2019-04-06 - TIMELINE X: By Right of Birth and Challenge ~ 'Secrets'
|Title: TIMELINE X: By Right of Birth and Challenge ~ 'Secrets'|
Spurred by increasingly alarming revelations about the Ends of the World, Rei enters the world of politics to fight them on a different battleground. It is not without sacrifice.
Rei Hino, amongst others
Tokyo, various places
| OOC - IC Date:|
2019-04-06 - January 2015
By Right of Birth and Challenge ~ 'Secrets'
In the end, one thing is clear, to Rei Hino. By night, they struggle against the forces of darkness. There are hundreds of youma, dozens of Dark Generals behind them. Each time one falls, another rises to their place.
But by day, there are monsters, too. They are bankers and lawyers and politicians, making calls which sound so innocent and say nothing incriminating at all. They make their calls, and girls disappear. They are the shadows which lurk at the edges of Tokyo, and whenever Rei turns her head, they're gone.
As a child, she would never have entertained the thought of her father. Perhaps it is only with age that she appreciates the complexity of the situation. There are monsters in power, conspiracies she cannot grasp the full shape of.
And that's why she's here.
"Hino-san," the reporter asks, thrusting the microphone forward, "can you tell us anything about your youth initiative?"
"Of course," Rei smiles, practiced. Back straight, facing forward, friendly gestures, relaxed shoulders. She hates how easy it is. "I believe that young people are a powerful source for social change, and it is vital we use our power responsibly."
"Is there any truth to the rumour that you intend to run yourself when you turn twenty-five?"
"The future is not set in stone," Rei answers, smoothly, "but certainly I would feel proud to participate in the democratic process."
"Will you be following your father, Takashi Hino-san, in his policies?"
Here, her smile tenses just so. "I have learnt much from my father, foremost the necessity of being firm in one's own convictions. My father has done much for this country, and I hope to bring him pride in my own efforts." Well, certainly she has learnt something from him. She has learnt how to lie.
Gently, she directs the conversation away from her father, to the charity event she is holding.
"My," Shizuru remarks, over the cup of tea she has painstakingly poured. "You certainly have ambitions, Hino-kun."
"No more than many," Rei replies, in the sort of seiza which would leave Usagi squirming. At once she points out the ambitions of Ohtori students, and something else entirely.
"I imagine everyone will be watching quite closely," Shizuru says, brown eyes placid. "It's difficult to slip away with that sort of attention, isn't it..?"
"I've always been able to find time to myself," Rei says, smile fixed on her face. It's a lie to say she dislikes Shizuru; over time they have grown quite close, she thinks. And it is precisely because she knows her, because of what she thinks she knows, that she is wary. "If anyone watches quite that closely, I'm sure they'll... get the message."
"Will they," Shizuru wonders, without enough inflection for a true query.
"Don't you think so?" It's a question which is deliberately mild. "In any case, I came to discuss the festival..."
Usagi latches onto Rei's arm, tugging her towards the arcade. "Come on, Rei-chan! You've gotta have a little time to mess around, right?!" It is the same motion she has made a million times before; for once, when Rei jerks away, it is in earnest.
"Usagi-- chan," she says, and it is so difficult to remember the honourific in public. "Haven't I told you not to do that?!"
"But it's just the mall..." There's something in Rei's reprimand which makes Usagi wilt, eyes moistening.
"You saw the pictures they published," Rei scowls, turning away so she doesn't have to see. "I have to be careful now."
"But -- Rei-chan!" Usagi protests, and there is something in it which shatters at her resolve.
"Come on," she says, and into the mall they go, to the booth of a karaoke bar. She does not intend to sing. She has not sung for some time. She sits herself down, reaches out a hand to take the other girl's. "... it's not you, Usagi," she says, finally. "It's not even me. It's my father."
"You never talk about him..." Usagi ventures, and she cannot hide her concern, or her sadness.
"He's - you know, just a politician," she shrugs a shoulder. He is not just a politician. He's a member of the Diet, a representative of the Democratic Liberal Party. But Rei is uncomfortable enough as it is, mentioning him. "And now I'm in the public eye, everything I do is coming back to him." Acid lances across her tongue with the taste of bitter batteries as she adds: "Again."
"But why does that matter?" The sorrow overflows the concern, and it's harder to ignore how damp her eyes are now. "I miss Rei-chan!"
"I--" For a moment the words stick in her throat, and she sighs, looking away. "I miss it too, Usagi. But you've seen what's been happening. Even now, with the Keys..." She shakes her head, hair falling over her shoulders. "This is a threat we can't even see, Usagi, and it's bigger than us. These people are... you know, they're the people kind of monsters. If I can take the fight to them - if I can get on this playing field, I might be able to figure it out."
Her grip tightens around Usagi's, and she looks back to her. "This is something only I'm in a good position to do, Usagi. I -- I have to do this. We can't fight what we don't understand. It's a long game, and I need to start now. And if I want to stand any chance, I... need my father. It's not like I like it either, but..."
"If you feel you have to," Usagi breaks eye contact, now, "I won't stop you. Just... tell me what to do, okay? I don't really... know how this works or anything, so..."
Somehow, that hurts even more than her protests.
It's not the thing which hurts most by the end.