2019-03-12 - TIMELINE 3: Seeing The Danger! Enemies Find Common Ground

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TIMELINE 3: Seeing The Danger! Enemies Find Common Ground

Mikoto goes to Natsuki for help with some lingering questions.


Mikoto Minagi, Natsuki Kuga


Natsuki's Apartment

OOC - IC Date:

2019-03-12 - 2014-12-22

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

The reconstruction of Ohtori has taken months; it goes at fast pace. As nip turns to chill, the bridge is restored, new trees are planted... and the smouldering remains of a rose garden gets swift attention.

Mikoto eventually consents to detach from Mai's back, where she has been the model of a very affectionate and concerned backpack. Eventually.

Once she is not shadowing her girlfriends' every movement, sure that if she looks away disaster will strike again, Mikoto has tasks to see to. She is a questant; she searches. Of course, the usual truth remains, but there is something else Mikoto is looking for, in the wake of Golden Lightning.

... Alyssa's Child was crushed and broken, green light and catastrophe.

... Alyssa still drew breath, healthy enough to issue threats as she and Miyu fled.

There's something Mikoto doesn't understand - about them all. It's shaped like Gakutenou, falling in two pieces. If Alyssa did not die, where is Midori?

She has tried to find her, but Mikoto does not have a good track record, with finding things. As nip turns to chill she is forced to confront the fact that she does not know how to search - for something hidden in conspiratorial shadows.

She knows someone who does.

... Mikoto has never quite managed to get along with Natsuki. The tone was set early; nothing has interrupted its course. They have an unspoken agreement of non-aggression around Mai, the girl who links them - but Mai is not here, now. And both of them know they cannot trust each other. Not all HiME work together. Perhaps it is the exception.

Mai is not here, as Mikoto steps towards Natsuki's apartment. The winter sun shines through the hall. Mikoto, grave and deadly serious, is a poor fit for her surroundings. An apartment block, she notes, does not have as many exits as it ought. It's a poor choice of arena.

But Natsuki is difficult to track down, and she does not attend school often, and in any case there is no more school any more. This is the last day she'll be wearing that school uniform at all.

She rings the doorbell, takes a breath.

Offers an olive-branch: "It's me," called from the other side of who knows how many locks. "Not here to fight."

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

Natsuki would be the first to admit that her apartment was currently a mess. She normally kept it more organized than this but it was the least of her concerns. After spending months collecting data on the Sears foundation, and of Alyssa it wsa time to go over it all and it was giving her a headache.

She sips her tea as she rubs her tired eyes. It was things like this that annoy Natsuki the most. She knew there was a thread here, she knew everything was connected but there was still so much she didn't know. What exactly were the Hime? What did the Sears foundation want from them? How was her mother's death connectioned? And now of course there was the question of Alyssa and Miyu to add to the mix.

She sips and growls as she stared into her empty cup. "I swear I just made this five minutes ago, how am I out already?"

Her doorbell rang. Natsuki froze but then gingerly set her tea cup down. Who could it be? Few people knew where her address was, which she did on purpose. Was it possibly someone from Sears sent to take her out? Could it even be Miyu?

Then she hears the voice. Natsuki relaxes, but only slightly. To describe their relationship as rocky would be generous at best, but Mikoto had proven to keep their truce, at least so far.

Natsuki gingerly opened the door and glanced around. "You're by yourself," she stated frankly as she crossed her arms. "Does Mai know you're here?"

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

The first thing which crosses Mikoto's mind as the door opens is: Natsuki looks tired.

The second thing which follows is: perhaps this isn't quite so dangerous if she's addled.

She shakes her head to dismiss the tactical thought, and perhaps it seems as if she is responding to Natsuki's question. It's a reasonable assessment, because Mikoto answers: "No."

Mai has her tasks to see to, too.

Besides, Mikoto doesn't particularly want to expose her to this. It seems to stress her out.

"I wanna talk," she says, instead, voice lowering to clarify: "... about Midori." Her eyes flick behind her to the hall, and she does not say that it might not be something they want to speak about with open doors. Someone like Natsuki must know that much.

When she is allowed to step inside she does not sit; she is not here for a social visit. Once they are behind closed doors again, her lips press together in thought, with a short grunt. "Miyu defeated Gakutenou." This much she must know by now; Mikoto does not spend time on the details of the events at the refinery. "I looked, but Midori was gone. Thought Midori died, too. But when Artemis was defeated, Alyssa wasn't."

She shifts in place, fingers curling in loosely at her sides. "Might still be okay. But, I can't find Midori." It's an uncomfortable admission, to someone like her. "... thought Natsuki might." She does not insult her conspiracy-hunting. It's a skill like any other.

"Midori's one of us," Mikoto presses, the fist at her side tightening. "If it were me or Natsuki, Midori wouldn't forget." And there is more in there she does not say, about losing people to SEARRS, and it shows in the lance of pain through the words, like a sickle through skin.

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

Natsuki is quiet as she watches Mikoto and her eyes narrow slightly when she mentions Midori's name. Understanding her meaning, she steps aside and remains still until they are both inside and shut the door.

"Okay, what's on your mind that you felt compelled to come see me?"

She remains quiet as Mikoto talks and keeps to herself once she dones Natsuki grimly sighs as she marches around her coffee too.

"Yeah, frankly that's been bothering me too," she pointed to the pile of papers. "I'm been trying to find some clue on what exactly is going on. I wouldn't call Midori a friend, but it does bother me we can't find her."

She sits on the couch and looks up to Mikoto. "The fact that Alyssa is alive despite her child being destroy bothers me a lot."

She couldn't exactly put into words way, but she recalls Nagi's warnings of putting their life on the line when they become HIME. Natsuki assumed that meant their child was connected to their own life, but if destorying the child did nothing to them, then what did Nagi mean? Was it some twisted mind game?

Natsuki picked up a photo of Midori along with the photo of the remains of the school. "It's possible she had to go into hiding herself, but that never sparked to me as her style." She looks up to Mikoto as she chews her bottom lip. "Makes me wonder if she got captured somehow. I would assume the Sears foundation, but for all I know there's a third player involved in this whole mess." She ran a hand through her hair. "Frankly, the whole thing just gives me a headache." Natsuki then hands the photos over to Mikoto. "Don't suppose you have any new information to add?"

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

Maybe they can't call Midori a friend, but it's impossible to say she had no impact. If nothing else, she was one of the most forthcoming beacons of togetherness, pressing magical girls to work together against the forces threatening Tokyo.

... Mikoto found that aspect annoying, but Midori was also the only teacher who seemed to think she had any scholastic talent.

She hums assent, as Natsuki sits down and tells her how much it bothers her. It bothers Mikoto, too. It doesn't quite fit. Nagi has been famously unhelpful in figuring it out.

Natsuki lays out the options: perhaps she went into hiding, or perhaps she was captured. It is not so difficult for Mikoto to believe the latter. She has seen how SEARRS capitalises on an inability to fight, and without Gakutenou, Midori would have been vulnerable. But - she blinks in surprise as Natsuki raises the possibility of a third party, because Mikoto had not thought of that at all.

She steps forward, takes the photos, and flicks through them. "SEARRS want HiME," Mikoto says, scowling at a shot of the burned forest. Her thumb presses in against her forefingers, photo between them. "Once they get us, they..."

'Someone reinforced to me--exactly what I was made for.'

"... remake us."

The words ring hollow, and she does not elaborate. How can she give words to the way her friend and ally has been turned to the very organisation which terrorised them? "Maybe by now, Midori doesn't wanna be found." Guilt winds around Mikoto as she realises that perhaps her reluctance to trust Natsuki has already done damage. "Maybe Midori can't fight." And this much must be true; Gakutenou is gone. Perhaps it is not what she means, as she hands the photos back.

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

Natsuki gives a nod. She is a bit trouble by the use of the word 'remake' but it's probably best not to fully dwell on that. "It's highly possible she doesn't want to be found, and for all we know they're going to force her fight us against her will." She grimaces. "It's clear they just see use HIME as a prime resource for themselves." She shakes a finger. "Granted, that doesn't mean that we can't free her if she has been capture, but there's no denying the longer it takes the more damage is likely being done."

She sighs as she looks over her notes. "I've been trying to dig up more information about her, but she basically had an ordinally life besides that excursion she went with that professor and I know she is friends with another teacher at school."

She looks to Mikoto. "I've had asked her about Midori but she hasn't seen or heard from her since the attack."

She shakes her head. "The only thing I can think of left to do is to scout the city and the school ground for any clues, but so far it's been nothing."

Her mind then drifts to another person they thought missing who only revealed to turn up recently. "By the way, how is Mai anyway? She seem okay to you?"

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

The longer they take...

"Yeah," Mikoto nods, eyes casting down, and sadness softens them. "... it can't be helped," she mutters, the words informal as she pushes it aside.

Some of the HiME have such normal, normal lives. It seems as if they are split - between driven forces like Natsuki and Mikoto, and Tokyo girls like Mai and Yukino. It's not surprising to hear Midori was a regular girl (is she really a girl, or is she older than that..?), with a normal life. "Been looking," Mikoto says, of scouting. "Haven't found anything."

The harsh cast to her face is once again interrupted, though -- with an unexpected name. No matter her company, Mikoto smiles. "Mai's okay!" She says, and there is life to the words. "Kinda worried about grades, for some reason..." Mikoto keeps telling her it doesn't really matter, but apparently it does. "It's okay. I make sure Mai don't worry too much."

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed. Natsuki cracks a small smile. "That's good, at least that attack didn't ruin everything." And frankly, Natsuki doesn't get Mai's worry for grades either. They had bigger issues to attend to anyway.

She does frown. "With that said, Mikoto, make certain you keep an eye on her. We don't like each other, but Mai...is a good person and after the blow we dealt to Sears they'll probably become more desperate from here on out."

She leans over the table. "We don't know what their next move will be and considering Mai is one of the more powerful HIME, there's a risk they'll want to target her."

She and Mikoto weren't friends, but one thing they could both agree on is that nothing should happen to Mai. "We both at at least agree we see the actual danger a bit more than Mai does at times and there's no denying she can be a bit...reckless."

After the scare she gave them all, she felt like that was putting it mildly.

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

Well, Natsuki must have seen the way Mikoto clung to Mai for so long after SEARRS left. It took quite some time for her feel secure enough in the idea that perhaps Mai would not get hurt if she stopped shadowing her.

She still makes a point to stick closer than she did before. Just in case.

Natsuki makes that suggestion, though, that perhaps they will target her, and Mikoto scowls in instant worry and focus. (There is anger, there, as well; she knows what being targetted by SEARRS is like.) The other girl names Mai as reckless, and Mikoto forces herself to let out a breath, untensing her shoulders and rocking back from her ready position.

"... Mai promised she'd be more careful," she defends her, but there is a thread of doubt to the words. "Mai knows it's dangerous... right?"

Her teeth drag over her bottom lip, lightly, as she considers it. It feels wrong to make this decision without her, but she cannot deny the way Mai's options winnow to her. "... I won't let Mai get hurt," she concludes, after long moment. "No matter what, I'll protect Mai."

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

Natsuki gives a nod. "Good, the lesser causalities the better." She chews her bottom lip. "I think..Mai is practical when it comes to others safety, but she isn't always when it comes to her own." Natsuki thinks back to her mother and the risks she took to keep her safe and what that cost her in the end.

She shakes her head of the memories and begins to collect her papers. "Anyway, point is, we may not like each other, but we both agree we need to keep our guard up and hope Midori does turn out." She pauses briefly. "And if she does, it won't be as our enemy."

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

'... ah... Kozue's my... enemy.'
'That's right.'

There's a wistful sort of expression to Mikoto as Natsuki makes that final addition, and neither one of them ever knew how little girls looked to their mothers, as they stared at a pair of shoes too expensive to buy. Of wanting something - and being told no.

And she thinks: there are things Natsuki does not understand, either.

"I see," Mikoto echoes her, and Natsuki looks tired and Mikoto sounds bone-weary. Perhaps it sounds like: 'I understand.' Perhaps it sounds like: 'Midori cannot be our enemy.'

Perhaps it doesn't sound like she sees the actual danger.

It's only the fairy-tale we believe.

"I'll work with Natsuki on this," Mikoto says, instead, as she turns. Her word is her peace-bond. She takes a step towards the door - pauses. "... thanks." For hearing her out; for helping her with what concerns her, though they concern each other.

She does not say goodbye when she leaves.