, with a cheerful affirmative noise, as she turns to Madoka and Homura. She might not say it in so many words, but the brightness of her smile is clear: it's good!

And watching them as she is, she remains happily ignorant to the TERRIBLE FATE which is about to befall them.

Until something whistles past...

... splat!

Mikoto yelps in surprise as a snowball comes out of nowhere to brutally assault Madoka, eyes widening in alarm as she looks to her. Because here is the truth about Mikoto Minagi: she's still learning. There are a lot of things she hasn't gotten a hang of, here in Tokyo, and she looks to her friends to model the right response. For one awful moment she has no idea what to do in the face of what seems like an unprovoked attack by an unknown enemy.

And then Madoka starts giggling, and relief floods Mikoto's face and she laughs, too, because this must be a normal snow activity (snoctivity). Madoka starts bouncing up and down, and Mikoto turns to wave, both hands up in the air like she's guiding down an airplane.

This may have been a mistake, because Traffic Controller Mikoto is apparently guiding air Kozue. Another snowball whistles past, this one for Homura, and the squeaks of protest inform Mikoto even before she turns back that they hit their mark. Homura was worried about Madoka's hair, and so Mikoto scrambles back to catch Homura in her hopping and brush at her own beleagured braids with those warm yellow mittens, because hair getting all snowy must be important. The snowball's all slushy, so it's hard to brush out more than just smoosh in, but, you know, she makes an attempt.

"It's okay!" She insists, alarmed because Homura is alarmed. "Just snow! Won't hurt!"

That she does not immediately respond with an icy assault of her own is perhaps the most damning evidence that Mikoto Minagi has never been in a snowball fight.

There's only one person who can save Homura and Mikoto from their uncertainty now.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Madoka is completely fine being assailed, obviously, but everything changes when Homura gets nailed.

Her eyebrows snap together like someone has called them to attention.

BGM! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOy6hqzfsAs

Her fists clench, mid-pump through the air.

Her chin lifts, bold with bravado.

And then she looks backwards -- over her shoulder to check on Homura --

-- with just the gentlest, sweetest expression. A bird could settle on her fingertip, a butterfly on her nose, and it would not be out of place.

"It's okay, Homura-chan," she promises. "Everything is going to be all right."

She nods at Mikoto, firmly.

"We'll protect you."

She turns back to the hill, and her shrill scream could justify an avalanche warning if they weren't at the very bottom.

"REVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENGE!!!!" she shrieks, scooping up an oversized glob of snow and hurling it -- well --

-- despite numerous training sessions, in the name of class points on Sports Day, with Sayaka's experience and encouragement --

-- Madoka throws like a girl.

And also she's at the bottom of the hill.

  • plop*

It wobbles through the air and disappears with unceremonious silence... awfully nearby... as though a feather passing through a white silk veil.

There's a moment of quiet.

Madoka screws her eyes shut, so that her next war cry can be even louder.


And she picks up two more handfuls of snow and CHARGES, preceeded by another torrent of giggling.

BGM Swap: Wonder * Winter * Yatta!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZrUw5ShomU

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"Of course I take care of her!" Sayaka agrees with Mami. "I'd never forgive myself if I let bad guys find Kozue-chan." Oddly it feels more complimentary from Mami, since Kozue's always half-teasing. Little sisters are brats.

As the snowball lands true, Sayaka lifts a hand, clenches it in gratitude, and presses it to her chest, eyes closing tightly.

"So cute," she whispers.

Waving at Madoka happily, Sayaka looks over to the more ruthless Miki sister in alarm. "H-hey, she's just new, maybe you should get that Minagi girl instead..."

She blinks, though, a thousand-yard stare taking over as Homura Akemi meeps her way through her alarm.

"That's pretty cute too," she allows. Lifting a hand without looking, she exchanges a gloved high-five with Kozue, as Mikoto does her best to cuddle away the meeps.

Sayaka straightens abruptly as Madoka cries for revenge. "COME THEN!" she cries, gathering up a new snowball with a sweep of her hands. Rising amidst a powdery spray of snow, she draws back her arm, the very wind seeming to howl with the violence about to be unleashed between best friends--

And Madoka's snowball plops into the hill, and limply rolls back to her.

Sayaka stands with her snowball cocked back, her knee lifted for leverage. But all her momentum has dried up, and she stands frozen like a statue, her lips trembling with laughter.

The second charge sets the battle afoot again, and Sayaka slings her snowball into Madoka's center of mass with a burst of powder. Like snow shooting out the back of a plough, flakes explode up from the ground as Sayaka skids in front of Mami. "Kozue-chan! Protect the VIP!" Except she says it "oui aipy." "Madoka's secret strength is her size," she tells Kozue professionally. "In a video game everyone would yell at you if you picked her..." Indeed, though she slings snowballs rapidly, only some of them hit Madoka, and many of the misses would have been hits on any average-sized girl.

Sayaka looks over her shoulder, cheeks ruddy with cold and delight, clouds of exuberant speech visible in the frosty air as her earnest eyes sparkle back at the upperclassman. "Tomoe-senpai! Don't worry! We might be outnumbered, but Kozue-chan and me have great teamwork!"

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [None] has posed.

Chaos breaks out.

Kozue couldn't look more smug. "Nailed her."

And then Homura does her little hop and shriek, hop and shriek back, Kozue's eyes follow as if she were simply impressed by how well she judged it. "Wow that girl is the gift that keeps on giving."

And without even looking, her palm hits Sayaka's in a casual high five. Perhaps she can simply predict the girl by now after spending so long around her growing up.

Others go to her rescue, and Kozue just keeps watching from afar. "What do you think Mami-san? The girls going for her next maybe..." As if she were asking a Golden Curled Sun Tzu on the Art of War.

And then...


Kozue's gaze snaps to Madoka Kaname, as if unexpected. A snowball sails through the air and... in the moment of quiet, Kozue simply deadpans, "Well. Now I have no doubt she's one of your friends."

There's an incoming charge to be dealt with, even if it seems like little threat of all. Marching orders are given...

"Sure I'll keep her safe." Kozue agrees without any kind of defiance, perhaps she'll take any excuse when it comes to staying 'close' to Mami Tomoe.

"In games? What is this like your baseball talk?" Kozue utters, not seeming to 'get' the video game hitbox analogy since she doesn't game. "That she has a small strike zone or something?"

The same moment that Sayaka says they have great teamwork, "It's true. We do." There's a sort of sinister air to her agreement this time, like she's planning something, "In fact, I already have a winning strategy in mind - since she's so hard to hit..."

Kozue plants a hand between Sayaka's shoulder blades the moment Sayaka looks forward again.

"Go engage her in close quarters combat."

...and uses that hand to give her a light shove in Madoka's direction. Ordinarily it would probably only cause the the muscular girl only a light stumble.

Except that they're on a hill.

Did you know that little sisters can really be brats?

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"As it should be," Mami answers Sayaka, approvingly. ...Is she kidding? She might not actually be kidding. She seems to approve regardless. But as to the snow... Mami is prepared to fret over Homura; she's more than ready to provide reassurance to the shyer girl, to come ove with a little laugh and get the snow out of her hair. Except...

Except 'eek' keeps happening and Mami, as soon as she notes that things aren't devolving into tears, is giggling too hard herself for a moment to make any argument whatsoever. The truth is that, like Mikoto, Mami has never been in a snowball fight. "Hmmmm," Mami considers nevertheless, attempting to sound serious and largely failing. So she stands in her stylish coat and watches... ...the search for REVENGE. "Oh! Oh you were right that's so cute!" Mami answers, delightedly about Madoka, as the frontal assault begins, and she giggles at Kozue's deadpan too--before, of course, hearing Sayaka's orders.

Mami outright beams at the special treatment, though of course she manages a suitably dramatic nod back to Sayaka. "Of course!" she tells her. "I can tell!"

She wonders, for a moment, what Kozue is planning. ...Then she sees what Kozue is planning, as she's crouched down to get up a snowball. "That... is a good strategy," she's forced to conclude, before popping up and, "Aah--!"

Mami's aim is surprisingly(?) good for someone who claims not to be an athlete, as she throws the next right for Mikoto before she can arrive as reinforcements!! "Artillery support inbound!" she declares cheerfully.

...She might be getting kind of into this, if the small line of snowballs she made while she was crouched down is any indication...

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Caught! Homura's a skinny girl in a big fluffy coat, which makes her easy to snag and light to hold onto, happily for the first of her valiant rescuers. She stops emitting little startled sounds like Mikoto cranked shut the eek spigot.

"Oh! A-ack, um... thank you, Minagi-san." Nevermind the slush smooshed into her scalp and the icy rivulets snaking down the side of her neck. She really is grateful! But also pretty embarrassed, now certain she overreacted. "I'll be okay..."

Homura wouldn't dream of throwing snowballs herself. They'd never get there, her arm is pathetic, she'd just get in the way, and that blue-haired girl would just get her again...

Okay, that's not entirely true. She did have a brief and satisfying and utterly impossible daydream about somehow getting back at the girl who got Madoka... until she saw who it was and gave it up as impossible even for a daydream, because Miki-san is just way too cool and good at these sorts of things. Nevermind that they have the incomparable Mami Tomoe on their side -- Homura quakes, nothing to do with the cold whatsoever.

She glances to Madoka for guidance, which is already becoming a habit -- and hiccups to a halt in Mikoto's hands, gobstopped into a diabetic coma of the heart by that sweetness. It... takes her a second, and even after she recovers Homura is all starry-eyed for her avenging pink valkyrie. She doesn't see the way Madoka's snowball fluffs off so far short of their targets, and if she did it wouldn't matter one whit. That heroic stance, the bold and joyous shriek: Homura's weak heart might just burst with admiration. Such a warm feeling, being protected so fiercely!

But it's also sort of a useless one, Homura has found. She hates being a burden, hates feeling like her frailty causes Madoka and Mami and Eri grief and difficulty. Here and now, though, maybe...

Homura has an idea. Look closely and you can see the gears turn, the thoughtful expression that interrupts her own evident self-doubts.

Homura waddles through powder to a nearby drift and huddles down, working with her arms. Hurry, hurry, she thinks! Madoka needs her! Then she huddle-shuffles behind the pink-haired girl, doing her level best to catch up. "Kaname-san...!" There's an unusually urgent note to the soft voice, between the huffs and puffs of effort from what's really a very short run. And she thrusts a cradled double armful of hastily-mushed snowballs at the other girl!

Most of them promptly crumble apart and roll in sad little snowbits off Homura's jacket sleeves, not packed nearly tight enough, aaaand the girl almost dies on the spot right there -- early snowball war casualty. But there are a few lopsided lumps that might still serve.

Earnest-eyed, squiggle-mouthed, she offers up 'carefully' crafted ordnance. "Minagi-san, Kaname-san, please! I ah, I hope these help..."

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

Mikoto tries her best to assuage Homura, but it's Madoka who knows just what to do. Mikoto looks back to her, and nods firmly in turn. "Yup!"

Fighting because her friends bid her to fight...

... how could something like that ever go wrong?

Besides, even though she's screaming bloody vengeance, that's not the tone of voice Madoka uses when she's angry. That's the tone of voice she uses when she's play-fighting. It's an important distinction which she learnt from her cat friends long ago; playing is an important way to learn, but there's a difference between playing at offence and being offended for real.

Just as Sayaka and Kozue have their VIP, so too do Madoka and Mikoto have theirs. Mikoto gives Homura's shoulder one last pat-pat to try and brush the snow away, and smiles to her. "Don't worry!" She chirps, echoing Madoka's reassurances.

And then - just like so many times when they step forward to fight monsters as Homura is left to watch in awe - Mikoto turns, and faces THE BALD MOUNTAIN. (It's more of a hill, really...) Madoka's attempts to fling a snowball might fall flat on its face, but it demonstrates to Mikoto the proper snowball method, especially when she scoops up a couple more.

Here her eyes raise, to see the commander - of course it's Sayaka, the way she bellows out orders. But behind every commander is a strong girl, and here, both figuratively and literally, it is Kozue Kaoru, who seemingly betrays her fellow blunette with a shove down the hill.

Mikoto wonders briefly if turning people into snowballs is just a part of the rules. She files it away to consider later, because right now she's not on the right end of the hill to employ that sort of rule anyway. Instead she bellows a war-cry as she charges up the hill --

-- and pauses, midway up, as she realises she has forgotten to get a snowball. Here, she leans down, pat-patting the clean new snow into a neat little ball...

Mikoto, unfortunately, is even smaller than Madoka; she has not yet been here long enough for her tiny frame to grow into the benefits of hearty meals. A typical girl would need to aim for her centre of mass to have a chance. Mami Tomoe is not a typical girl, and her sharpshooter's aim has the first of many elegantly-crafted snowballs slamming straight into Mikoto's face as she straightens up with snowball in hand. She has just enough time to gape in surprise. This was a mistake. Mikoto shakes her head furiously as she staggers back, tongue sticking out with wordless complaints of 'pfah! pfah!' as she finds that her shock has only made it easier for her to get a mouthful of cold.

And, on instinct, she drops the ball she had so carefully crafted to swipe at her face with her mittens. It's a very feline sort of motion.

This would provide a perfect opportunity for blue and gold to go in for the kill, but pink and black have one key advantage: a supply train! Homura waddles up as quick as she can, arms full of what might have been snowballs, once upon a time. Mikoto doesn't know enough about snowball construction to know they're not made well; her eyes light up, and she darts in towards Madoka and her shy friendly shadow to snatch up a pair of lumpy snowballs from her arms. "Thanks!" She chirps, in complete sincerity.

But with Sayaka tumbling down, she doesn't have time to think!

Mikoto turns in revolution, and with a ferocious yell, lobs her snowballs up. Perhaps Madoka throws like a girl, but Mikoto throws like a woman; they sail up, up, and it is clear that she isn't aiming for either Kozue or Mami.

She took two snowballs.

She's aiming for both Kozue and Mami.

But whether Homura's ammunition will survive to impact...

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

It's a good thing Homura comes up to support Madoka, because she's giggling too hard to make or keep her grip on her own snowballs. She's not even halfway up the hill when she realizes she's holding nothing but a powdery memory.

But then Homura's hands are in hers... along with their payload. Madoka squeezes them both at once, which has the dual positive results of compacting the snowballs a little, and giving Homura the hug -- if only through hand-holding, a hand-hugging -- she so earnestly deserves and which Madoka so earnestly wishes to give her.

Mikoto is there too, and, without releasing Homura, Madoka turns to smile, just for her, goggle-eyed.

"W-wow, you're amazing!"

But then she sees a flash of blue on blue. It's only then that Homura is left empty-handed. It's only then that she, and some others, discover that Madoka's previous helpless stagger up the hill was a little bit of a fake.

Or, no, maybe her slipping and floundering was real.

It's just that she's only a really good runner when properly motivated.

In a pink flash, she's at Sayaka's side.


"Sayaka-chan, are you all right?" she worries, sinking to her knees beside her in the snow. Homura's snowballs thunk harmlessly to either side.

Madoka's eyes are warm as the slope is cold, as she offers her best friend a hand up.



Madoka screams bloody murder as she plunges her armful of snow directly down the exposed back of Sayaka's coat.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed. This is Sayaka's moment of glory. The nerds down there can set up supply lines like soldiers, but up here they will fight like heroes instead! The high ground empowers every throw even as it saps those of their foes. Madoka will fall, cuter than she's ever been! Snow everywhere! Her little nose will wrinkle like a bunny's and she'll sneeze!

Sayaka is grinning her swashbuckler's grin back at Mami. The upperclassman seems secure in the protection Sayaka and her kid sister have offered. Sayaka never dreamed she'd get a chance to impress her senpai like this. This is truly a battlefield for a softball club member. With a shy nod amidst growing courage, Sayaka turns her back to Mami again, and draws back a scorcher of a pitch.

Kozue's touching her between the shoulderblades.

"Eh?" Sayaka has time to ask wordlessly. Then the shove.

OST - kozue why - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khmudXrDemU

Sayaka chest outthrusts as her feet just barely leave the ground, the tips of her boots skimming the snow. Like a blind angel she floats, sightless eyes turned without comprehension to an uncaring sky. The snowball floats away from her hand slowly, in zero-gravity, flaking apart as it grows further and further from her glove. Her lips part gently, then briefly tighten in an open-mouth grimace.

Ko zu e

The ground fills everything and Sayaka can see nothing but white.

"AgGGllLBBbblLLLlch...!!" Sayaka garbles as she spins down the slope like the blades of a push-reel landmower, a cloud of white powder following her down. With a 'fwoop,' her momentum puffs away into a snowdrift, and she lies on her back, face grainy with flakes, one of her hands sticking up limply above a lodged elbow. This is how she's found by her best friend.

"Madoka..." Sayaka's weary voice is weak, but her eyes are grateful. She reaches up gently to touch Madoka's cheek with a snowdamp glove. "I am now," she says, staring hazily into Madoka's eyes.

Then, with a single smooth motion, she shoves her other hand up under Madoka's jacket, sweater, and tee shirt all in one go, and plants a handful of snow firmly against Madoka's navel.

"I'm sorry," she whispers fondly. "But you're always too cute."

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [None] has posed.

Perhaps the most endearing quality of Sayaka Miki is that she never expects these betrayals. Kozue Kaoru's hand dips into her pocket. And...

... she's holding up her phone.

And recording Sayaka's experience becoming a snowball rolling in a light cloud of powder down a hill. She only manages to get the /second/ half of the experience but still that's a memory she's saved for posterity.

Satisfied, she then kneels back down and puts her phone back in her pocket.

Mami is getting into it. Kozue idly packs a snowball behind their lines, but mosty she's teasing the girl with the Golden Curls lightly, "Ara. You can be surprisingly cute when you get into something Mami-san..."

As she expected, the girl with the glasses doesn't even dream of firing back, however she does see her packing and packing, and delivering her payload... It's a game even where those without a strong arm and sure aim can contribute.

Still she expects Sayaka to handle it, seemingly coldly inconsiderate about the plight she's put her in when... Mikoto throws.

The ill-packed snowball still manages to make it through its flight-! And then it disintegrates just above Kozue, showering her in flakes of snow. They descend upon the blue-haired girl framing her in a flurry that makes her look briefly like a Yuki-Onna.

Kozue glowers.

With a single hand, she dips her hand in her pocket. Cocking back her other arm, "Hey transfer student-!" She calls out, not realizing there are two, in reality addressing Mikoto.

Mikoto can see a shape hurling through the air. Ordinarily she could probably dodge it with ease. However then there's suddenly a bright light in her vision.

Of Kozue taking a picture with her phone... at a critical moment where a decisive defense would be needed. It's an impressive feat of phone coordination.

It is also entirely effortless for her, given how much of her life she's spent on her phone since high school.



Txt from Mickey: I heard you were out playing today. Txt from Mickey: You and your friends should take more advantage of this trip. Txt from Mickey: There are so many educational experiences to be had here. Txt to Mickey: We have been. Txt to Mickey: File Attached: girlvshill.mp4 Txt from Mickey: Is she okay!? Txt to Mickey: It was very educational for her.

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Mikoto avails herself of Homura's ammunition, and it gives her this dizzy thrill. She's helping! "Ganbatte... Minagi-san...!" Between pants to fill under-exercised lungs a cheer squeaks out, about as strong as those disintegrating powder-balls she delivered... but as packed with sincerity, too.

Then Madoka takes her offered snowballs

and her mittened hands, too,

and Homura


gobsmacks to a complete halt. The corners of her mouth quiver upward with all hesitance, like they're still not sure they're actually /allowed/ up there... but they want to be.

Madoka's away like a flash, but her warmth lingers like sunheat in sand. Overcome, Homura clasps both mittens over her mouth...

...and utterly smushes the lumpy leftovers in her folding arms.


On the horrified delay of realization, Homura drops her arms a few seconds later. White smears on purple sleeves are all that remain.

"Oh, no."

She messed it all up. A few months ago, Homura would have looked for the first ignored opportunity to trudge off, unnoticed, back to the lodge. Now: she drags her drooping chin back up and heads for an uphill snowdrift, packing more ineffectual snowballs. Maybe Madoka will give her that look again...

Homura turns to deliver her munitions in time to spy TREACHERY MOST FOUL. Sweet caring Madoka just wanted to see if Sayaka was okay, and this -- this is what she gets? Why, that might be nascent outrage on Homura Akemi's face! Sure, it's all wobbly and apologetic, just like her, but those eyebrows are unmistakably angled downward.

She ducks down, dumping all those hastily half-formed missiles, and puts all that toddling outrage into one snowball, takes her time with it. Concentration consumes her expression, violet eyes squinting down through half-fogged glasses. That outrage hones her...

And Homura produces a single... perfect... snowball. Tight-packed enough to have the mass to fly -- smooth and aerodynamic -- gleaming, like ice.

She holds it out on mittened palm like a silver arrow, ready to fit to a warrior's bowstring.

"Minagi-san! Kaname-san needs help!"

Nope, still not bold enough to actually throw it herself, it seems. She knows the limit of her throwing arm... and has already seen the strength and ferocity with which Mikoto hurls her snowballs. Homura will trust in her teammate!