2019-04-06 - TIMELINE X: The Critical Consequence of a Broken Sequence ~ 'Wanting'
|Title: TIMELINE X: The Critical Consequence of a Broken Sequence ~ 'Wanting'|
The most toxic element in Mikoto's life is her Lord Brother. What happens when she is led to believe he's gone - before she even finds him?
Mikoto Minagi, amongst others
| OOC - IC Date:|
2019-04-06 - May 2015
The Critical Consequence of a Broken Sequence ~ 'Wanting'
What Kasagami has said can't be true - of dreams and lotus-traps and death. Mikoto rushes to the inner sanctum of the shrine, and of course he is there.
"Lord Brother!" She calls, all a-panic. "Lord Brother, it's not true, right?!"
"Calm down, Mikoto," he says, smoothing a hand over the back of her head as she crashes into him. "What isn't true..?"
"Kasagami - Kasagami said - you were dead --" Mikoto sobs, because it is not the first time she has intimated such a thing. Perhaps she only realised when she made it obvious. "But my Lord Brother's right here, right?!"
"Sometimes," says the construct designed to maximise Mikoto's happiness, choosing his words with exquisite care, "when people important to us go away, we... forget."
The words feel true, and it is not just because he says them. Mikoto looks up at her brother, and her eyes rim with tears. "I failed - to protect my Lord Brother..?"
"I can't say," he says, in infinite regret. "In this place, I only know what you know. And there's something about her you're listening to, Mikoto. Isn't there?"
There has been; there always has been. Kasagami knows the old ways and speaks sense in her arrogance, and Mikoto has always listened to her.
But he has asked a question, and she must answer. Her breath hitches in her throat as she nods, vision blurring. "Yes, Lord Brother."
Her doubt is a coffin.
Mai goes to the couch where Mikoto has draped, despondent. She sits beside her, holding up a sheath of papers. "Mikoto, one of your classmates gave me your Golden Week homework. I know you haven't been feeling up to class, but maybe --"
Here she cuts herself off, because Mikoto has dragged her head onto her lap, sniffling. "Mai," she whimpers, small, "I failed."
The other girl does not know what Mikoto saw, but it is enough to see her suffering. "Mikoto..."
"There's no point," Mikoto mutters, and the words are hollowed out.
When class comes back to session she is convinced to attend. In all aspects but bare physicality, she is absent. She does not hear Midori as she speaks; she does not answer her questions.
"Mikoto-chan!" A sharp voice reprimands her, from the desk behind hers, as the class breaks for lunch. "Have some pride as an Ohtori student, and stop zoning out! The holidays are over!"
Slowly Mikoto turns to face Kasagami, and there is nothing but grief in her eyes. "... it's over."
"That's what I..." Kasagami sighs, as she realises what the other girl said. "Come on, Mikoto-chan, walk with me." And she does, with great weight on her shoulders. It is a weight added to, as Kasagami slips her arm around the smaller girl and the judgement slung across her back.
Mikoto says nothing, but Kasagami is skilled at saying many things. "It's hard, isn't it?" She asks, sympathetic. "It took me a long time to accept it, too. But you have so many people who care about you, Mikoto-chan! Even without him, you still have family!"
"I..." They are three mora which struggle to comprehend the depth of her despair, rising in tone in a way too weak to be a question.
"I consider you to be my very own sister, you know!" And so many times, Mikoto has told her she cannot think in such a way.
This time she sags against her, eyes lidding against her tears. "... Kasagami-neesama," she mumbles, and it is surrender.
The adoption brings her no joy.
Eri takes her aside, one day.
"Mikoto-chan," she starts, "is everything okay? You've been... different."
Mikoto cannot quite meet her eyes, but she has always been able to talk to Eri Shimanouchi. It takes a moment - two - three. "My Lord Brother's... gone," she says, eventually, and the contrast between archaic and modern address is made plain as she goes on: "My sister's right. I'll never find him."
The gardener has a look as if her dreams have turned to ashes in her mouth, and Mikoto does not see at all. "And you're sad... because you've lost that."
Mikoto nods, mutely.
"None of us can possibly be what he was to you," Eri says, carefully. "But... if you ever need anything, I'm here."
"I need my Lord Brother," Mikoto says, and the words tremble.
It's the one thing Eri would never give to her.
And the magical world grinds forward in its conflict, and Mikoto is not there, because she is in mourning. Perhaps it is a relief, to Mai Tokiha; Mikoto isn't fighting any more. It is one of the few ways it could be interpreted in good light. There is a lack to her, and she does not growl at enemies or draw lines in the sand. She does what she does only with prompting.
In this way Mai gets what she wants - and Kasagami gets what she wants - and Eri gets what she wants.
Mikoto isn't fighting. Mikoto is family. Mikoto has forgone her brother.
She's everything they ever wanted her to be...