2019-02-18 - TIMELINE 3: Slacking Off?! What's Pushed Aside?

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Title: TIMELINE 3: Slacking Off?! What's Pushed Aside?

Mikoto and Takeo eat all the snacks, and fail to make certain connections about each other.


Mikoto Minagi, Takeo Akamizu


Ohtori Academy

OOC - IC Date:

2019-02-18 - 2014-09-13

.******************** Yamanote High City - Ohtori Academy *********************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Ohtori Academy +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 The ivory crown on the brow of Southern Cross Island, Ohtori Academy is
 separated from the world by more than just water. Outside, education can be
 a luxury. Within this white-walled compound, education is luxurious.
 Marble colonnades spring up like fountain spouts, scarlet flowers drench
 every free surface. The architecture is at once daringly art deco and
 austerely Classical, white marble lending an angelic weightlessness to
 pillars and fences that can seem more woven than carved.

 At the center of campus is the Chairman's Tower, a dizzyingly tall spire in
 the center of a manicured grassy field. Radiating around this field are the
 lecture halls, dormitories, art buildings, and other facilities by which the
 chosen few receive education, with small class sizes in large buildings.
 It's common for students to refer to a building's location as if the hour
 hand of a great clock extended from the central tower. At twelve o'clock,
 for instance, the Duel Arena looms like a jade stormcloud, a great forest
 forming a living pagoda of leaves that reminds even longtime students that
 their school keeps many secrets.

 The rose is the emblem of Ohtori, and campus is decorated with a profusion
 of them, both living and frozen in frieze. Poppies are favored as well, and
 thick carpets of either flower can be found wherever the loosest excuse is
 available. Only the most bitter of winters seems able to fully erase the
 faint fragrance from the air, and students who leave the island via quick,
 convenient bridge or ferry can often find a memory of it on their clothing.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It's time for the Sports Festival!

This time it is not Juuban but Ohtori hosting -- and everything is so much grander. The spoons with which one balances an egg are finest silver, and the fluttering ropes which mark off the racetracks are woven from silk. The snacks are hors d'oeuvres instead of bean cakes. But it's not all ostentatiousness: the fine grade of their equipment only serves to underline how professional this Festival is. This is high-grade athleticism, in performance and presentation.

This time last year, Midori Sugiura oversaw the three-legged race, an exercise which touted trust and and openness amongst students. This time, her friend Yoko Sagisawa, Ohtori's school nurse, is the one monitoring the event - perhaps because the high stakes Ohtori's environment encourages is making students push themselves way too hard. Or perhaps she's just covering for Midori again. It's just like her to leave Yoko in the lurch, huh..?

It is one of many events which is running in Ohtori's grounds. Elsewhere Mimi Hanyu, head of Performing Arts, sets students up for an obstacle course - and somehow, she's managed to avoid doing any work at all, because all those students are perfectly happy to do it for her. Further still, the maths teacher Haruna Sakurada organises tug-of-war, rounding up students and rallying their spirits. The sound of a ball impacting a bat suggests a baseball game, somewhere.

Yes - the Sports Festival is underway.

But there are always going to be students who simply don't care to compete - perhaps they're out-of-shape, or sickly, or not fond of sweat and effort. Last year, Mikoto did little to participate in the festivities, though those few things Mai managed to cajole her into demonstrated her stellar physical capabilities. It seems, today, she's determined to repeat her laziness; she is not found when she is called out. Well, she's never been a model student, even though she's supposedly here on a scholarship.

She's by the snack table, currently nibbling on a crepe. She seems perfectly happy with how she's chosen to occupy her time, and is equally confused when a classmate asks why she isn't coming at Sakurada-sensei's call. Why should she fear her wrath? It doesn't really matter. Snacks, on the other hand, matter a lot.

Never mind that she was so sad yesterday.

She's fine now - right..?

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

It's been one of those days when Takeo can not, no matter what he does, catch a break. He's been running everywhere at every teacher's beck and call because they think he's lazy and they're watching him and keeping him occupied. However the call of snacks, though devoid of bacon they may be, calls to the young man, and he eventually manages to escape the clutches of the evil Teacher Assosiation. He is 100% positive, if one were to ask him, that this is a real thing, and the Teachers at Ohtori are all high ranking members of a Dark Fall Kingdom, and Homework their Youma.

So when he manages to sneak off what does he discover? A cat eating a crepe. Well. Not a cat, but close enough. "Mikoto-chan?" He asks plopping down net to her, his own plate piled with pilfered crepes. He sets down a chilled six pack of Mt Dew and looks over to the younger Ohtori student. "I figured these shenanigans would be your thing. I mean. I've seen you literally leap like a hundred feet in the air ... " He shrugs and noms a huge bite off his stolen confection. Breaking the plastic ring he holds over a neon green can of the precious Mt Dew to the girl in offerring to appease the Cat Demon whose domain he has interrupted.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Is Mikoto the fire-mouthed demon cat who haunts Ohtori? Well, there are certainly people who swear it's true. (How terrible!) But the rumour mill of Ohtori Academy can make these things sound positively outlandish - even the claims of those students who think they saw it happen.

It seems true, at least, that the cat demon can be sated with the appropriate offerings. (Milk, water... whatever will cool the throat.)

And so it is as Takeo approaches. She looks up, cheeks full of crepe, as she hears her name, and at least has the presence of mind to swallow before she answers. "Takeo!" She offers in friendly greeting, yobisute, and she smiles. The sound of a ball being hit by a bat cracks through the air again, and Mikoto looks towards it, canting her head; braids trail over her face with the motion. "... don't see point," she supposes, after a moment, as if she hadn't thought about it at all. "There's no reason."

She shoves the rest of her crepe into her mouth so she can take the proffered can; Mikoto knows it's Takeo's favourite, and so it is a gesture of friendship. It takes her a few moments to chew and swallow, such that the drink is welcome by the end. Soda is one of those strange new things about Tokyo Mikoto has never quite been able to get used to, but it's nice. "Takeo's not out there neither," she points out, curiously.

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

Grinning as the can is taken, Takeo pops a tab on his own can before he takes another large bite out of his own crepe. "I am not." He agrees with Mikoto and then offers a shrug. "I'm competitive. Hate losing." He shrugs a shoulder and sips the can of Mt Dew. "Plus ... It sort of reminds me of Mika. She loves this festival. She's the more sports person out of us. She plays Baseball, pretty good too!" He sips his soda. Finally he shrugs a shoulder. "I just like my Martial Arts and racing my Motor-cycle. I'd settle for horse racing, but I think using a magical Horse might be frowned on by the judges." He grins over to Mikoto.

As a cheer goes up after another crack from a ball being hit, Takeo looks to the sound. "No reason huh? Heh. Good enough for me." He grins back at her again. "Wanna see if we can snag some of every food vendor here? I haven't found bacon yet, but this being a High School, they have LOADS of Mt Dew." He waggles his eyebrows and lifts the now Four Pack. "If we look hard enough we might find nachos!"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto hums as she considers it, nodding intently. She's heard of Mika, by now - and at least knows enough not to press the subject. So, too, does she know not to point out that martial arts are just pretend fighting.

(Mikoto does not frequent Ohtori's dojo, as a rule.)

"But, Sparkles is good," Mikoto wrinkles up her nose, as he mentions that the judges wouldn't appreciate her. It's not very fair for them to dismiss her just because she's a magic horse.

She takes another sip of her soda, and brightens as Takeo mentions going to get more food. "Yup!" She chirps, springing to her feet and shouldering her sword-case; somehow she manages to do it without letting go of the can at all. It's a gesture which indicates that she could perform admirably during this festival, if only she'd try.

For some reason, she's not trying.

Apparently, it's because there's no point to a show of skill like this. Mikoto doesn't need to demonstrate how good she is. She already knows she's capable. But there is another explanation for her reticence, this year, which she elides so that she can smile --

-- and it's the Ohtori uniforms below golden masks.

She says nothing of it, and instead waves her free hand to Takeo, as she starts off for a refreshment stand. "Takeo, Takeo!" She calls, eagerly, bounding off to the table where snacks have been served. There are delightful little crab puffs, and shelled prawns, and roasted satsumaimo - Japanese sweet potatos, purple outside and yellow inside.

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

Getting up and following Mikoto, Takeo grins and, while he doesn't bound as Mikoto does, he does move quickly to the stand. He takes a deep breath of the smells of the stand and grins ear to ear. Crab Puffs. They're not the Hokaido Crab Cakes, but they are, in fact, still delicious. He slides up to the table and begins to plop the food bits on his plate. Especially roasted satsumaimo, one can never have too much satsumaimo. Or any Potato product. Especially the vaunted, and crispy chip.

While he is piling his plate full of goodies he asks Mikoto casually, "So. Why is there no reason to this?" He gestures with the Soda cans to the sports going on. "Do cats not do sports?" He gives her a mischievous grin and a wink.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Hokkaido Crab...

... Mikoto tries not to think on that too much. She ran into Endo when the two of them were both trying to capitalise on the buffet just before the trip ended. She just can't seem to get along with him.

Oh, well. There are a lot of people Mikoto doesn't get along with very well. It would be easier to list the people who have no problem with her, really. The nice thing is that Takeo is on that list as far, as she can tell.

She, too, partakes of satsumaimo; it's fluffy and delicious. She glances back to Takeo as he asks, though, blinking once - twice. "No," she points out, as if it's perfectly obvious. "Not like this. Cats play to learn. Not about first place."

It's only a moment later that she realises that Takeo was not, in fact, asking about why her cat friends were not competing. She scrunches up a corner of her lip, humming through closed lips. "'Cause I'm better than most of them," she says, shrugging a shoulder. "I got nothing to prove here." It's a casual sort of arrogance, not delivered with any particular haughty pique; as far as Mikoto is concerned, it's just another fact she's pointing out.

She breathes out through her nose, looking up as cheers erupt from the tug-o-war arena. "... and 'cause I'm better, I'd stick out, Takeo." Her brow knits, tension drawing down her lips. "I'm..." But she glances aside, as a student passes, and does not finish her thought.

(Being watched, she thinks, and does not say.)

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

As Takeo pops buttery, savory and puffy delicious Crab Puffs in his mouth, he considers the girl who is Mikoto. He likes her. Not ... Likes likes, but he does genuinely love Miktoto. She's his sword sister. A phrase borrowed from Lancelot's time? Absolutely. But if a guy can't borrow concepts and ideas from a past life other than a bad case of PTSD, a fear of Loud and sudden noises and the inability to sleep at night because of horrific and traumatic nightmares that would make even the fiercest warrior scream in absolute terror, then what the hell good was a past life?

Finishing chewing his butter ball of deliciousness that is a puff, Takeo shrugs a shoulder. "Sometimes it's about having fun Mikoto. I have a hard time with baseball and ... well ... Normal sports because I did them with Mika. Without Mika-chan they don't feel right. But I enjoy my Kendo and martial arts, fake as it is to the real stuff we do, and I really enjoy racing." He shrugs a shoulder. "I've heard some people say I like racing because I like to show off. Those people would not be wrong, OH. Try the roasted satsumaimo with the herb sauce!" He puts one on her plate. "Freaking. Amazeballs. Anyway, but I also like racing because there is something .... Great, about going fast, seeing the world rip past you and just the freedom of the wind in my hair." He shrugs again. "So. Little Sword Sister. What do you find fun?" He gives her his full attention. Because he genuinely wants to know.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto wouldn't know anything about those sorts of difficulties; Mikoto has had a very good life. She's forgotten most of it, but that's normal. No one remembers their childhood very well. What matters is the present, right?

She listens, attentively, as Takeo instructs her about fun, nodding along with the explanation. (She has certainly groused about fake fighting more than once before she figured out that she might be hurting Takeo's feelings.) "Okay!" She smiles, holding out her plate as he recommends a particular snack; the sweet potato is swiftly devoured.

And then he says a particular thing, and maybe it means something different, to him, but there is only one meaning to a word like that for Mikoto Minagi.

Suddenly she is intent - thoughtful - as she examines him, a hand dropping from her plate to press against her chest. She glances over her shoulder, frowns, and reaches around her neck. There is a red cord which hangs there; he has never seen what it is, until now. A pendant, an obsidian-dark bead with elaborate housing. She looks up to him, venturing, hopefully: "Takeo... does this look familiar?"

She does not realise that no one would recognise it. Hope is the last evil left in Pandora's box.

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

Takeo Akamizu stops eating and looks intently at the thing that Mikoto is showing him, The red string, the obsidian orb, the twin sides that flare out and the long pointy bit at the end. He frowns a bit. SHOULD he recognize this thing? Then it dawns on him, he DOES recognize it! "Of course I do. It's the necklace you wear." He shrugs a shoulder. "It's cool looking. Is that something your parents gave you?" Recognition comes, just not in the way that Mikoto likely wants. "He gives her a sideways glance. "Are you telling me you secretly like jewelry making? Because, no lie, that's totally metal if you do. You could make some AWESOME Hilt ornaments."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Hope crosses Mikoto's eyes and is just as swiftly crushed, as she realises Takeo's knowledge is superficial. She hides her pendant away again, and looks away, frowning. "No. My Lord Brother gave it to me." He may have, once or twice, heard her use the phrase before; it is formal, archaic, entirely ill-fitting with her simple language. "... so I guess I'm not Takeo's sister."

Every time she asks, the answer is the same. They never recognise it in the right way. Sometimes they think they are funny. It's not funny. It is the task she was sent here to accomplish, the task she has spent so many hours on while the rest of Tokyo dealt with Witches, or Jewel Seeds, or Nakewameke. It's important to her. It's the most important thing to her.

The one person in the world more important than Mai Tokiha, and she's guessing.

She's been here for a year, and she's still guessing...

Mikoto shakes her head, as if she could shake off the sad thoughts. "I like cats," she says, to distract herself. "Making friends with cats. And eating Mai's food. And climbing. And being with friends!" Strangely enough, fighting does not make the list of things Mikoto considers fun.

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

Frowning he nods to Mikoto. He has heard her use that phrase before. It is something that drives her, something important to her. It's pretty much akin to his looking for a way to repair the sheathe, or find the Holy Grail before Morgana. It's also just .... Important to her. He then nods to Mikoto. "I'm not .... Your Lord Brother Mikoto." He says softly. "And. I too am rather fond of Mai's cooking, in fact I look forward to every chance I can get with Mai's Cooking." He grins to Mikoto, "Cats are cool. I like dangling string for them. Watching them go absolutely insane. I especially like it when the purr though. It's comforting. It's like nature's motorcycle engine."

He stops and looks to Mikoto. "I have memories. Old ones. That are mine, but are ... not ... I had friends, and I even remember a ... girl ... " He clears his throat. "But, despite the closeness I feel to those memories, you and Mai, and Eri .... " He clears his throat. "You're my closest, and best friends." He holds up a finger, "But. We have too swear to never give in to Eri's dark and evil side of vegetarianism. That's just wrong. We shouldn't eat the food of our food."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

He's not, he says, and Mikoto nods, a sad cast to her eyes. She knows. Takeo can't be her Lord Brother, because Takeo already has a sister. But he called her sister, and she thought... she always thinks, maybe, this time...

Well, never mind that, because Takeo's just mentioned Mai. And cats! "They're practicing," she points out, on the nature of string, smiling again. "Learning to hunt better!" And there is a nature of hunting which is tooth and claw, hand over hand; and there is a nature of hunting with horn and horse and hound.

Mikoto is acquainted with one of those methods.

She tilts her head as Takeo starts talking about something serious, too. Memories which are his, but not his? She frowns as she tries to figure it out. It doesn't make much sense to her. All of his thoughts would be his thoughts, wouldn't they? That's why it's Takeo's mind.

Maybe it's just a magic thing; certainly it is nothing she can wrap her head around.

"Takeo's my friend too!" She smiles, instead. But to his insistence that vegetarianism is wrong, Mikoto simply points at the sweet potatoes on Takeo's plate and gives him a skeptical expression.

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

"Potatoes don't count." Takeo says very quickly in defense of his starchy choice on his plate. "Especially when served with meat." He waggles an eyebrow and pops the last Crab Puff into his mouth. He slides to the side at the next stand where he begins to refill his plate, because there is food, and by god, he was gonna eat as much of it as he could.

He does smile at Mikoto. "Thank you Mikoto. For being my friend, and watching my back, and in general just being awesome." He grins and plops a hand full Yakitori onto her plate. He picks one up and offers it up to Mikoto in the traditional "Cheers" fashion. "To good Friends, and always good food!"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Huhhh..." Mikoto trails off, still skeptical.

Maybe meat just overrides vegetables, so that vegetables are okay if meat is involved?

Does fish even count as a meat?

These are the sorts of deep philosophical questions which Mikoto must ponder for many hours, right up until she gets distracted by a cat or a friend passing by. She'll come up with a unified theory of When Vegetables Are Okay eventually, right after she finishes figuring out how love works.

She has, at least, figured out how being friends with people works already. "Yup!" She chirps, raising her yakitori in turn, because that's what Takeo is doing, so it must be the right thing to do. "Friends are good!"