2019-01-12 - TIMELINE 2: On The Night Of The Ball 1

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TIMELINE 2: On The Night Of The Ball 1

It's the second week of the new school year. A transformative time, as students acclimate to their new classes, their new classmates, their new clubs (or incessant club recruiters, for the holdouts) -- and now, tonight, their new student councils.

Elections are over, and the Sister Schools are celebrating with a shared social that really can only possibly be called a ball, because Ohtori Academy is hosting.

Passions run high on such a night. Bring your best gown and get ready for a night to remember.


Takeo Akamizu, Natsuki Kuga, Fumiko Inoue, Fuu Hououji, Niramo Umokeshi, Steven Universe, Kasagami Araki, Marinette Dupain-Cheng, Nori Ankou, Kuniko Saito, Michiru Kaioh, Rei Hino, Eri Shimanouchi, Inori Yamabuki, Shizuru Fujino, Usagi Tsukino, Nanami Kiryuu, Ye-jin Song, Utena Tenjou, Anthy Himemiya

GM: Hotaru Tomoe


Ohtori Academy - Ballroom

OOC - IC Date:

1/12/2019 - 04/17/14

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Blue Danube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CTYymbbEL4

An army of attendants, decorators, caterers and fashionistas has descended upon Ohtori Academy. Thus an otherwise ordinary spring evening is transformed into a gala. It's as magical as any henshin, and all the more impressive for the cheerfully massive amount of labor performed to get there.

Something like an inaugural ball for the new Student Councils of the Sister Schools, attendance is technically not mandatory, but strongly suggested. Everyone has been buzzing about it since it was announced on the first day of school in any event. The Juuban, Infinity and Ohtori Fashion Clubs have been lending their talents to anyone who wants their advice for weeks, when it comes to putting together the perfect outfit.

The result, in the sea of young humanity now gathering, is as varied as the tastes of the schools. If there's a theme, it's white-tie tuxedos and ballgowns, but plenty of students are some combination of more casual and more modern, when it comes to their presentation.

No matter what you're wearing, tonight the Viennese Waltz is inescapable.

There are a sum total of eight Grand Staircases, chased with gold and hung with garlands, descending to the ballroom floor. Each has an announcer, complete with trumpet. Each seems to have memorized the faces of every single Sister Schools student -- and their grade, and their club membership, or perhaps some other notable fact or affiliation -- and will announce them in bold voices as they first come in. This is a bit of a cacophany for a few minutes, but they're well-trained, staircase calls coming consecutively instead of simultaneously, such that it's kind of a surround-sound experience.

The Ohtori Rose is emblazoned on the dance floor in an inlaid pattern. The walls have pillars and filagree. The ceiling is gloriously spun of gold and glass, letting in starlight which intermingles freely with all of the candles. Even now, Kyouichi Saionji, an affiliate of the Ohtori Student Council and captain of their Kendo Club, teeters at the top of an exceedingly tall ladder, lighting the last few candles on the main, sparkling, glorious, crystal-hung chandelier. He looks cheerful.

It doesn't smell like roses, though: it smells like cherries. In the ultimate display of ostentatious wealth, heavy sakura boughs, pregnant with iconic pink blossom, have been woven into arches, creating a vast ballroom-within-a-ballroom. They've been gilded with gold leaf and silver spirals; when a spring breeze passes through the chamber, they tinkle and twinkle instead of rustling. The flowers themselves are as tiny as perfect as ever, spanning a spectrum from nearly white to almost fuschia.

There are refreshments at both sides of the massive hall, and the canapes and hors d'voeurs are as impossibly glitzy (and delicious) as could be hoped. There isn't alcohol, unless you're a teacher or a sufficiently daring student, but sparkling cider is being served in nice clinky champagne flutes. Yukino Kikukawa, the bespectacled secretary of the high school Ohtori Student Council, looks a little frazzled as she directs the kitchen staff at the perimeter of things, but the food couldn't be fresher or more fabulous.

She only needs manage food outside the kitchen. Inside, behind those swinging double doors, the Infinity Institute Culinary Program is handling everything. It is a vast tapestry of steam, chopping sounds, and fabulous smells. Yuuko Arimura, one of the Infinity High School Presidents (grade 11), is handling the details with an iron fist.

An actual professional orchestra (mingled with Sister School clubs who previously arranged for an opportunity to play with said orchestra) has come in to play. The music that fills the air is sweet, romantic, and luxurious. Tadase Hotori, the King of the Ohtori Elementary Guardians, can be seen wearing a plaid blue stole over his tuxedo instead of a full cape, and is attending to the musicians' needs, trotting gamely back and forth with water bottles, adjusting the lighting, and generally making their performance more sparkling through support. Arisa Bunnings, an Infinity Elementary School President, in a very stylish and strappy dress that might be a little bit too old for her, is matching him pace for pace and help for help.

There are butlers and maids on hand to help students with any wardrobe malfunctions, and dance instructors give 'Waltz 101' every ten minutes or so in one quadrant of the room, so that any lad and lass can be dancing with as much basic competence as they'd like to attain. Mimi Hanyu, an Infinity High School Treasurer (grade 10) and more famously known as the idol Mimete, is giving demonstration of proper form with anyone she can get her hands on. At the moment, that's the newly elected Juuban Middle School President, Mana Aida, who is almost shockingly game to be manhandled (badly) around the floor, and never loses her sunny smile.

There are tables by the refreshments, and more of them outside, where the moonlight spills alongside the music, swirling into a rose garden positively lush with little spots for smaller groups to gather, eat, and talk. Ohtori High School Treasurer Juri Arisugawa stalks-- wanders-- stalks the side paths, ostensibly to make sure nobody gets up to any mischief. It somehow feels more likely that Disciplinary Executive Haruka Suzushiro is going to bust up the cuddles; Juri is more likely to intervene only if someone is getting attention they don't actually desire.

Also in the gardens: Gurio Umino, bottle-lensed and awkward, fumbling around corners as he does his level best to be a good chaperone. The unlikely winner of the Juuban Middle School Treasury position (well, he's great at math, but historically too nerdy to be popular), he won't be left behind.

OOC: Please pose your grand entrance at the staircase! You are also welcome to pose any Sister Schools alts you might have in the
crowd, just to establish their presence (and enjoy dressing them up for the ball) but this is not required.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Natsuki doesn't normally wear ballgowns, but her best ice blue high heels went along with the strapless blue gown she wore. She wore a small short sleeve white sweater on top and she resists playing with the pearl necklace that use to belong to her mother around her neck. Her silver earrings jingled as she appraoches the stairs.

"Presenting Lady Natsuki Kuga, lady of elegance and grace!" the announcer exclaims and it takes Natsuki's full willpower to not just stomp down the stairs.

This was so stupid, but her visit was needed. Teachers were less likely to question her records of missing classes this year if she at least attended some social events.

"Best to go and just get it over with," she says as she enters the dance floor.

Before anyone can ask her to dance, Natsuki swiftly begins to head towards the garden. If she was lucky she could just hide there all night and sneak through the paths undisturbed.

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Takeo Akamizu, Kendo Club."

The Voice announces him and Takeo tries very hard not to roll his eyes. He watches Kuga strides purposely along, heading toward a Garden and holds up a hand in greeting, and blinks as she doesn't even pay attention in his direction. "Didn't wanna dance anyway." He taps his chin, "Wonder if they have Mt. Dew someplace..." He then strides in, hands in his trouser pockets doing his best to look incospicuous. Which is very hard to do considering. The boy is athletic, and with his hair pulled back into aneat (Instead of haphazard) pony tail, the White Tuxedo smartly accented in black, with a pop of black at his collar in the form of a black tie, Takeo cleans up very nicely.

He takes the stairs into the ballroom briskly, almost doing a sideways little job/shuffle down them. His eyes scanning the room for any of his friends from either here in the Academy or from Juuban. Really he'd even take a rival from Kendo. He reaches the bottom of the stairs and pauses, hands still in the pockets and glances around. His head looking left, then looking right. Not spying anybody at first, he makes his way over to the food, which is really his second love anyway (the first for confused readers would be Bacon. Duh), figuring at the least that Mikoto might show up and they can have an eating contest. Or. Failing that he can just eat. A lot. Which is honestly just as good.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

An Ohtori ball? While Ohtori seemed a bit intimidating to her, Fumiko was excited to mingle and dance the night away. The only problem - balls and parties and dancing.... those are group activities. Groups of at least two. Little Fumiko in a big crowd where she can't control the action or act her way out of is going to be nervewracking.

Nonetheless, she's ready in her finest white dress for the occasion. Simple, yet nice, long enough for her twirls to be enhanced, but not too long to trip over. A lilly in her brown hair as a subtle decoration. Shoes with just a bit of a heel to be elegant but still allow her to dance.

Despite her nerves, she is READY. Fumiko arrives at the top of the stairs, and as her name is called, curtseys with her winningest smile. THIS is the easy part. All performance.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"Fuu Hououji, Infinity Institute, archery team vice-captain!"

While Fuu isn't normally averse to social events, she's a little more wary about visiting Ohtori for them; she's been subject to one social backstabbing attempt too many for her taste. But when the Sister Schools throw a gala to celebrate *all* of the new student council officers, and when Fuu's big sister is the treasurer for Infinity's 12th-grade student council, Fuu herself kind of has to put in an appearance lest people start talking in (and about) her absence.

It's not so bad, though. Fuu is wearing a new formal gown, a layer of white underneath accented by a heavier, dark green outer layer, sleeves puffed out at the shoulders but snug along her arms - there should be no issue with a loose sleeve knocking anything over, at least not on Fuu's part. Her normal glasses have been replaced by contact lenses for the occasion, and a green hairband embroidered with silver and gold thread crosses over her head to help keep her hair controlled.

Fuu makes her way down the stairs after she's been announced, scanning the crowd for familiar faces; there are a few people she's particularly on the look-out for - mostly to meet up with, although in one or two cases, she'll be angling to avoid certain specific individuals. Still, Kuu did reassure her that nobody's going to try to sabotage her at *this* event.

This reassurance will not stop Fuu from being *really careful* how many glasses of punch are around her at any given time.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Dancing is something Niramo never really enjoyed. Being self-conscious enough to worry about making a fool of herself out in the public eye, she's never been to a school dance if she can help avoid it. And that's just the normal ones at Juuban, the one set in a dimly lit gym, a DJ on aging equipment and songs from the latest fad favorite idol group.

A ball held at Ohtori is so much worse.

But knowing that a good friend was going to be present tonight to celebrate her victory, it would be a slap in the face if Niramo didn't show up. 'Armed' with a dress designed by Maita Ena and handcrafted by Yuhira Ena, a friend of Niramo from outside the Sister Schools system, Niramo wasn't quite so sure about her chances tonight.

Then Marinette took one look at the dress and decided to make a few alterations of her own.

"Presenting Niramo Umokeshi, Juuban Middle School, member of the Cooking and Anime clubs."

Nervous doesn't even begin to describe Niramo as she starts to descend down one of the Grand Staircases, and hoping she wouldn't be a fool to go tumbling down the stairs. Dressed in a dark green strapless ballgown and matching heels, with a silver neckless and small loop earrings to match, Niramo urges herself to keep on going down the stairs.

Reaching the foot of the stairs, Niramo quickly moves out of the way of the next student to come down the stairs and looking around for someone she recognizes. Being in a major hall like this where it just screams money, the Juuban girl is almost certain people are going to give her disapproving stares if she lingers too long.

"Just a few hours. I can do this!...I hope."

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Well, if there was ever a time to make a good impression, it was now!

A fresh school transfer. So fresh they didn't even have a school record until now! But having seen more closely what school has to offer, a new student from the United States has shown up in Juuban! They havent made too much of a mark yet, and rumors abound in the 5th grade.

And tonight, the have been suggested to appear and see what the Sister Schools have to offer for those seeking a better education, a better future!

A very tall, megenta-tinted woman with a funky hairstyle comforts a child near the entrance to the ball. The child is short and rotund, with the fluffiest hair imaginable. He bears a large smile, and kind eyes. Though he exudes an aura of trepidation, it doesn't seem to deter him too badly when the woman leaves, handing him a pair of aviator sunglasses before she goes.

"Glasses are always in style. Trust me."


The child steps inside the ball. He wears a cream dress suit, with light cotton candy pink buttondown underneath. A tie worn is a deeper shade of blush. Matching shoes accentuate the outfit. A pair of aviators hang hooked from his collar.

And his eyes are full of stars as he gazes inside from the top of the stairs. "Whhhooooaaahhhh...!" What an amazing place! It must have cost so many dollars! Or wait, it is yen, right? So much of that then!

"Announcing...! Ah."

The smaller child freezes as the announcer looks down to him. The small child gets it after a few seconds, and makes a beckoning gesture. A few whispers are exchanged.

"Announcing Steven Universe, newest transfer student to Juuban Elementary!"

"That's awesome," Steven says, elated. No one has ever called out his name like that before! Radical! The child rushes his way down the stairs, suit coat fluttering, his smile so wide it is threatening to rip off his face and fly away!

"Okay, where to start?!" he muses aloud, a hand grasping his chin, an eyebrow raised! "I wonder if there is a section for Juuban students or something?"

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The newly elected Student Council President is on cloud nine, and it shows as she makes her entrance. There's no adoring crowd of sycopants or other hangers-on following her when she bursts into the ballroom though a stirr certainly kicks up as the announcer blares his trumpet and begins the announcement. Steel and white eyes peer down at those gathered with a wild and eager look to them, ambition and triumph dancing over her face as she whips past the rose garden outside.

She's a blurr of blacks, reds, and gold as she speeds by, never actually hitting refreshment tables or those in her path but going far too close for comfort. She never looks askance, yet there's a wide-eyed grin given to everyone she passes regardless, and a wink as if she's letting a person in on a personal joke that's just for them.

She might get a wide berth anyway, given her choice of steed to send crashing into the ballroom with. The brown and white clydesdale is massive even for it's breed, with a silken cover draped over it's long body depicting the ohtori rose and medieval heraldry. The creature is impeccably kept, it's mane only outshined in silky luxury by the long, impeccable flowing black locks of it's rider. The creature huffs and snorts wildly from the breakneck pace that sends it's hooves thundering down on the path up to that grand staircase.

At first it seems like the Councilor is going to charge up the stairs, but at the last second she yanks on the reigns hard enough to make them crack like a whip, and the well trained horse kicks up onto it's back legs with a skid and howl of a horse-ish cry.

The laugh that Kasagami gives drowns out the horse as it hangs there, full of joy and thrillseeking pleasure. Her voice is harsh, a little smokey, warm as huddling under a robe in front of a fireplace. There's an energy to Kasagami in the wake of her triumph, and it bleeds off of her almost palpably.

Hooves thud, and waving away the attendant that comes to help her down, Kassie unseats herself in one fluid drop that ends smoothly in a bow before those gathered. Right on cue, the trumpets blare.

Kasagami is dressed in a student council uniform, embellished even further beyond the flare of the normal one. Gold epaulettes grace her shoulders, only vaguely hidden by her trademark black leather coat. The symbol of Ohtori sits right before her heart, the top that dark crimson she always favors. A belt is studded with rubies, her ears each baring diamonds carved into roses as well. Gloves in black are silky opera ones, a black silk scarf draped over her neck. Perfectly shined riding boots crawl up her calves. And her coat is attached to her like a cape, swaying exactly in time dramatically with every step she takes as if to call even more attention to the beautiful, tall, athletic scarred young woman.

"Kasagami Araki, Grade 10! Your newly elected Ohtori Student Council President, and Captain of the Falconry Club!" r

Kasagami straightens, leaves the horse with one last pat along the beautiful beast's side, and raises her arms as she ascends the steps as if ready to embrace those on the dance floor.

"Friends! My illustrious colleagues of the many Student Councils gathered today! Beloved members of Ohtori's student body, Sister Schools partners and friends, WELCOME!" Her voice puts feeling into her words, as if she were speaking to her best friend and to a respected member of high society at once.

"To a new semester and new beginning! The time to make your ambitions known, to put in the blood, sweat, and tears to rise up and turn your dreams to reality! To grasp possiblity and opportunity with your own two hands!"

She doesn't need a microphone, her voice perfectly cutting across the room to it's corners as she raises her pitch perfectly.

"As Student Council President, it will be my pleasure and honor to work in seeing that everyone has what they need to be the bright star, the burning flame that they can embody. The faith that this institution has put in me, charged me with this most sacred of tasks is frankly humbling." Her hand goes to her chest.

"So! Tonight, meet, mingle, dance and celebrate! Love and learn about those around you, catch the dance with the girl that's been eyeing you the past few minutes!" A wink, and a chuckle.

"And simply enjoy yourselves. Get out there and have fun, make this a night to remember!" Her speech done, she swipes a flute of sparkling cider, raising it to the sky.

Then she downs it in one go, flicking her hair back and savoring the taste with half lidded eyes of joy that cast a searing look to any of her admirers along with the sensation of a smile at her lips as the light lights her face just right.

<Pose Tracker> Marinette Dupain-Cheng [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

For weeks, Marinette has been a busy, busy little bug. As part of the Juuban Fashion Club, she spent many an hour advising her fellow students on how to look good in a formal situation. As a particularly prideful member of Juuban who has been taking the semi-rivalry to heart, she's spent many an evening working on projects to help her classmates stand out as best she can.

Chloe Bourgeois might look down on the rest of them, but at least that particular snob is a Juuban snob.

From the heights of the Grand Staircase above, Marinette takes in the grandeur of the sight before her. The arches of sakura blossoms, the shining ceiling of actual gold, the sparkling lights of the chandeliers, the waltzing tones of a master-class orchestra - it's all the height of wealth and splendour, brought to life in a single celebration. It's a lot to take in, and yet the decor isn't the most important thing to this Juuban girl. She's watching the dancers with a keen eye.

Specifically, she's looking at their outfits - the gold filigree of the most elaborate dresses, the crisp lines of properly tailored suits, a hundred fashion designers surely having competed to have their respective visions on display at this occasion. A few, here and there, stand out as having picked something from the Agreste line, but the rest...there's more designers than even she's heard of.

A few faces might stand out to the crowd - if not to her, then to some imaginary impartial observer. On the fringes of the dance floor, Mai Tokiha is in a simple but elegant mustard-coloured dress. There's little fire to her presence here, though; she glances at the decorations almost as if irritated by the expense that went into them. She's a bit preoccupied to act on that action, though - her brother needed to catch his breath after a waltzing lesson, and she's kept busy fussing.

One of the faces being celebrated tonight can be found near one of the outdoor refreshment tables. Fresh from a school transfer and subsequent electoral victory, Infinity's 12th grade President stares at a cocktail weiner with confusion and delight. Hayato Nishi might stand out if only for defying fashion sense; though his tuxedo is as white as any other, the shirt beneath is black and the tie an odd shade of yellow. Perhaps a little jarring, but he seems content to sing the praises of the chefs for quite some time.

"...what was I thinking. I'm going to make a fool of myself, and I'll be banned from the event, then expelled from the Sister Schools entirely and forced to sew together burlap sacks for a living-" There's a nudge from behind her, a reminder from whoever's behind her in line, and she shakes off the vision of absolute despair. The staircase beckons, and Marinette takes a deep breath before stepping forward.

Trumpets blare, highlighting hesitant steps as the Juuban girl descends the staircase. "Presenting Marinette Dupain-Cheng of Juuban - Eighth year, Fashion Club!" Her steps hesitate at that last title, as if to realize that there might be expectations now - but there's nothing to do but keep going.

Her dress is pink at its core - a colour of which she's fond. It's cut in a hybrid style; the upper half is slim, covering her neck while leaving shoulders and arms bare. A Chinese style - but the lower half, the skirts, billow forth in something more often seen in French dresses. There's layers just visible, faintly shifting in colour. And the colour - while predominately pink, streaks of black and Juuban red weave throughout in an entwining pattern.

It's unique. A Dupain-Cheng original design, hopefully elaborate enough to stand out amid whatever Ohtori's money or Infinity's talent could produce.

...and then she stumbles, four steps from the floor, and descends that last distance quickly enough that the grandeur of her entrance is kind of undermined. Nothing can be perfect, and she blinks a few times before she can really regain her bearings. Letting out the breath she'd been holding the whole way down, Marinette makes her way towards those sakura arches. In a minute, she can look for friends; in the meantime, she can listen to speeches and regain herself because she feels like she hasn't slept in days.

...she might not have. Passion and spite were far better fuels than mere caffeine.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

KUNIKO SAITO is lingering somewhere in a blue dress with a lavender sprig in her hair. She isn't serving food tonight. She doesn't know what to do with herself but on some level this is thrilling. There is a world outside of the kitchen, after all... even if that's her favorite place. You need an adventurous spirit to master cuisine...

MICHIRU KAIOH is in a glamorously sparkling dress that makes her seem like a mermaid on the sea, her gray-green heels seeming to glide across the floor, a perfect aquamarine gem - if perhaps one already occupied.


Nori approaches the staircase.

Nori has gone with an Audrey Hepburn-style little black dress instead of something in a glamorously splashy color. Her hair has been pinned up in a bun and she has a sparkling gauzy shawl over her shoulders, the same material forming a ruffing half-veil that suggests a shy hairstyle over her left eye. That veil is in the fringe of a small cap, which is pinned in place; the little fascinator-hat is black silk, yes, but it has swirling chinoserie embroidery to add to its eye appeal.

So, it's certainly a retro look. She walks with perfect comfort in her low heels as she descends, letting one gloved hand brush over the railing as she is announced-

"Nori Ankou of Ohtori - Eighth year; the Fencing Club!"

For a moment, Nori falters - is she really a fencer? But it's not untrue. She turns a hand, bringing up a crimson folding fan that she had to veil her lips, as well as her coloring cheeks. But fortunately even further, she is thrown off her wobbling near-occasion of despair and anxiety by the bombastically enthusiastic words of Kasagami. "Ohoho," she half-laughs, before she strides forwards.

And near Marinette she murmurs, not looking at her too directly, "You are alright? If you twisted your ankle, don't let it ride. You'll surely not be alone."

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Now announcing the lady Rei Hino, Ohtori middle school second year and proud member of the Archery Club! Involved in public life as a Hikawa shrine maiden and member of the Community Festival Promotion Committee, we can expect no less from the daughter of Takashi Hino!"

Give her credit: Rei doesn't stop smiling, though the expression grows a little more fixed in place, like a trophy screwed to the mantlepiece. The hand which rests delicately on that staircase banister is wrapped in a long black sleeve; the one which rests at her other side, fingers curled just so, is boldly bare at the shoulder. The asymmetry lends her black dress an immediate interest; teal and silver sequins wrap about her waist, loosely coiling around her like a long, long feather, and the skirt gathers folded around her until it falls about her ankles. She wears delicate silver heels, and her long black hair is held back on the opposite side to her bare shoulder with a single casablanca lily, pinned into place behind her ear.

Of course, she thinks, as she descends with perfect deliberate grace, it's a waltz.

It's not that Rei can't dance, it's just...

A girl in elegant Ohtori gold smiles foxlike as she approaches. "My," she says, "what an illustrious legacy, Rei-san. I'm surprised you didn't run for Student Council!"

"Unfortunately," Rei replies, the picture of propriety, "I do not believe I have the time to devote to such a demanding position. I'm sure you understand," and she does not say, 'because you're known to be late to all your classes.'

The girl sniffs, and turns on a heel. "Excuse me," she says, as she goes to the refreshments table. She has to push past a girl in a blue and white dress which looks too big on her tiny frame, and who is utterly oblivious to anything except the snacks. Mikoto Minagi is easily occupied, and doesn't really care about the social implications of a ball like this.

Rei, on the other hand, has to worry far too much about them. Perhaps that's why she approaches Fuu, as a fellow Archery Club member - albeit from a different school. Her Infinity affilation, in fact, may be the entire reason she approaches her. Her congenial smile might be a little more practiced than it is at cross-school archery meets, but she seems warm enough; she's gotten better at not snapping at everyone, since her friendship with a particular girl began.

(Rei privately hopes she doesn't show up, because she has a delicate house of cards balanced in Ohtori, and there's nothing worse for intricate plans than a rampaging rabbit.)

"Fuu-chan," she greets her - it used to be 'Fuu-san', but once again, she's gotten better at familiarity for some mysterious reason. "You look wonderful. I hope Ohtori is treating you well." She doesn't see the need to get into why she'd ask that particular question.

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

It's all so terribly exciting--the enthusiasm, the magic is palpable, writ on starry eyes and shining jewelry to go with the perfect attire on display. Anyone would call it an ideal night, really. And the Student Councils are hard at work...

...Though frankly, one of the Vice President's most deft tasks was making it seem as if Natsuki Kuga's presence here would have any effect whatsoever on her mysteriously unremarked-upon attendance record. Did those records go missing again?

...But after the President's arrival, one figure is by no means a blur. No, the brown-haired young woman pauses at the top of the westernmost of the Grand Staircases, mild gaze cast out over the ballroom. Trumpets sound--

"Now presenting Shizuru Fujino! Twelfth year, in her second term as Vice President of Ohtori Academy's High School Council!"

Shizuru smiles pleasantly but ultimately vaguely at the introduction, and walks down the stairs with all the grace one wouldn't expect of someone in heels... and certainly doesn't display any hurry in doing so. The announcer glances between her slow steps and the next student to be announced nervously, but says nothing.

For once--and this is the real surprise that many Ohtori students in the crowd stop and murmur about--she is in formal and not traditional attire, instead favoring a strappy purple dress, a light shade, the fabric showing a light sheen, her shoulders bare but for gold ribbon laced into the straps. Her hair is up, perfectly done, with a beautifully ornate pin; about her arms is a wrap in perfect white, and at her left hand, naturally, is the Rose Signet of Ohtori's Student Council.

Eventually she makes her way down, and at the bottom of the stairs stops beside a younger girl who waits for her senpai. Shizuru looks kasagami's way before to hers, and leans closer, "Our President is so charmingly rambunctious, isn't she? Already engaging in horseplay, and she's just arrived."

The other girl blinks, as if unsure what she just heard. "W-what, senpai?"

"Hm?" Shizuru replies, and smiles blankly. "Were you saying something?" Shizuru asks. The girl stammers a little, "Um, y-you were--"

"Asking how you're enjoying the party, naturally."

"Oh, I... it's... lovely...?"

Shizuru nods, magnanimous. "That's very good. Why don't you get some air? You seem a little flustered."

She continues along, vaguely in the direction of the gardens, meandering along the path--

And somehow, Shizuru practically materializes directly to the left of and behind Marinette when she pauses. "My," she says pleasantly, "What a lovely design."

She has a small glass in her hand, and behind her there is a blonde girl who looks very annoyed but can't quite manage any words.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Fumiko's simple, plain, subtle entrance was a far cry from what she was planning. A brilliant twirl as her dress swooshes, dramatic gymnastics to catch everyone's eyes, perhaps a tiny speech. But no, she decided NOT to be the center of attention; she wants to just 'hang out' for once.

A good thing too, as she would certainly have been upstaged and out-shown - or is it out-shone? - by Kasagami's beautiful and brilliant horse-assisted entrance and speech. Her mouth hangs open for a second, her green eyes staring blankly. She was in awe.

That passes after awhile, and she gives Kasagami a polite applause. She can't be stunned that easily, she'll have to make an even grander entrance next event! This simple white dress wouldn't do. Perhaps she could get some fashion advice from someone. Perhaps Rei, whose dress really stands out, or Marinette... doesn't she make costumes for her -er, the - drama club? She strides towards her with a friendly smile. "Oh hiii!"

But someone else seems to be there, ready to swoop in and steal Marinette. Mid-wave, she sheepishly puts her hand down and walks towards Rei. Though Shizuru wouldn't be too bad to ask either. Her attire definitely stands out as well.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Natsuki is getting closer to the garden but pauses as she spies Shizuru talking to another girl she doesn't reconize. She debates continuing but decides she at least owes Shizuru a quick hello. Afterall, she was part of the reason Natsuki hadn't gotten kicked out of school yet for all of the classes she missed.

She picks up the helm of her dress, as she gets closer she blushes slightly at the formal outfit Shizuru is wearing. She always looks so nice in traditional clothes, Natsuki forgot how nicely formal wear suits her too.

"Evening, Shizuru," Natsuki greets and then gives a nod to the other girl. "That is a nice dress," and she means it too. If it was a different colour, it would probably be a dress Natsuki would consider to wear herself sometime.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"I'm late! I'm late!" Comes a distant voice which becomes a less distant wail just after the speech, "I'm going to miss Rei-chan's grand entrance at the ball!" Usagi Tsukino runs past the girls waiting to be announced - "Excuse me! Coming through! Emergency!" - which leads her into a hopping stumble as she nearly loses one of her flats, recovering just to high tail it to the top of the stairs, where she finally stops jogging in - a smartphone clutched in hand in the video phone.

She's dressed in an evening dress with a cream colored top, a dark bow with a lovely synthetic pink carnation tucked into it around the waist. Below the waist it is white, with embroidered flowers that evoke the image of the top.

The announcer attempts to continue, "And here we have..." He trails off into nothingness, and whispering can be noted like he's trying to figure this out. Usagi stands there frozen for one second. Two seconds. Three. Before he finally decides upon, "...girl! In... a lovely evening dress. Is that a Dior? It... it must be..."

It is most decidedly not a Dior, but simply a dress made in a similar design to one of their famous vintage dresses.

Now having the spotlight on her, Usagi caught between the idea of retreat and continuing decides to swallow, and continue, grasping at her skirts with the fingers holding the phone as she starts to descend, her other lifting in a wave - fingers wiggling as she does. A smile plastered onto her face. It mimics how a girl might think royalty would enter one of these things, and not well.

All the same with every step she's getting swept in the scent of cherries. The elegance. There's something strangely nostalgic about attending a ball in a way she doesn't understand...

She's halfway down when someone stands on tip toes to whisper into an announcer's ear, and he immediately pipes up to run it together in an overcorrection, "Usagi Tsukino of Juuban - Ninth Year - Nap Club! ... wait Nap Club?" The announcer realizing the error immediately tries to make the best of it by stumbling into a little joke, "Sounds like we have ourselves a real sleeping beauty!"

Usagi pauses for a half beat at that, just long enough to see the head of a familiar elementary schooler take three steps away from the announcer, grinning from ear to ear. Usagi's face becomes a parody of indignity and embarrassment combined for a few moments, before she appears to laugh it off and keep going, continuing in her wave. "It's alright... it's alright..." She sing songs to herself just as she reaches the bottom step. "... we'll just have a talk later."

Usagi wants to hit up the refreshment tables to stress eat all this fancy food, but instead of doing so, she walks off to the side, and stands on her toes trying to spy... her eyes light up. Wending her way through the crowd of students, all the way to Rei Hino and Fuu Hououji as she heads inside her personal space to say, "Rei-chan! I told you I was coming! Why didn't you wait for me!?"

Her expression is one of pouty lips, as she raises her smart phone prop to illustrate, "If you'd been fashionably late I would have caught your entrance to the ball!" She says a little sulkily.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

It's only after a few tense moments of slipping by through the crowd, but already Niramo is noticing there was someone missing from the ballroom. For what the ball was announced for in the first place, surely Kasagami Akari would be one of the first ones here, full of vigor from her dream coming true. Did she get waylaid somehow, or was she being held up with secret backroom School Council politics?

No. Kasagami just wanted to make one -heck- of an entrance. Did Ohtori actually had giant horses like that on campus?!

Niramo stays quiet through it all, silently envious of the confidence that the new President has. Despite having met each other only a few short months ago, Niramo knows that her new friend has that charm that only a natural leader has. With a voice that carries through the hall to ensure that all can hear it despite the chatter, she delivers yet another rousing speech that's sure to have someone feel like they can take on the world.

That person has been Niramo at least once in these few short months.

At the end, Niramo is clapping all she is worth, despite the glares she is sure to get from the students around her for how 'unladylike' it is. "Congratulations, Kasagami-san! I'm sure Ohtori Academy is proud to have you!"

A few moments later, Niramo comes across Marinette through the crowd, and her mouth drops open for a few moments from shock. The fashion designer of Juuban may have left a hint or two about how her dress would be like, but to actually see it in person... "Marinette-chan, I think you have outdone yourself. I mean it."

Leaning in slightly, Niramo does her best to whisper to Marinette, her voice dripping with worry. "-Please- tell me you didn't stay up all last week to get this done?" It might explain all the energy drinks Marinette has been drinking recently...

And Marinette's dress is attracting quite a lot of attention, which is surely good news! Several people have already complimented Marinette for her dress, and if they find out that she made and designed it herself...well, it could be her lucky break! Fumiko is here as well, drawn in like a moth to the lamp by Marinette's dress, and Niramo waves a gloved hand in greetings. "Fumiko-chan! Are you doing well tonight?"

Funny how a few friendly faces can make it feel like her nerves were not as strung like a violin.

<Pose Tracker> Nanami Kiryuu [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Rock and Roll Lifestyle - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyu6KEDKQTw

A small oily brush elongates the dark lashes over a placid blue eye.

"Today we're here with new Ohtori Middle Student Council President Nanami Kiryuu. Kiryuu-san, my name is Chie--"

"Harada-san," Nanami's bare lips finish for her. The makeup artist hasn't gotten there yet. "I'm familiar with your excellent work."

A overly-intense girl with short brown twintails is holding a notebook above Chie's head from behind. In black permanent marker is written CHIE HARADA, OHTORI STUDENT JOURNALIST.

"It's good to be recognized, Kiryuu-seitokaicho. Come to think of it, you're the second President Kiryuu Ohtori's had lately, aren't you?"

Puffy doll cheeks, currently being powdered beneath bright vanity lights, plumpen with a bland smile.

"It's my honor to follow in my brother's footsteps, as he moves on to new opportunities."

"What do you think of the new high school Council President? The race between her and your elder brother wasn't always a polite one."

A lacquered peach nail pauses over a row of bare lipsticks, their tubes uncapped. Perhaps in reaction to the query, that nail shifts two shades to the left (towards the more vivid end of the spectrum), and gently taps in front of the desired hue. The makeup artist retrieves that tube.

"Is that what you've been writing?" Nanami asks.

"It's what people have written."

"I've heard it's bad journalistic practice to write in..." A marker squeaks.


"Passive tense." There is a rattle as the remaining two dozen lipsticks are dumped into the trash can, cascading one by one in a torrent as the display rack is tilted. They were opened once, you see. Nanami smiles sweetly. "But I suppose we're only talking."


Nanami's sweet smile is being painted crème de pêche as she holds it.

"Do you have any policy focuses in mind for your tenure as council president?"

"Oh, I've never been very good at policy." Nanami's nails hover over an open hardwood box offered by her wardrobist. It features a thick silken bow in a pale green. She snaps her fingers, and that bow is set aside, to be replaced by another in black. "I believe I was elected to listen, not to give orders... maybe I'm too shy for leadership." Another snap.

"Would you say you have any other differences from your older brother?"

A white bow. Snap. "Well," Nanami giggles insipidly. "I am much shorter."

"You seem to have an interest in fashion."

"I'm just a girl from Ohtori." Nanami's fingers press together and nearly slip apart, but they pause. This bow is in plum. Setting her hand back down on her lap, Nanami ignores it, and this is taken as assent. An assistant is behind her, tying off the lacing on a delicately embroidered corset. Standing just as the knot is tied, Nanami spreads her arms to the side. There is a sound like a train made out of textile barrelling down a clotheshanger track, as Nanami tilts her head humbly. "I just like clothes."

A mile of orange and yellow silk rushes between Chie and Nanami, blocking the interview for a swirling, pleated minute.

"Do you have any plans for making your mark on the first night of your presidency?!" Chie shouts faintly through the sound.

"Nothing special." Six fawning hands smooth an elbow-length glove down over one of Nanami's arms. Her voice floats from the storm.

"Help those new to Ohtori social life feel more comfortable." Twenty-three different shades of peach varyingly smear an empty cardboard box in the trash can, labelled DISSOLVING FABR before the lettering is erased by rosewood cosmetic. A glove is coaxed down Nanami's other arm.

"Congratulate others who have won the privilege of serving Ohtori Academy." Beneath the cardboard box is a torn and crumpled picture.


The cloth has curled up neatly around Nanami, leaving her wearing a slim-fitting saffron gown with a vast, butterfly-like plum bow resting at her back. "And enjoy the company of my beloved friends and classmates." Keiko, Aiko, and Yuuko fall into place behind Nanami, the lattermost discarding the notebook with all the marker in it as she picks up a handbag instead. Nanami glances back at them for a moment with assessing eyes. Her gaze fixes on Aiko. Tsking, she gently shakes her head at the gown the girl has suggested. A rictus of misery stretches her features to ugliness, and Keiko and Yuko suddenly pretend she does not exist, stepping in closer to alter the formation.

"I hope this new position never ruins this positive attitude you have," Chie says drily.

The doors swing open, bathing the dressing room in angelic light. "Such grim talk, Harama-san," Nanami says in innocent distaste. "Everyone knows nothing bad can happen at a party." The white light envelops her fully as she strides out into the party.

And there she is, saffron and purple and blonde because of course she is, atop the stairs with the best dressed 66% of her coterie, gazing down with a painfully benevolent smile at the rampant horse of a new president. She ignores her own announcement, though her entourage curtsies dutifully.

"Oh," she says in Kasagami's direction as the King dismounts. "What a well-combed animal has arrived in the ballroom."

She smiles cutely, never looking at the horse.

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.


"Louder, please."


"Louder, pleeease~"


"Thank youuu~" Ye-jin's hands make dual OK gestures, index fingers and thumbs touching together with a bright smile as she descends one of the long ballroom staircases. She wears a scarlet ballgown like of a more modern cut, a pattern of golden leaves marking the hems and decorating the front, shimmering in the light along with the diamond-studded hairband that's worn in the ringlets of her wine red hair.

This is, actually, her first Ohtori ball. Which is probably why she stops halfway down the stairs to gape at Kasagami arriving to the party on horseback. This causes a small traffic jam before she makes polite applause and finishes the rest of her descent, dark heels touching to the marble floor and carrying her into the crowd proper. Soon she has a flute glass in hand and she's making the rounds.

This is something she's practiced at. She may be new to Ohtori, but not its glamorous lifestyle. She greets, mingles, smiles at those she knows and those she doesn't. A few faces are picked out of the crowd for visiting later, but she's got one in mind for her immediate attention.

The new Student Council president is the first real target, Ye-jin winding her way over in Kasagami's direction. "Congratulations, Araki-san." Her glass is raised briefly, adding, "I can't wait to see how you'll change Ohtori." Not that Ye-jin knows what needs changing, or has been around to experience Ohtori at all, but it seems like a nice thing to say.

<Pose Tracker> Marinette Dupain-Cheng [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

From her position by the sakura arches, Marinette gets to see the world revolve round and around. The endless waltz of social positions and pointed comments is at a level rarely seen at Juuban, and part of her position here is just taking in the sights. It's a grand occasion, and yet something still seems missing - that spark of near absurdity that only Ohtori can truly manage.

Then President Akari rides through the ball on an actual horse. There it is.

Moments after that bewildering passage, Niramo catches up with Marinette before the converse can occur. "I wasn't sure it would be enough, Niramo-chan, but thanks. And...I guess, if you ask nicely, than I won't tell you." Her smile is a little pained, the shadows under her eyes noticeable to a good friend. "It was for a good cause, in my defence..."

But the show must go on. Ever another grand arrival, ever another passing face or voice. The approach of Ohtori's Nori Ankou - the same year, but another school entirely - is a bit of a surprise, and her concern moreso. "Me? No, no, it's fine - " Marinette waves frantically. "I'm just catching a bit of breath, I didn't get all that much sleep last night..."

And another - Shizuru Fujino, a member of Ohtori's Student Council. Marinette blinks several times at the compliment, briefly starstruck and bewildered - and again, as Natsuki throws in her own compliment. Marinette's getting a little surrounded, and it's flattering and confusing and she hasn't slept much for the last week and her friend seems to have disappeared somewhere-

"I - er - thank you? I kind of wanted to show some school pride - " With one hand, she indicates one of the crimson streaks winding its way along her side. " - so I decided to try making something to show, er, that."

Is that a good thing to say? Is it too prideful? In for a penny, in for a pound. "Anyway, I just hope it's up to the standards here - your school has done a very nice job of hosting us all, Fujino-senpai." She looks up, for a moment, taking in the glittering starlight - it's nice.

And part of her feels kind of small.

But she can't back down, if she wants to ever make a name for herself. She levels her gaze on the people before her, and tries to muster the confidence to smile back.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kassie hasn't yet taken to the dance floor, as much as she's itching to do so. No, as far as she's concerned, it's her Council-given duty to mingle and be seen. Business before pleasure. Her gaze first alights onto Shizuru and her unflashy yet graceful entrance. If she caught the barbs thrown her way? She doesn't react as such.

She does clap for Shizuru's entrance, admiring her and her dress.

"Aren't I so lucky to have such a vibrant and poised Vice President?" She offers to a wandering student, a short haired girl who blushes as the President leans down to kiss the 'maidens' hand. She's away quickly though, leaving the poor girl slightly stunned and rubbing her hand distractedly.

Nanami's barb, unlike Shizuru's, is plain as day to Kasagami. She doesn't immediately stab back no matter how much she wants to cleave down the younger Kiryuu. No, her attention is first on Ye-jin.

Kassie has acquired another flute, this time for show. YJ gets one of the young woman's beaming grins. Her gaze is intense as she admires the scarlet ballgown, intentionally doing so slowly.

"Thank you! I have to admit, I was a little bit nervous. But maybe how close things were is to be expected given it's coming from someone nearly peerless as a Kiryuu!"

She raises her voice, finally eyeing Nanami.

"If it wasn't for Nanami-chan, I might have begun to think that the Kiryuu star is starting to fade though. Ahh, well, old houses tend to rot when it's patriarch leaves it unkempt."

A chuckle, long. "You look lovely tonight, Ye-jin-san. With you at the helm, I have high expectations for the Dance Club. Show the rest of the Sister Schools that Ohtori shines the greatest and moves with elegance beyond anyone else!" Then if Ye-jin allows it, Kassie will grasp her shoulder with one hand in a companionable squeeze and clink of a glass with the other.

Riding boots then start her pounding her way over to the knot of people formed near Rei. She's not there yet, but her intentions are clear! Niramo gets a grin. "Victory is sweet, Nira-san! But even sweeter is the honor of helping lead Ohtori in shaping a brilliant generation of sharp minds and insatiable competitive spirits!" She must believe some of what she's spouting, given the intensity in her voice.

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Plopping some delight from the food table into his mouth that has Bacon on it, Takeo blinks as Kasagami arrives on a freaking horse. "I think she stole my schtick." He says blinking and absetly plopping another six appatizers into his mouth. One between each word, and without missing a beat or word. He raises an eyebrow and shrugs. He's pretty sure Sparkles would have looks totes adorbs in a dress, but he doubts he could have gotten her to a ball. She's not exactly a horse that is fond of dancing.

Having finished off that plate, He saunters over toward Kasagami on her relatively large horse. Memories flood into his brain giving him details and noting the quality of the animal, though the memories are confused on the breed, since the Clydsedale didn't exist until MUCH later than lancelot's memories. However he can tell the TYPE of horse and he smiles as he approaches Kasagami. "Araki-san." He says with that roguish grin of his. "I pictured you as more of a warhorse type, not a simple draft horse. You can kind of tell a person from how they fight, and I've gone against you enough in Kendo to get a feel." He shrugs a shoulder. "It's a nice horse, but it's a farmer's. Though, I suppose it might be the closest thing to a Destrier these days." He smiles up at her. "Can I help you off your high horse and offer a hand in a dance?" He gives her a slight wink. "Vous savez, si je ne suis pas trop paysan pour notre estimé président du conseil des étudiants"**

He blinks. Where did that come from? But quickly the confussion is shook away and he shrugs a shoulder. "I know you might be a touch busy. But thought I'd offer."

    • "You know, if I'm not too much of a lowly peasant for our esteemed Student Council President." Translated from French of course. (tm)
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"Rei-san, good evening to you," Fuu smiles, bowing politely to one of the few Ohtori students she's on openly friendly terms with. Perhaps it should be -chan in return, but Fuu is consistently polite, even (if not especially) to her friends. "Thank you - and your dress is marvelous! So elegant and so pretty, I'm somewhat curious where you procured it."

She doesn't quite have time to answer how Ohtori is treating her tonight when Usagi turns up. Fuu just takes it in stride, though, smiling and bowing to the twintailed blonde. "It's good to see you as well, Usagi-san, and I love your dress! I didn't know Juuban had a Nap Club, though; it sounds like a useful field of research. I've read that there are correct ways to take a nap - the timing, the conditions and location - factors that help your brain refresh itself more efficiently for the rest of the day."

Either she doesn't realize Usagi was pranked on arrival, or she's attempting to play along - maybe to help turn it to Usagi's benefit, even?

Fuu's attention shifts back to Rei. "At any rate, nothing terribly untoward seems to have happened yet. I hope Araki-san's horse was properly disciplined about passing through the ballroom, though; hopefully the dance floor is unimpaired."% She pauses, glancing back in Kasagami's direction. "I didn't realize Ohtori had a Falconry Club ..."

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

It turns out that Fumiko WILL go see Marinette after all! Since Niramo is with her. She feels like she is being pulled in two directions, but she makes up her mind. "Hello, Niramo, my dearest friend. Er... and only." she chuckles quietly and winks. "For now, anyways. I see you don't have a friendship deficit. Care to introduce me?" She gestures to Marinette, then turns to her. "It is nice to talk with you. I hope the party is going quite well for you." She quickly grabs the nearest Hors d'oeuvre without looking, breaking a piece off and sticking it in her purse while she gently nibbles on it. "Hm. Not bad."

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Well, picking an activity to do would be a good idea, but first everyone has to address the elephant in the room. Or rather, horse. Some young lady literally callops in on the biggest horse imaginable. Steven, being near the staircase, abruptly backs the heck on up and just stands there as he watches this unfold. He has not proper reaction to what he is watching, expressed through confounded excitement.

"Hiiii miss person!" he calls nicely to its rider. "I like your horse!" A tender little smile is given her way. According to her announcement, she is the president of the school! That has to be really important!

He would have to ask Lars if school presidents rode horses back in Beach City.

He will surely be honest.

A look around to see if there was possibly someone he saw from his day or two at class here, but so far, no one is seen that he recognizes. Though it seems more and more presidents of varying clubs or councils are arriving fashionably late! Should he have done that?

How are they able to throw these kinds of soirees? Suppose with this kind of student body they may have the funds to do so!

Though more than anything the dance floor seems quite inviting, though he doesn't quite know how to dence! Instead, perhaps watching the tutuorials may help learn a thing or three. "I hope Juuban does cool stuff like this too!"

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Flowers On The Wall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9f7uhZcbfQ


The newly occupied room in the East Dorm is fabulously clean, but for a teenager accustomed to a life of grime (at least, to certain acceptable levels), it's a little bit unsettling. Utena, stretched out on the linoleum floor, pushes up from another splits-situp that accidentally confirmed the absolute lack of dirt there, and looks over at her roommates.

They're playing Go Fish.

The monkey is winning.

It's very quiet... so quiet that the grandfather clock in the hallway is loud.

Utena listens to her own heartbeat.

To the scrape of card on card.

To the click of tongue on teeth.

To the sound of her own voice, replaying in her head, when, an hour ago, she was asked if she was attending the inaugural ball, and shrugged, then replied offhandedly:

'Nah, Himemiya, that isn't really my idea of a good time... not my style.'

Too quiet.

...there's a ring at the bell.

"COMING!" yells Utena, strangely relieved, and charges downstairs, then back upstairs with some unexpected packages. THUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMP go her stocking feet, in either direction. Except for the last step, where there was a pause, then a THUMP!!, which implies that she leapt.

She crashes back into the room, with enough momentum that it takes a full two seconds for her hair to catch up with the rest of her.

"Wow, Himemiya," she breathes, reading the note attached to the first box. There are fireworks of excitement going off in her eyes. "You were nominated for Dance Queen? I had no idea..."

Utena looks up, looks over at the two of them and their card game, and brings the box for its owner to inspect.

"That's totally cool, like, wow! And look, they sent you a dress! I guess a lot of people really like you a lot!"

So much for Wakaba's rumor slash warning that Anthy was incredibly unpopular for having committed a lot of dark deeds on popular boys.

Her smile widens with relief at the thought -- this, why it matters to her that Himemiya is apparently as beloved as she deserves to be, she does not examine at all -- and she stretches one arm over her head, the other one across the back of her neck to meet it at the shoulder, and waits for her unexpectedly popular companion to open it, beaming all the while.

While rocking back and forth on her toes. Her energy's far from spent. She expresses it one calf stretch at a time. You could call it impatience and you'd be right, but you could also call it eagerness and you'd also be right. Let's compromise and call it anticipation.

COIN FLIP: Shizuru Fujino flips a coin. It lands on tails!
<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

For once, Shizuru is surprised; as soon as she shifts her attention to the side, there's Natsuki approaching--blushing, even.

Shizuru dips her head in greeting back to Natsuki, and if her smile is just a little bit wider or her eyes are just a little more engaged, then it's surely Marinette's imagination.

"Thank you," Shizuru replies smoothly, and casually adds, "If you like it, then I'm sure I chose the right one."

"The blue suits you. I'm happy that you decided to join us tonight."

Then she turns towards Marinette and nods a little deeper. Were they really barbs she sent at Kasagami? Or does she just appreciate the pun?

"I think that's a lovely idea," Shizuru says warmly. "Yet more proof of how good this collaboration is for the entire student body, really. You say you made this yourself, and designed it?"

A little laugh, at the talk of compliments. "That's kind of you," Shizuru says, and it may be clear then that she's not laughing at her. "But what's most important is whether we're making you feel welcome, naturally."

Something that may be obvious or may not is that Shizuru speaks with a different accent than most of the students here. "I'll have to keep my eye on you. May I have your name?"

"...So," she says to Natsuki meanwhile, "Have you made it out to the gardens yet?"

She is definitely teasing.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Natsuki gives a nod. "Thanks..and you look nice too, Shizuru," and glances at Kasagami. Did..did she actually arrive on a horse? Granted, she had seen weirder. Then marinette rambles and bit and Natsuki cracks a small smile. "Hey, if it helps you're showing more school pride than I do normally."

Shirzuru questions causes her to blink but only for a second before she shakes her head. "Naw, not yet. I was actually on my way there when I spotted you." She gives a slight chuckle. "I figure you wouldn't forgive me if I came here without at least seeing you."

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

If anything, Rei seems to be carefully eliding Kasagami's brash entrance, giving it no reaction at all. She's quite familiar with her efforts; she seems to think the two of them have something in common with their political families.

It's a great way to irritate her.

Her purple eyes spy a girl on approach - and she doesn't look like she's familiar with the Ohtori trends, either. She waves to the girl who shares her taste in lilies over sakura and roses, but doesn't object when Fumiko alters course.

"Oh, thank you!" Rei smiles, on the topic of her dress. "It was this lovely little dressmaker in Shibuya --"

'... girl!'

Rei's smile grows a little more fixed once again as she looks towards one of the staircases. Underneath her curved lips, her teeth clench together. "U-sa-gi-chan..." The way she growls out that name is entirely counter to the elegance she has presented. Nap club. Of all the ridiculous -- that's not even a club, Usagi, get it together!

In the distance, a small cluster of girls gasp in utter scandal as someone closes into Rei-sama's personal space. (As members of her fan club, they would never dare to get close to her.) Rei staggers, that picture of grace ruined as soon as she has to commit to spontaneous motion. "Usagi-chan, I told you not to come!" She snaps without thinking, glaring daggers.

There's a titter as two students whisper nearby, and Rei takes a deep breath and fixes her smile on again. It isn't very convincing any more. "I mean," she clarifies, clearly, "it is lovely to see you -- get off of me," she adds in sharp whisper as she steps back, before her voice returns to normal volume, "but it is certainly a surprise..."

She moves smoothly into Fuu's next topic. Well - as smoothly as she can, in any case. "Oh, yes, Ohtori has all sorts of clubs. It is an... eventful place." Her smile twitches, a little.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Marinette gets a resigned smile and a shake of the head. As much as Marinette goes out, she needs to learn to stop pushing herself before she burns herself out. At least she's right about the dress. "It is, and I know she is going to hate being upstaged when she sees it." A hand holds up a cellphone out of a purse (which was mysteriously on a game app), and Niramo taps the camera lens. "And i'll be taking a picture when it happens!"

There's no fakery to the smile Niramo is sporting when Kasagami goes by! "You're going to do great, Kasagami-san. I'm only from Juuban, but if you ever need any assistance, i'm willing to help!" Hmmm, could a Council President actually request help from a student from another school?...well, a question for later!

Shaking her head in disbelief and having her silky black hair move from side to side, Niramo lets out a theatrical sigh at Fumiko, though there's warmth in her green eyes. "I'm glad you think of me as your dearest friend, but surely you need a few more to at least compare me with. Marinette-chan, this is Fumiko-chan. She's been a good friend of mine for a while now. Don't worry, she's only teases you if she likes you." Considering how crazy it's been lately, Niramo's glad to finally be the one to formally introduce these two friends.

It only takes a glance between Natsuki and Shizuru to show that there's more than just friendship between the two. They were close together, the way they have trouble keeping their eyes of each other...it has to be true love, or as pure as love can be at Ohtori. It's so hard to tell rumor from reality when it comes to the the Sister Schools. But Niramo is quick to nod her head. "Yes, Marinette-chan does amazing work. I wish I could do something to help her, but she's amazing when it comes to fashion!"

It's entirely by accident that Niramo alludes to possibility that Marinette may have a weakness in another area.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Waltz With Adonis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVcjwjo9N4I

The main announcer, a dignified man who is either actually an adult butler, or about to graduate from Ohtori with a strong pre-butler concentration, has run out of students for the moment, so he clears his throat and announces something else, as instructed.

"Besides celebrating the glorious exercise in democracy shared between the three Sister Schools, we are also celebrating the coming of spring. As with sakura, youth is fleeting, but beautiful, and therefore at the end of the night we will be crowning a Dance Queen from among our lovely candidates! All young ladies are encouraged to take part in the costume -- we hope that you all participate!"

The crowd applauds, then starts bubbling over with enthusiasm about it, and another lively dance song is struck by the orchestra.

"Additionally," he calls over the din, "This next song is dedicated to our Presidents and Vice Presidents -- it's time for your traditional waltz of partnership!"

An Ohtori tradition, no doubt, just like, you know, celebrating the exercise of democracy by crowning a monarch.

Masaru Fujimura, the sufficiently handsome Juuban High School President that he might be going to the wrong school, takes his equally lovely Vice President Yuka Odajima in hand. A few girls wilt with pleasure. Truly, the two of them make perfect representitives of the school -- they're so stylish and talented, they can completely hold their own.

Yuuko Arimura, with her triplet of fabulous red pigtails, tosses them over her shoulder and takes Mimi Hanyu's proferred hand with the slightest bit of distaste, like she's being asked to hold a used plunger.

"Senpai," Mimi purrs, breathily, eyes sparkling brightly enough to drill through Yuuko's glasses and blind.

"Aren't I supposed to dance with my Vice President, Hanyu-san?"

Mimette giggles like a slightly out of tune harpsichord. "I'm afraid he's late! What a snail of a boy..."

<Pose Tracker> Marinette Dupain-Cheng [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

So far so good. Fake it until you make it. Stay the course. Confidence she doesn't entirely feel manages to keep Marinette from falling apart into a blob of absolute panic, but it's a near thing. She has some nice red-and-black stud earrings, because they went with her dress, but the voice of reason that comes with them isn't really handy at the moment.

...because Tikki is enjoying a quiet night in with a fairly large plate of fresh cookies. Back at home, nowhere near this glamour.

Defiance is met with...acceptance? Approval? Marinette can't hide the confusion that flashes across her face at Shizuru's words of collaboration, and flushes a bit as she hits home on the truth - and at Natsuki's smiling quip. "Er...yes. I'm in the Fashion Club, like the gentleman with the trumpet said, and it's something I'm kind of hoping to turn into a career someday...maybe."

She fidgets with her fingers, and looks past Shizuru at the glamorous display. "It's all very nice! Just a bit jarring, I guess - I'm sure your classmates are used to this kind of thing, but the rest of us might be a little starstruck. Maybe it'd be nice to have an event that's kind of a surprise to everybody?" Bold, perhaps, but the words slipped out. "Anyway, I'm Marinette Dupain-Cheng - a pleasure to meet you!"

There's a surprise, as Niramo returns with another friend, and it's with a relaxed slump of her shoulders that Marinette turns to her Juuban Backup. "Maybe not my dearest, after that stunt you pulled with the decaf coffee last Tuesday... Nice to meet you, Fumiko-chan. And I'm not sure about amazing, just yet..."

She blinks, twice, and frowns at what Niramo lets slip. "And what do you..."

Fortunately, it's about then that the butler speaks up, and Marinette starts. "Oh! Apologies for being in the way - I imagine you're about to be a little busy, Fujino-senpai. I'll get out of the way of the...partnership waltz, he called it?" She glances between Shizuru and Natsuki, then over to Kasagami, and says earnestly: "Good luck!"

She might not need to go too far, but she'll at least sidle out of the way of the main action. There's at least one student president with more muscles than dancing skills, slated to waltz with an elegant and good-looking gentleman, and that's something that Marinette's common clumsiness needs to be nowhere near.

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Ye-jin is familiar with the visage of Nanami Kiryuu, if by name more than by association. She smiles politely at the approach of the blonde girl, her glass tactfully covering her mouth as Nanami and Kasagami trade verbal blows. It's hiding a smile. When Takeo approaches she makes a brief nod, but there seems no great recognition there.

When Kasagami's hand lands on her shoulder Ye-jin's gaze slides over, looking for a moment as if some alien object had landed upon her. Perhaps she was merely surprised, because after a several seconds of thought she clinks her glass to Kasagami's with a polite smile. "Thank you, I'll do my best. Enjoy your dance, Araki-san."

Ye-jin takes a step back to clear the way for both Presidents and Vice, slinking backward. There are more important things to attend to: If she's going to become dance queen, she needs to find someone to dance with.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

On the sidelines, Inori Yamabuki tentatively offers her arm to one Kento Mikoshiba who asks for her company... http://battlefantasia.pinksugarheartattack.net/File:BukiCruiseDate.jpg


In the gardens, Eri Shimanouchi anxiously acts as a Chaperone on her own accord... but for the flowers. Making certain no mischief causes her club's efforts to be ruined. https://i.pinimg.com/736x/c1/b2/b8/c1b2b8084bd30791519722764ba50c5c--masquerade-ball-gowns-green-gown.jpg


On the rooftop a girl with fluttering dark cape stands in silent vigil. Parties and celebrations are foreign to her. Fate Testarossa's childish curiosity is perhaps piqued by it, however discipline keeps her focused on something else entirely.

<Wide Area Search.>

A gridlike pulse of yellow light seeks out that which must be found, on a night where all are distracted.


Kozue Kaoru takes the lead, her hand gripping a boy's fingers as she remains a step and a half ahead of him on the fringes of the party. She gives a single look at Nanami and the girl's prey, deciding it's best to get out of the line of fire as swiftly as possible.

Her path avoids Haruka Suzushiro, but it comes straight within Miki Kaoru's field of vision for just a few brief moments...


... before she's gone. Her and that boy seeking out erstwhile spot for a clandestine tryst. Perhaps a broom closet... or a spot in the gardens. Who can say?


Back at Usagi Tsukino who looks dumbfounded at Fuu actually believing it's a club. For a moment her face is written as a mask of surprise. "O-Oh yes I've done a lot of... valuable... research during class, Fuu-chan. It's been very ah- enlightening!" Usagi Tsukino nods quickly, deciding the best way to deal with this was to lean into it.

Before she swiftly switches topics, "Wowww... your dress is gorgeous." She then leans in, slyly asking as if it were a secret between girls, "Did you come on the prowl tonight - looking for a boyfriend?" There's sort of this innocent shamelessness to it. As if she might be doing the same but wouldn't know what to do if she found one.

However then Rei growls at her, glaring daggers, and Usagi looks immediately indignant, "And I told you I was definitely coming! A ball like this isn't something I'd ever miss - besides I never get to see you at your school's parties!"

However Rei tells her to get off of her, "Hmm - why?" She asks as if not getting why she'd be anywhere other than around Rei Hino, however the titering finally reaches her ears and she harumphs, taking a step back, as her eyes skim up and down Rei Hino. "Oh I see how it is. You're embarrassed to be seen around me..."

Here it goes, it sounds like she's about to launch into a tirade about how Rei Hino is trying to be too cool to hang with her.

"...in that dress."

Wait what?

Usagi extends an a leg just subtly forward so that her dress shows from calf length to above that. "After all mine shows that I clearly have the better legs between the two of us. That's why you chose one that covers down to your ankles."

Usagi crosses her arms, with a triumphant smile as if she'd figured it out. "That's why you're being extra prickly tonight, isn't it Rei-chan? Well don't worry-"

And as if on cue, there comes an announcement of celebrating youth by joining them on the Dance Floor. The Crowning of a Dance Queen. The title feeling like it is one she could achieve, even if she doesn't know that the one who shall wear the crown has already been selected.

"-I promise I won't show you up too hard on the dance floor."

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Fumiko pats Niramo's shoulder in a friendly manner. "Thank you Niramo. I'll be sure to widen my friendship pool, as soon as I figure out how to fill it. Maybe you can be my friendship pool lifeguard." She stifles a giggle at her silly metaphor. "And thank you for the introduction.

Marinette confirms she's the head of the fashion club, and Niramo just introduced Fumiko to her. Perfect. "Now that we're bestest of friends," she says with exaggerated sweetness as she leans in just a tiny bit, "perhaps you could make me a really super-amazing dress! Thanks, bestest best friend!" She then drops the act and straightens up. "But really, you make really good pieces. Some of them you make for Drama Club are positively stunning. I thank you for your great work."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasagami is intercepted in her march by none other than one Takeo Akamizu. It's not even a name she has to rely on the announcers to remember, given his kendo prowess. One of the members she happens to respect quite a bit for his skills even if their styles might be polar opposites in many ways.

Her eyes shine. "Hah, isn't he wonderful? You have a point. A martial horse does suit me better. But Ohtori is...well, I've found it's a bit like a stage play. High drama and passion! And those of us taking up leading roles need to be suitably dramatic. I play King, and royalty rides the greatest and largest of horses."

Smirk. "And better yet, it shows that even a farmer's beast with enough talent can rise up to be the mount of a grand ruler." Wink!

It takes her mind a second to cut through the french. She's studied it, of course, and linguistics luckily one of her better talents.

She tilts her head, takes in the wink, and offers an arm.

"Seulement si ce maigre paysan devant moi montre qu'il a l'esprit, la lame et la danse des mouvements d'un général!"

Her heavily accented French is smooth and eager: "Only if this meager peasant before me shows that he has the mind, blade, and dance moves of a General!"

The ball and lead seems to be in Takeo's court for now!

Kassie doesn't miss Steven's interest as they away to the dance floor. "You should come to the Equestrian Club! You'll see riders better than me by half!" She promises.

And then the Waltz is announced. The 'Queen' bit has her snarling inwardly, but her competitive spirit can't help but rise. She subtones to Takeo. "...Looks like this dance is taken. Rain check, now come on, let's get you someone pretty. So many beautiful girls here, it's wonderful!" Wink. She doesn't want to leave the guy in a lurch.

Precisely when she spies Natsuki Kuga. She unlatches from Takeo, and gives the man a friendly shove. "Go on, Takeo-kun! Show Natsuki-san what you're made of! You two will look lovely together!" She announces.

Then she's marching over to Shizuru, all aggression and confidence. A hand is offered. "Shizu-chan, dear friend, beauty unparalleled, and the stable rock upon which this year will make it's foundations upon! Honor me with a dance?"

Kasagami swiftly kicks off the dance, taking the lead as a boy might. She moves into the steps with practice and the absurd athleticism she works so hard to attain. A proper, traditional polite bow and then she starts into a waltz that has her coat swaying yet never seeming to hit anyone. The twirls of her dance partner are swift and ankle-straining. Her own movements add in momentum as she sets a fiery pace. Her hard riding boots never scuff the floor, but powerful calves and thighs push her feet with a sound and rhythm to her dancing.

She goes all out, elegant, and yet reckless as she shows off. There's challenge in her eyes, directed right at Shizuru. "Congratulations on your victory. So effortless. But don't worry, I'll make sure you're never bored in the Council!"

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

From afar:

Juri Arisugawa is leaning comfortably against a wall, arms folded over her chest.

'and the stable rock upon which this year will make its foundations upon!'

She smirks.

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Shizuru smiles at Natsuki, and her previous assumption that Natsuki was talking to her was in no way an animation error. ...When Natsuki glances over, kasagami laughs faintly.

Instead though she sighs, dramatic, and in an obviously faux-wounded tone declares, "And after all the work I put in..."

She's all pleasantries again a moment later. "I may join you. You're right, of course--that would've been terribly mean."

She is, meanwhile, more or less impossible to read as Marinette watches her. This surely doesn't make her any less nervous. "Ahh," Shizuru answers, and then tilts her head thoughtfully. "A surprise to everyone... My. You are a bold girl, aren't you?"

She is certainly prepared to keep talking, turning towards Natsuki just before she hears the announcement. She pauses, with no clear reaction, and considers skipping it entirely to remain with Natsuki and the interesting designer and this crowd assembling. "Ah," she says in the end, and dips her head. "It seems I'm called away. Our date will have to wait," she sighs towards Natsuki lightly, and begins to turn in the direction of...

Kasagami, marching towards her. She delicately takes the President's hand as she offers it. "Of course, President." She smiles, dipping her head... and delivers absolutely none of the same familiarity that Kasagami did to her, though she is smiling pleasantly. "Naturally, I will do my utmost."

She does not laugh aloud. This is because Shizuru is very, very good at concealing her emotions, and not because it isn't hilarious.

But Shizuru, in turn, allows Kasagami to take the lead, and is a perfect dancer, naturally. Her wrap remains secure, each twirl is done expertly, despite the tall heels; she never seems to exert any of her muscles at all in the process, the picture of passive femininity.

Shizuru does not seem to meet anything of a challenge; she neither backs down nor pushes back, her expression utter calm, total serenity. "How magnanimous," she agrees, looking into Kasagami's eyes. "And on yours, of course. But you shouldn't say such things so casually..."

A beat, "I might hold you to them."

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Such animation never shows on Anthy Himemiya's face in class. She goes squinty with hard thought, then emits a little silence-breaking "Oh!" and her eyes attain matching shapes, wide and green.

"Give me your..."

An innocent certainty fills her voice; over fanned cards and blue floral tablecloth she affixes her opponent and friend with a stare. Well, okay. She's really staring at the rounded outer edges of his ears peeking to either side of his Go Fish hand, since he's shorter than his cards. (Don't ask how he's holding them. Ohtori's mysteries run deep, and none know Chu-Chu's.)

"Your tens!"

The mouse-monkey issues a gruff, "Chu," and waggles his cards, and Anthy's childlike triumph gives way to a bright smile.

"Oh, again?" She doesn't seem bothered in the least, and Goes Fish into the card stack. Then she announces aloud, guilelessly, "Another eight, oh well! I always seem to draw those." Chu-Chu, who has a pair of eights already, gets a gleam in his coaly eyes.

So the game has gone, ever since it was determined they would not be going out tonight. Anthy's response seemed simple enough at the time, supportive and polite and equally off-handed.

'If you're sure, Utena-sama.'

Over the passing of an hour of awkward quiet, those words could wriggle into all kinds of doubtful positions -- or they could stay put, unexamined. So it goes with Himemiya.

The doorbell interrupts -- an emphatically hasty Utena returns to find two sets of eyes staring owlishly at her, and then at the dramatic swirl of her pink locks catching up to her.

When she speaks, Anthy's surprise abates, and she turns back to the card game with a shrug. "You aren't going, Utena-sama, so I won't either."

But Utena's already brought the box over, with those sparkling eyes and that smile, so relieved, so expectant. Anthy sets her cards down on the table; Chu-Chu strikes a triumphant stance atop them. Soon frothy taffeta floats in her arms, a voluminous sea of new spring green in the shape of a dress. Anthy pauses.

Then she folds all that shiny fabric away, neat as you please, back into its box. "Besides, I don't care for crowded places. People's faces blur, and they all start to look the same..." A delicate venture: a truth. She immediately follows it up with, "But what is the other delivery, Utena-sama?"

With the same lack of guile that accompanied her announcement of her draw earlier, she pulls it open to reveal a vision of a ballgown. She peers down at it and declares, "This one is for you!" It's right there in the accompanying notecard.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Natsuki cracks a small smile, she is almost beginning to actually enjoy herself. Perhaps having Shizuru joining her in the garden would be so bad-

Then the announcement comes. Natsuki blinks and growls, but more loudly then she intends for some reason, as Kasagami approaches with Takeo in hand. "You've got to be kidding me," she grumbles.

She nods to Shizuru, not thinking much on the chosen word 'date'. "It's fine, it's not exactly something you can get out of."

Yet, Natsuki assumes that the same does not mean the same for her as Takeo is forced her way. "Uhh......" she stutters and glances around. She could refuse..but part of tonight was to make a good impression. If she were to just out right storm out of here that would ruin it.

She glances to Takeo and sighs. "Alright, look, let's be honest I don't want to do this dance any more than you do?" She points to the refreshments. "How about you and I just 'happen' to dance over to where the food is and we just 'happen' to stay there for the rest of the night and hide from the president."

Natsuki had a feeling they would need to stay out of her sight or she would insist they dance more or heaven forbid something more stupid.

<Pose Tracker> Nanami Kiryuu [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Nanami nearly curtsies in response to the compliment to her house, as etiquette dictates, but she freezes as the compliment segues smoothly into an insult. To praise Nanami as a way of lowering Touga is a peculiar sort of sadism that Nanami has not experienced before, and it inflames her, her teeth chattering with repressed rage.

"How fascinating. I should have known you for an expert in decay. What does the Araki family recommend to stop an old house from gathering mildew?"

Keiko and Yuko know Nanami well enough to guess where this is going, and even they grimace sympathetically, though Nanami's smile seems pleasant to the point of airheadedness. She walks past Kasagami, so she can say this as physically close to the new President as she can.

"Setting it on fire preemptively, perhaps?"

She joins her vice president, Minami Kaido, and greets her kindly.

When it comes time for the dancing, Nanami makes a show of polite applause and dreamy eyes, as if she wanted nothing more than to be the Dance Queen. It's in her interests to build that role up as much as possible. Minami applauds with similar apparent sincerity. The two are both aware of this tradition, and turn to each other with a sort of unresentful resignation when the first dance is announced.

"I hope it's not too disappointing to have your first dance of the night be with another girl," Minami apologizes awkwardly. It's not something she minds, but she's not sure how the prickly Kiryuu will react.

"Oh heavens no," Nanami says, placing her hands in Minami's. "That's not why it's disappointing."

Minami opens her mouth to respond to the reassuring part, but the second part cheats her of her reply.

"Lead please," Nanami orders. "I'm much too cute to lead, don't you think?"

"Oh no," Minami replies, horrified that Nanami has apparently internalized this cruel notion about her role. "You'd make a wonderful..."

Nanami's eyes have caught fire and her teeth look like daggers.

"...never mind," Minami aborts her reassurance hastily. A little belatedly, the pair joins the dance, Minami leading. She's one of the best dancers here, due to training in classical ballet, and notably taller than Nanami, so Nanami feels she is being well-displayed by her VP at the moment. Happily, she smiles up at her.

"I knew you'd understand me. You're the sort of person I like best."

Minami blinks, her guard falling again. She's never had many friends. "How so?" she asks softly.

"You have a lot of money," Nanami says distinctly, as if explaining something to a slow child. Minami goggles at her as camera bulbs begin to flash, not realizing the song is over for a moment.

"Smile," Nanami reminds her. "Like you just danced with Nanami Kiryuu."

The next day's school paper will have a picture of a beaming, angelic Nanami standing with a vaguely shellshocked Minami Kaido.

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Takeo lets out a little bit of a laugh. "General. You have no idea how funny that is." He says and is led to the dance floor. "You speak French. Cool I - " He says with a slight grin before he is interupted by the announcement of the dance between Principal and Vice Principal. He then finds himself shoved toward Natsuki Kuga. He blinks and looks over his shoulder as Kasagami heads off with Shizaru and then slowly turns his head back to Kuga.

He clears his throat. "Hey ... Uh ... " He clears his throat again. "Nice ... Dress? Wanna dance and talk about Motorcyles?" asks only slightly nervously, and and also wondering if he's about to have his neck broken. "Or you know, go to the buffet table ... and um ... Eat ... while ... " And then she makes the suggestion.

"Oh thank all the gods who have ever walked the Earth. I happen to know there is some really good food over there. Come on. Let's dance over ther, then I'll get you a Sparkling a Cider, and we can pretend this never happened while eating some expensive food on somebody else's bill." He extends a hand.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

A mock pout comes to Niramo's lips, and it's only the fact that she's at an elegant ball that stops her from sticking her tongue out. "It was just a little hint that maybe, just maybe, just might need to close your eyes and rest. You nearly failed that surprise pop quiz, and that's because I kept whispering you the answers!" Even if it means sabatoging a friend's effort, Niramo does want to ensure her friends don't kill themselves by overworking. A human isn't meant to have over 500 hours of uninterrupted consciousness, Marinette!

Wait, now she's a bodyguard now? "I don't think I can drag people into the pool for you to be friends with." Fumiko does get a roll of the eyes, but Niramo pats her hand. "See what I mean? If you do become friends, just beware. The drama club are not just stunned by her work, they're paralyzed with awe on how amazing they are."

Marinette needs to take pride in her work!

Niramo is more than happy to move away from the dance floor. The further away she's from the focus of three schools' worth of eyes, the better. "And...thanks again for the adjustments you made to the dress. I know Yuhira-chan means well, but there's no reason why I should have to pick up the dress just to walk." Her friend may go overboard with her work, but at least she keeps things pratical...sometimes.

Takk lets out a relaxed sigh and stretches his tiny arms out from the position over the controller. He really needs to convince Niramo to let him construct a controller of his own. She can always replace the controller uses for resources, after all. "Demon General Abyssal Doomshadow...it seems as if humanity's creatitivy has only gone downhill in the 'modern' era." Oh well, this game isn't going to beat itself. Shame he had to erase the only save file to do it.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

The small transfer student watches as the ball shifts and mingles. Folks begin to flock to the dance floor. "H-Horse club?!" Steven proclaims. Was there truly such a thing?! "Can other people from other cool schools go too?" he calls, as she heads out to dance.

So many new things to learn! Everything is so different here! At least he can understand everyone prefectly! That device is working great.

For the most part, Steven lingers at the edge of the dance floor, watching. While he is usually the social butterfly, he is insofar out of his element that some nervousness pervades through his sunny demeanor. He may just hang back and watch others dance!

He never was too good at dancing anyway. Maybe he can learn some new moves from watching these folk! Some students seem to dance in ways he has seen before. Though the mention of clubs from that young lady president has him thinking... what kind of clubs does Juuban even have? He may have to find out tomorrow.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Fuu nods to Rei, "Shibuya, of course." There's a slight wince behind her nigh-perpetual smile - Shibuya is the center of the Tokyo fashion world, of course, but the prices go right with it. Not that the Hououji family is hurting financially, but Fuu tries to be efficient with her spending money ... good video games aren't exactly cheap.

The question of being 'on the prowl' catches Fuu by surprise, though. "Hm? I'm not exactly looking, no ... at least, assuming he's here. I don't know if this kind of event is up his alley," she admits. Although really, she wasn't quite sure if Usagi's question was directed more to her or to Rei.

.... at least, up until Usagi verbally throws down the gauntlet, and the challenge is *definitely* aimed at Rei.

Fuu's own smile grows somewhat less relaxed. "It's probably not the best of ideas to challenge Rei-san on her home ground, Usagi-san. Certainly I wouldn't know how best to judge between you, and there are all kinds of dances which we might see this evening. - Would either of you like some punch?" she offers abruptly. "I'll see if I can round some up for us ..."

This seems, in all honesty, like an *excellent* time to distance herself from one of the newest social ground zeroes of the event. The fact that Fuu is allegedly about to *deliberately* venture into harm's way in search of refreshments seems to have slipped her own mind ...

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasagami is all grins, smugness, and that aura of friendly overbaring warmth to her as Nanami's rage is unleashed upon her. Shizuru would get the front seat to just how much that comment cuts the young woman. She misses a step in the waltz, almost a stumble, as her attention is torn to the younger Kiryuu passing so closely by.

Her smile may not waver, but it seems Nanami's hit on target. The scarred part of her face flinches, and those formerly oh-so-passionate eyes are replaced with a dark look of sheer hatred directed at Nanami with the kind of fuel behind it as if the young woman had killed her cat right in front of her face.

Her body is tense, arms clenching as if she were getting ready to cut Nanami in two. Thankfully with a deep breath that's definitely a snarl, she focuses.

Shizuru of course evades and is as placid as a still lake. It's unnerving just how things seem to slide off of her. Kassie, of course, doubles down.

Physically too, as she deviates in the dance to lift Shizuru up for a long spin and twirl for the both of them. She ends, bowing on one knee before rising. She needed the distraction. Some of her fire sparks back up.

"Oh-hoh! That's not a good way to discourage my horrible tendencies, Shizu-chan." She's grinning again.

"By all means, hold me to them. The only way people become stronger and rise higher is by pushing themselves and being pushed by worthy opponents. And you...are more than worthy." She whispers to Shizuru, fingering her Rose Signet Ring that matches the other young woman's. Kassie looks way too eager than would be healthy.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Chu-Chu looks on as Utena digests Anthy's dislike of crowds -- and is promptly distracted by Anthy's presentation of the other dress.

(Boring. He starts digging around in Anthy's box and finds some interesting round things to play with instead.)

Her eyebrows make the treacherous climb to Mount Hairline while he gags on plastic.

"Ugh! What IS this thing? Does he think I'd go to any party where I'd have to where this?"

She pauses, and looks back over at Anthy, already striking back up her card game.

It's very quiet, in the dorm room.

"Wait... you're not going?"

Wakaba's face swims in front of Utena's eyes, in front of girl and monkey, telling her about that weirdo loner who doesn't have anyone in her life.

Her smile fades, replaced with open concern. Her eyebrows drop like stones. Her lips part into two unhappy lines, and she sucks in a breath, then launches herself over the cliff.

They don't know each other very well yet. Maybe not well enough for Utena to give her a little push.

The metronomic thwack of the grandfather clock announces the inevitable outcome if she does not.

"But... you should go! You HAVE to go!"

How could anyone be paid the compliment of a nomination and an invitation and not even go? That seems wrong. But much more importantly, this is a really good opportunity:

"You need friends!"

Chu-Chu points at himself, and Utena deflates... a little.

"Yeah, I know, but..."

She straightens up, determined, and declares both firmly and entreatingly to Anthy:

"You have to make a lot more!"

She jerks the ruffled abomination out of her box, reversing with actions rather than words her decision to attend the ball. If this is what it's going to take to convince her roommate to go, she'll just have to make the sacrifice.

Let's do this: Operation Make Everyone Know How Great Himemiya Is.

The ruffles just keep coming. It takes her a while.

Solidarity, she reminds herself. Solidarity.



<SoundTracker> Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcJm1pOswfM

Whoever picked out Utena's gown did so with an eye for women.

It has two phases: huge, and tiny. The shoulders are in fact nonexistant, and that's all to the good, as it shows off the strength there as well as the graceful cleft of her collarbone. Conversely, the large white neckline, further emphasized with a pinned rose, provides the idea of, and volume for, a shapely bust, while revealing nothing. Imagination is always better than the real thing.

But that's doubly true for Utena, given what the dress chooses to show off instead: it is absolutely clinging to her torso, and so the world's first petal-pink washboard is born -- if she moves too quickly the dress may soon be tattered. Okay, things are a little bit smoother than all that, but it's very sleek indeed. Plus, a large enough pair of hands could span her waist. A more critical eye would observe that she must not, therefore, have much in the way of curvature.

Tripling down on the theme, ruffles explode from a V, tiers and tiers of them cascading downwards, which negates the question of hips with the power of suggestion.

She appears at the top of the stairs, alongside her roommate, and though it's too late to be announced, plenty of people notice them anyway. A happy little buzz kicks up among the girls of Ohtori (and some others), like an overactive beehive fed heroin-laced honey.

The general tenor: "Utena-sama in girls' clothes?! So cute... She looks so cool in that uniform, but she's perfect in a dress!"

However: whoever picked out Utena's gown did not do so with an eye for Utena. There's a flush spilling across her nose from one cheekbone to the other. Athleticism lends her good posture but her tendency to pick at the skirt, or cross her arms over her chest self-consciously (as she does when the cooing starts up), does not.

Her shoes are invisible beneath the dress but her every step is uncertain, cautious. Gooseflesh ripples across her bare shoulders and her eyes are just a little bit bleak. The line of her neck pulses when she swallows. She moistens her lips and steadfastly ignores the prickly feeling of the matching red rose tucked into her hair.

Which is the only thing unchanged about her, spilling down her back in a heavy silken swath. It should probably be swept into an elegant updo, but then, the exception proves the rule:

Sometimes imagination isn't better than reality. You just can't improve on perfection.

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Look, it's not that Rei completely hates Usagi hanging off of her. It's kind of nice to have friends who aren't scared of her these days, like if they get too close they might get cursed or something. It's just... people talk, you know?

"Oh!" Rei brightens, when Fuu hints at romance. "If he's here, I'm sure you'll find him, Fuu-chan." She, of course, doesn't need to look for a boyfriend, because that implies she'd need to put effort into it. Obviously she's much better than that.

And of course Usagi tries to act all hurt, and Rei sniffs haughtily, tilting up her chin. Of course it's a question of status! It's a very complicated subject which Usagi completely fails to understand and she's going to get --

'... in that dress.'

"What?!" Rei demands, stomping down one of those delicate silver heels out in front of her. She pulls her dress up to just below the knee, gesturing emphatically: "My legs are way better than yours, Usagi-chan! This is called subtlety! Sub-tle-ty!" She sounds out the mora, stubbornly, having entirely forgotten for a moment that she's in the heart of one of Ohtori's most important social functions.

The waltz problem suddenly comes to a head, and if Rei weren't so cross, maybe she'd stop for a moment and realise she's just going to make a fool of herself.

Unfortunately, Usagi is an expert at getting on Rei's nerves.

"Fuu-chan is right, you know - you're going down!" She snaps, grabbing Usagi's wrist and dragging her out to the dance floor, the question of punch entirely elided. "I'll show you who's better at --" Here she gets to the floor and pauses, glancing surreptitiously aside at the other dancers. One hand here, the other here - she pauses, petulant. "Wait, I'm not leading! You lead!" This is entirely because she doesn't want to be saddled with the male role, and not in the least because she has no clue how to dance.

The one benefit of all this is that it seems to have distracted Kasagami from harassing Rei.

<Pose Tracker> Marinette Dupain-Cheng [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

As she departs the dance area, Marinette glances back at Shizuru. She kind of wants to continue this conversation herself, having someone to actually debate things with making things interesting. It's certainly hard to read Shizuru, but at the accusation of being 'bold'?

She could protest.

She instead just smirks. At some point, they'll chat again.

Safely removed from the dance floor proper, Marinette finds something resembling a wall and just leans for a moment. "I'll rest when the gala's all wrapped up, Niramo-chan. I couldn't just sit back and let our school play third fiddle...a bit of sleep isn't that big a sacrifice, is it?" There's a pause, and she closes her eyes. "...just don't ask me to count how many fingers you have."

Fumiko's comments do earn a bit of a smile, though, as does Niramo's fashion praise. "The problem is I do like to help - though I don't think the costumes were all that amazing. Not so much fine detail needed for actors on a stage, right?" She smiles, and the weight of sacrificed hours finally seems to be weighing down a bit. "As for Yuhira-chan, she's...a big fan of the aesthetic. I figured you might want to run around a bit more, is all."

A pause, as the dance begins, as more grand entrances are made. It's a sight to see, but Marinette just needs to rest her eyes for...five minutes? Five minutes. "...I think it's working out. Just...cover for me for a few minutes, okay?" Fighting for Juuban's pride has taken its toll at last.

Admittedly, someone having the bright idea to stick one of Ohtori's more fearsome athletes in that many ruffles does make Marinette feel a bit better about her own fashion choices, but now it's just time to try not to panic about all the things sleep deprivation might have done to her decision-making abilities.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

The friendship pool metaphor was getting a bit silly. Fumiko shrugs. "I guess you can't. Though maybe you could at least save me from drowning in it. I remember that some of my teasing.. wasn't exactly coming across as kind. I'm glad you gave me a chance."

To Fumiko, Marinette was quite interesting. Modest, hard-working, and kind. But something about her...

"You... seem to be... having some trouble." That's what it was. Maybe it wasn't modesty. Maybe it is lack of self-esteam, and maybe her hard-working was TOO hard-working. "Someone fighting sleep demons and fashion monsters should thing more highly of themselves, wouldn't you think? Especially when they look like they're about to drop. Please... uh... let this person know that they definitely earned some rest and then some?"

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"Oho... so there is someone you have your eye on..." Usagi giggles at Fuu, "... you're secretly hoping he's here tonight anyhow though - right right?"

However then Rei... "Subtlety!?" The girl sputters, then responds with extra volume, eyes up and to the side, "I dunno Rei-chan! I've always heard that if you've got it - then flaunt it!"

In this moment perhaps it drowns out Fuu's warning that it's best not to challenge Rei. However then Rei moves to the expected 'Fine!' and Usagi takes a half-step away like she's immediately about to search for a dance partner...

... when suddenly her wrist is grabbed. And Usagi is shocked out of speech for a few seconds, before she manages a timid protest of... "R-Rei-chan?"

She doesn't know what this is. After all she'd thought the two were going to be competing to find a boy to escort them on the dance floor. That it was a double competition in that way. Find a boy who wants to dance with them, then outshow the other. It's an especially risky challenge in that if she managed to fail to find one then she fails twice! Yet at the same time, competing with Rei always seems to embolden her.

She had no idea that Rei would take this as a dancing with each other. Before she knows it she's stumbling onto the dance floor. As Usagi takes a quick look around, cheeks flushed at the thought of dancing with a girl instead of a boy. "Is this really okay?"

However she's just caught the tail end of Minami Kaido dancing with Nanami Kiryuu. Perhaps it was simply an Ohtori thing? That this happened at Rei's school.

'I'm not leading - you lead!'

"Lead? Wait you want me to-" Usagi whispers, looking a little hopelessly lost. After all only boys led right? Who leads when it's two girls? That thought locks her up.

However, she realizes in a few moments that she's the one that challenged Rei to begin with, even if it took an unexpected form, and so she remembers the few waltz moves she was watching on the way in from the butlers offering tutelage. "Alright." And she gathers her wavering courage, straightens, and swallows, "I'm gonna do it." Tentatively she put her right hand on Rei's shoulderblade. Rei is taller than her, so part of her feels like a shorter boy trying to ask Makoto Kino to the dance floor. It's a sobering kind of thought as her left takes Rei's hand, fingers curling into hers as she holds it out to the side.

"Just watch me Rei-chan." The girl says as she tries to smother her embarrassment, and starts forward with her right in a half-step before she remembers they're reversed. And instead steps with her left. The first few steps are clumsy, her first misstep touched down on the tips of Rei's toes. However, despite her wince, she's continuing in the steps, in the- "Ichi-ni-san... Ichi-ni-san..."

Her waltz is astoundingly simple. It would be elegantly so if not for the fact that Usagi herself is inelegant, especially in this reversed position. A few missteps might cause Rei to have to carry it at times, though at others the girl is catching Rei in a recovery from her recovery. At times she may graze other couples, and have to make quick apologies.

It takes some time for her to get into the rhythm just enough that she can actually speak again. "No fair Rei-chan." Usagi says as she manages a smile, like she's finally processed the situation, "Me being so short - and making me take the lead anyway. Taking all those advantages to make me all mixed up and off-balance."

There's something almost speculatively in her eyes as she asks, eyes sweeping over the gossiping crowd, over Utena at the top of the stairs. Off the hundreds of girls and boys in the room living out their own little majestic dramas, all of them so beautiful.

Feeling this almost impulsive stab of insight, she comments, "It feels like I'm finally getting a sense of what its like to be an Ohtori girl."

And in that sense, she's thus getting a sense of what it's like to be Rei Hino here at her school.

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Shizuru, of course, will remember Marinette. But duty calls... Ah, the travails of the Student Council--!

When they pass Nanami, Shizuru gives Touga's dear little sister her blandest, blankest smile. "How nice to see such collaboration," she comments, and leaves it at that. Instead...

"Why on earth would I discourage our dear President?" Shizuru asks Kasagami. She allows herself, dutifully, to be lifted, and gracefully returns; she does not miss a step. Kasagami bows, and Shizuru places a hand over her chest, accepting the farewell--or maybe the adulation.

"Is that how it is?" she asks Kasagami, and then murmurs back, leaning in as if sharing a secret.

"I'll let you know when I feel the same way," come her honeyed words, and her own rose signet glints in turn. "Don't disappoint me, hm?"

Shizuru stands up straight again and laughs, as if at some joke, before pleasantly nodding Kasagami's way and sweeping to the side, towards future conversations. ...Except that instead of immediately picking a partner, her eyes immediately move towards the Engaged and her Bride, taking into account the gown, its refinement... The utter discomfort she clearly feels in it. If Utena looks her way, she'll simply smile pleasantly. Indeed, she smiles regardless.

She utterly ignores the first hopeful boy to ask her for a dance--and turns towards his friend as if he had asked instead, and lets herself be swept for a while onto the dance floor. If she happens to be demonstrating a perfect waltz as she and a forgettable boy with dark hair spin to the space beside Usagi and Rei, then it is clearly a coincidence. Naturally.

...The boy left, naturally, is scowling.

But Shizuru, aside from a smiling look in passing to the simple waltz of a Juuban bunny... knows exactly where her attention is drawn.

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Having safely "danced" with Kuga to the food table, and gotten her the promised cider, Takeo now leans casually against a wall, jacket upen, and arms folded over his chest as he simply .... watches. This is normally not his thing. The dancing, the party. Sure. He likes the food. To be fair, Takeo thinks if you serve food it's the best day since the last time he ate. Which might have been ten seconds before he entered the ballroom and then immediately ten seconds after that, once in the ballroom he was at the buffet table. Which is where he ends up now.

When Utena and Anthy come in he spares them a glance and raises an eyebrow. He'd seen Utena around campus, heard the talk, so he's sort of surprised to see the girl in a dress. Especially one that looks rather good on the younger teen. He looks to Anthy and nods once. "Yupp. That looks about right." And then casually plops a bacon covered cracker into his mouth.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

As Steven watches others take to the dance floor, the boy can't help but feel that this was all meant to be! Like, some kind of fantasical whimsy. Seeing people right here, right now, enjoying this event... it felt like he was meant to be among this crowd.

And as more and more people come to the floor, watching from the edge, he catches a glimpse from someone. His heart almost stops in place.

Pink hair. A rolling, ruffled dress. "..." Steven's mouth goes agape for but a second before correcting himself. "...Of course it isn't her. But... Hrn."

After a small time of onlooking, he menages to tear his eyes away and look back to the dance floor proper. Some folks here look like they are having a lot of fun! Like that twintailed blonde and her dark haired friend!

He still wonders how anyone got permission to bring a msaaive horse in here though. Even for a lavish ball.

<Pose Tracker> Nanami Kiryuu [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

If one didn't know better, one would think Nanami just another of the many people in the ballroom who found Utena's entrance dazzling. But there was something too sharp to her joy. There was hunger in her eyes of a very different sort than the dress had perhaps been intended by its patron to elicit.

"She's here," Nanami says.

"Are you... happy?" Minami ventures, confused by the expression on her new boss's face.

"Marvelous," Nanami replies, which is just close enough to an appropriate response to the question, and just far enough from one, that Minami isn't sure if Nanami is listening or not. Snatching a champagne glass from a passing servant (she considers them servants anyway), Nanami heads towards the bottom of the stairs.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

As much as Niramo wants to be stern with Marinette, it's a little hard to do so when she is just his exhausted. Marinette may have hidden the circles under her eyes well with makeup, but they're still there to the observant. That, and her friend has a point. "I...well, thank you for that. Juuban is a great school, but it's like climbing Mount Fuji upside down with what they can do."

Niramo holds up a few fingers before she sticks her tongue out this time, now that they're out of the way. "I have to keep you on your toes, after all! And...well, I guess that's one way at seeing it. Sometimes I swear she sees life as one big runway."

Nodding her head at Marinette, Niramo gives her friend a quick hug before she sits down. "Of course, but i'm going to make sure you get a good night's rest. I'm thinking a sleepover may be in order...and don't even think of protesting, or i'll tell Sabine-san about what you been doing!" It might be interesting to do a sleepover when she only has her ballgown, but...that's a problem for the future. "My house might be closer from here..."

Oh, is that what Fumiko calls it? "Suuure it is. I remember what you said when we first met. 'Did you have to let the blender do your hair? I guess a rough cut is in season.' I was so mad and said something about you, plastic surgery and Chloe. It...wasn't very flattering, I know."

Niramo's pinking cheeks shows some embarrassment from the memory. Was the insult that bad, or that mean?

Looking over at the sitting Marinette who looks like she's about to fall into a coma Sleeping Beauty would be proud of, Niramo shakes her head in pity again. "Marinette-chan justs...overextends herself. Like, a lot. I honestly have no idea how she managed to survive this long, but...yeah."

After a few moments, Niramo looks away from the over zealous fashion designer and towards Fumiko. "I...might need a little help getting her home later...do you mind helping? I'll make it up to you. Perhaps I have some cheesecake at home..."

Of course she doesn't need to bribe, but a proper quest giver is upfront about the quest rewards!

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Fumiko glances aside as her past insult was brought to light. "Y-yeah. It is a good thing we were able to work things out. That reply though... that's actually kinda why I gravitated toward you. I had a feeling before that, that there was some fire in you that you were hiding." She says this like she was the proudest friend in the world. "Thanks for not letting me - or anyone else - push you around."

In terms of the whole sleepover thing, she pretends to be hesitant. "I don't know... I guess so, if there's cheesecake involved. Otherwise I might decline." She grins widely to show that it was a joke. "I hope Marinette isn't too heavy though." She quickly backpedals, realizing possible implication. "N-not that I think you would be. I'm just not sure I can help carry a human being."

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Sophie Ellis-Baxtor - Murder On The Dance Floor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQvZX_A1mkw

It's entirely possible to see the exact moment Rei Hino realises she's dragged a girl out to the dance floor without thinking. It's about the same time Usagi asks if it's okay with red cheeks. "I - that is - you started it!" She stumbles over her accusations, and now she's blushing too, as if Usagi's infected her with her embarrassment.

But now everyone is looking at them, and if she backs down she's not just admitting defeat to Usagi (not likely), she's also admitting she doesn't know what she's doing to the school (a sure sign of Ohtori weakness). There's only one route available to her: pretend she totally meant to do this.

Except Usagi's all embarrassed and that makes Rei embarrassed, and maybe she clutches that hand a little too tightly. "Don't make this so awkward!" She snaps, red-faced, not at all projecting.

She'll certainly watch her, because that means she doesn't have to watch anyone else out there. Like the Vice President, who just happens to pass right by them. Her waltz is perfect. Rei and Usagi's...

Well, as soon as they started moving Rei was looking down at the ground between them in an effort not to step on anyone's toes. It doesn't seem to do much to help: she has two left feet. She manages not to fall over, so there's that. When Usagi realises what's clearly going on, Rei looks back up. (And immediately steps on Usagi's foot, which we will all pretend was totally intentional.) "Obviously," she says, with a huff. "Of course it's not fair! A girl has to use her wits in a competition - not that you'd know anything about that!"

If she deflects hard enough maybe no one will notice that she's off-balance, too. Dancing is hard. And she definitely doesn't need her struggles sympathised with by someone as pesky as Usagi Tsukino. It's not that it's not kind of nice to think she might appreciate how hard Rei's life is compared to her lazy Juuban days, but there's a reason she's private about this sort of thing!

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kassie does her level best to take Shizuru in stride. The snubbing that she works into Shizuru's words only makes her eyes sear that much more. With their parting and her taken into another dancer's arms to lead? Well, the President spins back around to offers to her fellow StuCo members with a sharp smile.

"I'm wounded, Shizu-chan. It seems I have a steep mountain to climb, up to the plateau of your esteem! I will be looking forward to our time together, dearest of all my friends." Smile. Oh-so-warm and friendly, definitely. Then she's awash in a small sea of partners, though each one less elegant by half versus Shizuru's skill and endless poise. They all somehow end up being girls, aside from one elementary school student that has her grinning. She slow-waltzes and laughs, face lit up like an indulgent Aunt.

It's probably the happiest she's been the whole night, though the horse ride is a very close second.

Finally however she steps off the dance floor after one more sweep....right past a certain bickering duo of Usagi and Rei. She pitches her voice so the dance floor can hear her as she seeks out the fiery senshi of Mars' ears as much as her partner's.

"Rei-chan! I'm frankly jealous, showing off with such a lovely partner that way! I haven't seen that style before, is it new?"

Her voice is nothing but full of praise even as her eyes shine deviously.

"Such glamour and grace, and so very....inventive with your steps! Introduce me some time, I'm sure we'll all be perfect friends!" She's so familiar, as if Rei were her best friend and they've known each other for years. Moreso than usual, as she cuts straight through propriety like a red-hot nodachi through butter.

Finally she ends up right by Steven. She flashes a winning smile to him. "Enjoying the party? I hope it's been an experience. Don't forget to show off on the dance floor little guy. Juuban might not have the recognition of Ohtori...but well, sometimes farmers rise up to become Emperors. You need to help that name resonate throughout the sister schools with honor!" She clenches a fist! Out for a bump, arm and fingers as hard as an iron bar despite the silk of her gloves covering them.

Then her gaze follows Stevens as the murmur kicks up in the crowd. Pink. A dress that flatters in both athleticism and feminine charm. Arms folded, and clearly uncomfortable in the sea of ruffles that is the gown. And a lovely, perfect rose at the chest.

Hair long and beautiful, the shade eye catching.

Kasagami Araki pauses and finds herself speechless. She looks over, clearly and many times. She takes in Utena Tenjou, gazing with increasingly wide eyes. Her heart finally remembers to beat. A hand runs down her own charred cheek as she forcefully pulls herself from wonderment.

A grin blossoms on her face. "....Magnificent. Completely, utterly, magnificent."

Curiousity knocks against captivation. Hands find her pockets, she tilts her head, before her hand lashes out again with the right to snatch a duo of fluted glasses with her fingers. One she holds with a pinky, the other her blurr of a stealing hand is balancing on knuckles. She offers the one on top to Steven without moving her gaze from Utena.

"I'm going to get her number if it kills me!" Then she's downing her own flute, only to toss it over her shoulder to the poor servant's horror.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

By the time Steven is done looking Utena's way and focuses back forward, someone is missing off the dance floor. "Huh, where-- eep!" squeaks Steven. "Oh, miss horse-rider lady! Hi!" he greets kindly. She seems rather... imperious! "Yeah! I never woulda seen anything like this back at Beach City! Just seeing this cool place makes the transfer worth it!"

"Y-Yeah! I hope I can do good at Juuban. I've never been to school before!" Is... Is he serious? He looks like hes in the 4th or 5th grade. Maybe he was homeschooled. A fist is offered, and Steven readies his own, but stops partway. "Oh wait! Hold on!"

He quickly slips on his aviators and bobs his head a few times. "Yeah, there we go!" Kassie gets a gentle fistbump pat against her own. "Gotta wear the sunglasses while you do it. I am told it is cooler that way."

Kasagami notices Utena. "Yeah, I saw her too. She reminds me of someone important with her dress," he comments. It of course isn't long before Kasagami is moving in, and in the blur of motion, Steven finds himself with a pretty glass of sparkling cider, almost dropping it himself! Amazingly, none splashes out. "Ooh, fancy!" he says, taking a sip.

Tastes odd, but good! He cuts quite the look as he drinks with those sunglasses still on. "Gonna go talk to her?"

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"... you didn't have to take it this far!" Usagi protests the idea that she started it with the very pointed accusation that Rei escalated it to a degree unexpected.

People are looking at them, and Rei is red-faced, and Usagi instantly rejoins with, "Who made this awkward!?"

There's a certain annoyance in her eyes that mixes with Usagi's own blushing face. "I was just going to have us each find a boy who was willing to escort us out there!" She doesn't actually giggle, but Rei can imagine that she might be at any other time, "I was hoping that maybe I'd find out more about what Rei-chan's type is!"

However then - Kasagami...

Usagi's shoulders slide up in this nervous shuffle from side to side mid-dance, as she tries to give Kasagami and her partner a furtive glance, whispering to Rei, "T-This is an Ohtori thing right? For girls to be jealous of what girl you're dancing with?" Talk about things becoming more awkward in the space of a few seconds...

Rei stepping on Usagi's foot causes her expression to lock up for a moment, lips locking together and eyes bugging from a haze of pain, and for the next few steps Usagi has this over-exaggerating hissing pant, eyes misting up. However she doesn't snap at Rei for that. After all she's stepped on her feet more times than she could count. It only feels fair.

After she recovers though, Usagi hums as if considering that thought deeply, "Well I use my wits sometimes!" She protests, and perhaps it's true in a sense. It's hard to get a sense of the crying, clumsy Usagi Tsukino having the ability to outwit someone. Yet on the battlefield, she does find a way to overcome that has nothing to do with raw power, "It's just I wouldn't think of it tonight. I mean... in a fight like this against Rei-chan."

There's something that's a note cheerful as she suggests, like their rivalry was wholly friendly despite how much they bicker, "I'd want it to be on even terms."

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

The song has ended along with the particular dance and another begins. The professional orchestra is taking a quick break, shucking instruments for water bottles; one of the clubs is up next.

A blistering electric guitar note crashes out across the party --

-- and is cut short with a squawk as someone rips the cord out of the amp.

"Nope," says Disciplinary Executive Suzushiro flatly. "Next!"

It's an ensemble from Infinity's musical program. They have a singer, which is toeing the line of acceptability, but allows things to get a little more upbeat, on the side of wistfulness -- and the dancing a little less formal.

BGM Start: Fly Me To The Moon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWkrE8hdFOQ

Other things that are happening:

  • New electees are starting to flood the dancefloor, which is as it should be, but it does mean that things are a bit less organized around the garden -- and the food. In fact, a waiter who's paying too much attention to the dancing and not enough to his platter of bite-sized caprese salads is going to get tomato everywhere if someone doesn't stop his tray from tipping.
  • Girls who haven't gotten to dance yet are increasingly desperate, and the floor quickly becomes crowded with mismatched, spontaneous pairings of every variety. The quality of the dancing plunges, though the fun rises, except for the most competitive.
  • There's a monkey sitting on the back of a horse. The horse is drinking from the punch bowl.
<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Anthy leans over the second opened box, openly admiring. It's so lovely, she thinks, even as Utena disparages it. All falls quiet.

She looks up, too, but doesn't meet bluer-than-sky eyes as that expression shifts; her gaze finds a spot on the far wall and fixes there. The shorter girl stills, as if in anticipation -- or bracing -- and then... Then Utena says it.

By the time the miniature drama plays out between girl and monkey-mouse, Anthy's putting her smile back on, and she gives it to her Engaged. She has to go; she has to make more friends.

"If you say so, Utena-sama."

Another seemingly simple response, agreeable and polite. Anthy reaches for the box and pulls her new dress back out with a slither of smooth fabric.


They make for quite the contrast atop the stairs, but then, don't they always?

Utena Tenjou's roommate lags behind her by a step or two, just enough that the grand bell of a pink skirt occludes her own -- still, she is vivid somehow in a way Anthy Himemiya nearly never is, at least not in public.

Such an early springtime green she wears, nearly exactly the shade of a germinating bud beneath the soil and before the sun warms it. From a fitted sweetheart bodice to the dreamy puffs of her sleeves, her dress accentuates a certain bird-boned delicacy of frame and form. It is a feminine confection of a thing, complete with matching neck-bow, and hair-bows nestled in her purple curls, and it could not have found a wearer better suited to it.

Why, it might just be special-made for her.

From their way-up vantage at the top of the staircase, Anthy looks around the room once... and feels a dizziness, not for the height but for the crowd she so wished to avoid. For now, she does not allow it to show on her face; because for now, she looks instead to Utena.

Just like everyone else, but... not exactly like everyone else. She is closer than most, after all.

She sees that grace exposed, of a trim athlete ensconced in slender bodice and accentuating ruffles; but Anthy also sees the unease, expressed in the plucking of fabric and the wetting of lips, and most of all in the way a girl so married to movement (whatever her current Engagements) takes halting, uncertain steps. Anthy Himemiya well knows these little signs of distress and discomfort; awareness aids concealment, after all.

"Have you seen the garden courtyard from that window, Utena-sama?" she suggests from the girl's elbow, leaning in close so she needn't raise her soft voice. The point of her chin casts a sharp little shadow across Utena's bare shoulder; she points. The spot she means is on the ballroom ground level which is nonetheless elevated compared to the grounds outside.

It is not the most inconspicuous spot an aspiring wallflower could pick, set against the dark panes of the night in their bright gowns, but Anthy's choices are often more complex than that. And she does in fact want to see the garden.

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Leaning on the wall and eating most of the Buffet Table's wares Takeo grins as he watches the others in the room having a good time. Given his proximity to his natural habitat, IE the table with all the food on it, He blinks a few times when he hears the slupring. Slowly turning his head he sees the Horse, with the monkey on it's butt drinking form the puch bowl. His head slowly. Ever so slowly tilts as he takes this in.

There is a horse doing mischief and for ONCE it's not Sparkles.

Clearing his head Takeo saunters over to the offedning equine and casually leans on the table. "Good punch?" He asks the horse. He nods once or twice. "Yeah. Good stuff. Good Stuff." He reaches for the bridle, and to pet the horse's snout, speaking calmling and in a soothing voice as he does so. "Come on big guy. Let's go introduce you to Eri's garden. I'm sure we can avoid trouble there."

Leaning to look at the Monkey. "You're coming with too. Just.... Look I'll find a banana, but let's get you guys outside." He nods and begins to lead toward the garden doors. "I'm Takeo by the way. I should introduce you two to Sparkles..."

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Attack where she is unprepared, Usagi-chan!" Rei is paraphrasing a little. "Who gave you the idea I'd just let you win?!" But everyone is looking at them, after all, and she snaps back to Usagi's question: "Have a little grace!"

She says this without a shred of irony.

Usagi tries to explain, and Rei's cheek's bunch up from the long straight line of her mouth. "Well maybe you should have said something! Honestly, geez! This is much better for you - we both know I'd be way better at getting a guy!" If she wanted to date an Ohtori boy, she'd have three of them hanging off of her. They're just Ohtori boys. She has taste.

And then there's that voice and she sort of stumbles a bit in her twirl before she manages to get her footing again. Rei fixes on a smile, teeth grit beneath it. "Kasagami-san," she says. "You are too kind." There's a particular emphasis on the words which suggests kindness is the furthest thing from her mind. "Congratulations on your new position - I am sure everyone is happy for you."

Maybe it's a bad idea to throw stones in a glass house, but she's already plenty annoyed, and she has no intention of letting one of Ohtori's Student Council get their hands on Usagi. It's different when Rei torments her friend. When someone else does it, that's just foul play.

"She's not jealous," Rei explains, quietly, and maybe her grumpiness can offset the awkwardness a little. "But yeah, it's an Ohtori thing. That's why I didn't want you coming here!" Ohtori is complicated.

"When you need to avoid doing work, sure, you're great at being clever!" Rei frowns, because if she's snappish it doesn't sound like she holds her abilities in esteem. "You --" and then she says that she doesn't want to be underhanded, and for a moment the irritation on her face flees in favour of being genuinely touched. "Th- that's just like you," she stumbles over the onset, "you really ought to be tougher, Usagi-chan."

The song fades, and she glances aside. "Well, I think the winner here is obvious. So we don't need to waste any more time out here, right?" That's about when her eyes fall on the horse and she just whispers, entirely done, "not again."

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Utena has never been wholly comfortable with the attention she receives (and, for that matter, often invites), but it's a thousand times worse in the dress. The hem of the skirt rustles as she shifts her weight from foot to foot, averting her eyes from the crowd and its many hungry faces.

A pang in her tummy, as she suddenly realizes what Anthy meant by 'they all start to look the same'.

She blinks; her many admirers can enjoy the unveiling of her eyes by those lowered, long-lashed curtains rising, but suddenly she has eyes only for her companion. This was her idea. She needs to take responsibility.

Already Anthy is the one taking care of her instead. Utena swallows and shakes her head a little, looks at her searchingly... then her eyes get lost, and sink, instead, into her greater appearance.

The shade of her skin beneath the the golden lights of the ball. The endless subtlety of the color of her hair. The gown is lovely but it's no match for her roommate. She's everything she's... supposed to be. Femininity incarnate.

She swallows again.

No wonder the underclassmen all voted for her, some distant part of herself remarks.

"Yeah," she says out loud, and leads the way down the stairs, as much to try to be some kind of help in this bizarro world she insisted they join for the evening, as to simply obey Anthy's direction. She owes her that. "That sounds great, Himemiya."

Digging deep, she finds a smile, and discovers that she didn't have to go as far down as she thought she'd have to, to retrieve it.

"I'm sure it's beautiful."

She sighs to herself as she tries to clear a path through the crowd, ruffles rustling. "I knew I shouldn't have worn this thing..."

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

"That one sounded lively," Shizuru comments blithely to a boy whose name is entirely irrelevant to her and then walks away, as Haruka ensures that particular song doesn't happen. As electees flood the dance floor, this particular Student Councilmember begins to leave it. And just in time, too--Shizuru sees the poor, poor waiter who is about to drop his tomatoes.

Naturally, she begins to walk right on by... But instead, she notices Rei and usagi talking with Kasagami and Rei looking terribly angry.

So instead she says to the man, "Ah, these look lovely, don't they?" And when he turns and notices his trouble, she will take one.

Her eyes linger, then, on the Engaged for an instant. But rather than moving in her direction...

"I think it's lovely that she came," Shizuru interrupts shamelessly Rei and Usagi just as they actually finish the important sentimental part. "She's an excellent dancer," the Vice President pronounces of Usagi Tsukino, and smiles. She takes this opportunity to pop the snack into her mouth and thus forestall any possibility that she could answer questions for the next thirty seconds.

It's an excellent excuse to draw attention away from the fact that she's watching Utena and Anthy over Usagi's shoulder, as they begin to leave the floor.

<Pose Tracker> Nanami Kiryuu [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

And of course, where there is Utena, there is Himemiya.

Steering her floating saffron hem and her bobbing back-bow, Nanami pilots a course to the bottom of the stairs. She feels genuine delight in seeing these two, so it's a simple matter to project it as she greets them.

"Himemiya-san! Tenjou-san! I'm so happy you made it!" Nanami places both her gloved palms atop Utena's hand for a moment, too clever to start with the more skittish Anthy. "Oh my! I can't believe how lovely your dresses are." She's successfully managing to soften her blustery voice. It helps that she's younger than these two, that they are technically her senpai.

"It means a lot to me that you're here tonight--I know it's not for me or anything, but I hope you don't mind my being happy about it." She looks abashed. "It's a bit of a scary night for me, so it helps to have someone to show around." Utena is the new girl here, but it's Anthy that she's looking at. It's understandable; the transfer student showing up tonight is actually less surprising.

"Do you ever feel like that?" Nanami asks with large eyes. "Like you're a lot braver when you have someone to take care of."

Nanami hasn't allowed too many words in edgewise thus far, which makes sense perhaps due to her self-proclaimed anxiety. She laughs a little, seeming to recognize this. "Well, probably you don't need any help, but you don't mind pretending, do you?" Leaning forward, she takes one of Anthy's hands in both of hers. "Come on! I'll show you the ballroom. It's only almost a big empty box with lots of people in it, you know. And I'd love to introduce you to my friends."

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"As if you're any more graceful!" She fires back crossly, "I thought a Shrine Maiden would be able to waltz better." How she made the connection between Shrine Maidens and waltzing is perhaps beyond anyone at first, though perhaps she assumes a Shrine Maiden should be able to dance.

"I didn't have time to say anything before you were just dragging me out here!" Usagi says as she whirls Rei around in the dance steps, just barely missing her foot yet again. "Besides I think you have a different idea of getting a guy than I do Rei-chan." As if she were imagining Rei Hino as just grabbing a boy and dragging him on the dance floor. "I think my appeal would astonish you."

Usagi nods soundly as Rei explains that it's an Ohtori thing, then cringes a touch at Rei's estimation of her avoiding work, "That's not fair-" However...

'You really ought to be tougher.'

Usagi actually looks thoughtful as the electric guitar blares its note, as the person is pulled off the stage, and another song starts. "Why?"

The question might sound ridiculous in and of itself. The context lends itself to why she needs to be tougher, as she suddenly she strays from her grip on Rei's shoulderblades, holding onto just one single hand as the music changes.

"If I was tougher then I wouldn't be..." It's almost like a certain emotion might drip off her tongue in the next few moments when... Shizuru interrupts. And Usagi blinks, as if she'd lost her train of thought. "Oh! Thank you... Do you- know Rei-chan well?" She looks sidelong at Rei, then at Shizuru Fujino. Then at the horse in the distance, which causes her to double take. "Does... this happen often?" She whispers back to Rei.

However, then she returns to the idea of the winner being obvious, "Anyhow not so fast Rei-chan. Why don't you introduce me to your friend here and then..." There's a competitive sort of sparkle in her eye, "And she can decide it for us." The girl says as she turns to Shizuru Fujino with a certain delight, having been complimented.

The dance floor is getting crowded, but fortunately this lends an opportunity for the two to be static in conversation. "Who do you think was the better dancer of the two of us? Me or Rei-chan?" She says, almost excitedly, with a certain fervor that belongs only to little kids, "It was me right? There's no need to hold back!"

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"....Transfer student, then? Don't tell anyone, but me too! Don't worry. It's a lot to get used to, but I think a guy with your confidence will figure out Tokyo. Beach City..." She's not familiar, though she jots down a mental note to look it up.

Her warm face falters finally, Steven chipping it down after the mental assaults of Nanami and Shizuru. She looks openly disbelieving of Steven for a moment.

A moment only, as he's suddenly whipping on those aviators and fistbumping. Kasagami's look melts into honest laughter. A swat is aimed to the little guy's back!

"Kasagami Araki, Student Council President and Head of the Araki Family School of Swordsmanship! Be careful when you're at Ohtori. You're a good person."

Then she's starting to walk over, only to glance back. "Mmm."

Ponder. "Maybe. Time to get a better look!" A shine to her eyes again, before she's casually traversing the ballroom in Utena and Anthy's general direction.

This does not, in fact, distract her from Rei-chan and that odango'd partner of hers. Kasagami feeds on that unkindness, and only barely holds back a laugh.

"Thank you, I'm honored! I look forward to this semester, Rei-chan. We'll have so much fun together!" Her voice is outright teasing at this point, as though Rei was a lifelong bud.

"Don't forget the lead should properly kiss the hand of the maiden. That is Ohtori tradition, right?" She speaks as if she's being forgetful here. At least she keeps the volume somewhat down.

Satisfied, her eyes track back. Anthy is beautiful in her own right, but the Girl Who Would Be King can't help but let her good cheer fall. The smallest of frowns for a second. The Rose Bride. She's heard the rumors. Weird. No friends. Nevermind the attendance record that makes her twitch unpleasantly.

In her narrow view of the world, she can't find value in that which doesn't work for things.

"...Strange." She mutters to herself.

Nanami makes her way to both girls, and Kassie finds herself a refreshment table near enough to hear everything. She takes a few seconds to absolutely wood chipper through some finger foods.

"Am I dreaming!? More wonderful angels in this glorious party!" Juuuust loud enough to hear, yet trying to make it sound like she was talking to herself.

Thoroughly awful, she then makes a good polite gesture in offering one of those drinks to a nearby patron. Which turns out to be the horse she rode in on as she watches Nanami, Utena, and Anthy with interest.

Much like an explosion she can't look away. Inwardly she ponders borrowing Steven's aviators.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

The waiter gasps and staggers, righting his tray in the nick of time.

It's a little too quick, actually, and a couple of tomato seeds sail through the air past Shizuru. One gets Usagi's forehead; one gets Rei's cheek.

Over at the punch bowl, the horse Kasagami rode in on looks up at Takeo; the monkey with the tie has to struggle to keep his balance, but then does the same, with absolutely dead black eyes.

Then he turns to Kasagami, and with exaggerated slowness, accepts the champagne flute. His forehead is stuck in it immediately.

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Yupp." Takeo says matter of factly as he watches the Monkey move his cold, dead black eyes of Monkeyness and dips right into Kasagami's champagne flute. "That just happened." He tilts his head at the horse and moneky and says in a voice dripping kindness. "How ya doing buddy? Good drink? Enjoying that drink in that puch bowl meant for people? Think your people do ya?" He leans over to peer at Kasagami. "One moment. I think your horse forgot who is in charge."

With those words Takeo puts his face right in the horse's making eye contact. "Listen buddy." He whispers harshly to the horse. "I'm literally the reincanate of a dude who mastered Horses. Like. He was a horse GOD. Which means, I'm a horse goddamn God. So. When I say let's go the Garden, where you can eat all of Eri's flowers, that's where we go." He leans in a little more and whispers slightly more harshly. "And understand this Horse. Eri grows and eats the food my food eats. You eat the same food. So you are my food. I'm higher on the damn food chain." He squints and now his nose is touching the horse's. "Ya got me Horse?" He then points with a finger toward the garden. "He looks deep intose dead Moneky eyes with the flute stuck to his head. "We'll ... We'll fix that outside." He blinks as he looks at the Monkey. "You're not secretly an evil demon are you?" He shakes his head. "No. Nevermind. I don't wanna know."

Leaning back over he smiles warmly to Kasagami, "Just a second. I'll take the horse out to the garden now." He waves with one hand, and then leans back to face the Horse. He points to his eyes with two fingers, then shoots those fingers back to the horse, and then tries to move the horse again.

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Shows what you know - waltzes are western, Usagi-chan!" Rei huffs, as if it's obvious why a shrine maiden wouldn't have them in their curriculum. "Besides, there's no universe where you manage to be more appealing than me."

(Rei's fan club would certainly agree, but they appear to be hard at work drafting up a ten-point plan for destroying this interloper who is daring to ruin their idol's image by dancing with her. How did they get a whiteboard into the ball..? Oh, there's Haruka to yell at them now.)

And then the President gives them that reminder. "I'd never--!" She begins to snap, face bright red, only to take a deep breath. "Kasagami-san," Rei smiles behind grit teeth as she starts again, "it's unreasonable to expect a Juuban girl to cleave to our traditions."

It's true that if Usagi were tougher, she might lose the quintessential essence of Usagi Tsukino, but it would also give Rei far less headaches at times like this. Once again she fixes a smile to her face as she turns to face one of her fellow titans in the field of family connections.

Inwardly, she thinks: I am rapidly losing control of my life.

Thanks, Usagi.

"Of course she is," Rei says in Usagi's defence. Her eyes track Shizuru's gaze to Utena and Anthy, briefly, and she marvels at the patience which must have been required to get that tomboy into such a frilly dress. "And naturally, you were also excellent on the dancefloor. Now --"

Her smile twitches as Usagi does a perfectly Usagi thing. "This is Shizuru Fujino," she says, because she has no graceful exit. "Shizuru-san, meet Usagi Tsukino. She's... excited to be here. Usagi-chan, why don't we go get some --"

Rei is having terrible luck with finishing her sentences.

This time, it's because her face is red not from embarrassment but from a tomato. She yelps as the seed flies at her, utterly unexpected - she wasn't paying attention to that particular event. "Ah," she tries to laugh it off, dabbing at her cheek with the back of her fingers to wipe it away, "I didn't know we'd stooped so low as to have our food delivered..."

It's not the best save she could have tried for, but it's fair to say Rei is on tilt right now. Their school will have so much material for the rumour mill by tomorrow...

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

It's better by the window. A garden through glass is still a garden, Anthy thinks.

Still, concern creases her forehead as she looks at her lovely companion and the garment which has her so out of sorts. Chagrin prompts her comment, but Anthy is herself out of sorts and thus, what emerges...

"Sumimasen, Utena-sama," she says with bowed head. "You're embarrassing yourself for my sake..."

In such a crowd she always feels watched, feels stared at, whatever the truth of the matter. That Shizuru Fujino stares in earnest escapes Anthy in her preoccupation with a hundred other possible gazes, and so Shizuru may stare undetected and unimpeded at the abeyant bent of Himemiya's neck and how easily she becomes the penitent.

Thank goodness Nanami Kiryuu arrives to save the moment!

She floats in on a cloud of goodwill -- wait, was that a fog machine tucked behind her...? -- and Anthy looks up with a flutter of thick lashes. Here is the lovely person who rescued her earlier from the hard hands of angry girls; the very same who told her of her Dance Queen potential.

Who wants to be her friend.

"Thank you, Nanami-san, I think your dress is very pretty too..." Emerald eyes dart to her Engaged. 'You have to make a lot more!' She looks Chu-Chu's way next, then back to the large liquid eyes of Nanami, so intent...

A little smile, tentative and real, appears on the Rose Bride's lips. For all her protestations, she has always secretly wanted to have another friend... maybe even two. She wants to believe. And so, she does; it is as easy as that. Besides, it seems like Nanami... understands. Along with her smile, Anthy gives the other girl a bobbing nod. "You're right... Oh?" An invitation, to go out among all those people.

Away from Utena's side.

Her delicate brown hand captive in Nanami's, she gives her roommate a final look. Then she gives her new friend her trust. "Okay, Nanami-san," Anthy says, and she trots willingly to the other girl's lead.