2019-04-06 - TIMELINE X: The Lack of a Chance Meeting ~ 'Communication'
|Title: TIMELINE X: The Lack of a Chance Meeting ~ 'Communication'|
When Mikoto Minagi never faints on Mai Tokiha, she remains in active threat mode, ready to handle all the enemies this new world has to offer. It goes poorly.
Mikoto Minagi, amongst others
| OOC - IC Date:|
2019-04-06 - Late 2013
The Lack of a Chance Meeting ~ 'Communication'
Mai Tokiha stays back, in the nursing office, with Takumi; she is too worried about him, after the excitement on the cruise ship. Mai puts thoughts of a disappeared girl out of her mind, and does not go searching for stray cats.
It means that another girl is not disturbed, as she drains water from the fountain. Without an enemy to fight, she is able to hide under a hedge before she faints. A pale boy wakes her with a taunt and a sandwich. She learns that some food cannot be trusted.
She does not learn that some people can be trusted.
Chie Harada is a nexus for the rumours of Ohtori; she hears every titter and is part of all the group chats. She is the first one to put together a profile of the monster which has begun to haunt the Academy: a small, sharp thing, with bright yellow eyes, which lurks on rooftops and in shadows. A monster which attacks when cornered, and stalks the boys of the school, and steals mild meals.
The magical community grows agitated as the picture comes together. Is this a supernatural threat? Certainly, civilians are being put in danger. Just last week, Nanami was thrown to the ground after she ventured too close to a rosebush. The Disciplinary Committee can't respond to a demon, no matter the efforts of Kasagami Araki.
They find in time that the demon cat is a girl: a tiny girl with a huge sword and no interest in conversation. She does not speak but she snarls, like a beast, and in time it comes to light that she was responsible for sinking the cruise liner at the beginning of the term. And they try to reach out, but they are girls; they fail.
The magical boys she does not fight immediately, but she gets close and she examines them and it is revealed she can speak after all as each one is dismissed: "Not you."
And then she fights them, too.
It is true that the dark girl which haunts Ohtori is terrifying, as anything which communicates only through violence is. But she is a girl, after all. Her name is Mikoto Minagi, though she has told no one, and this world is frightening for her too. She must find her Lord Brother, and yet day after day, all she finds are enemies. Some of them try to trick her, but she knows better than to listen to enemies. Girls are warriors, and they oppose her. There are even some boys fighting, but none are whom she seeks.
There is one with two crackling blades, and when she dismisses him he cries out: "What do you mean, not me, huh?!"
Blade matches blades, and they stagger back, and Mikoto snarls.
"Come on," Takeo Akamizu tries again, "what do you want?!"
Perhaps it is a function of a boy asking her; perhaps she is just tired. "My Lord Brother!" Mikoto shouts, as she brings her blade overhead. "I want - my Lord Brother!"
"Do you really think you're gonna get him attacking everyone?" He asks, as his blades come up in crossed guard.
Mikoto bears down, growling. "In... my... way!" And finally he finds the leverage to throw her back, and she springs out of range of reprisal, as if on instinct. She finds herself committing to the motion, as lightning follows her.
"If that's the way you want to do things, there's no way I'll let you hurt everyone!" Takeo declares, and it is a condemnation. He chases her off, eventually. They usually do.
It never sticks, because her Lord Brother is in the land of Fuuka, where Ohtori now stands. This is where she must be; the others are irrelevant.
It is with surprise that, one day, she hears her name. "Mikoto Minagi," level and stoic. "If you continue on this path, you will have brought it on yourself."
Mikoto whirls with wide eyes to behold the girl standing behind her on the rooftop. "How?!" She demands, because no girl knows her.
Homura Akemi is unblinking in the face of the threat. "Meaningless conflict is a distraction."
Mikoto draws her sword and advances, but she must have blinked - because the girl disappears.
Mikoto growls, to herself, as she sheathes her blade. She is certain she has not spoken with any of them about herself. She does not know how this girl knew these things, and it troubles her.
A distraction, she said.
It's true that with so many girls hunting her, it is difficult to focus on her task...
... but those who fight her are enemies, aren't they?
It comes to pass that one day soon, she comes upon the girl from the ship who scrambled and ran. And Mikoto snarls, to see her, and moves to defend herself, as she always does.
"Wait -- wait a minute!" That flame-haired girl cries out, holding her hands in front of her. "You're HiME, right?! Like me!"
Again it is a girl who knows something she has not been told; she does not know that Mai Tokiha has been speaking to the first enemy she fought here. Fractionally she lowers her blade, dips her head in a nod with a grunt of affirmation.
"So why are you terrorising everyone?!" She demands, angrily. "What did we do to you?!"
She oughtn't entertain the words of an enemy; perhaps she already has. "Fought," Mikoto replies, simply.
"Of course they're fighting! You're scaring everyone! Why wouldn't they defend themselves?!" Mai is indignant; she has a boy to protect in this school too, after all.
"I am," Mikoto hisses through grit teeth.
"You're -- what?" Mai asks.
"... defending myself." A hint of her exhaustion escapes Mikoto, despite herself. "Surrounded."
All a sudden realisation hits, and Mai's defensiveness is supplanted by sorrowful compassion. "Have you even been able to talk to anyone..?"
"Not supposed to talk to enemies," Mikoto says.
"Well - well, look, I'm not attacking you," Mai says, keeping her hands raised and taking a step back. "I'm not fighting. That means I'm not an enemy, right?"
Mikoto glances aside, humming uncertainty through closed lips as she tries to figure out whether it is a trick. Her shoulders drop, and there is less tension to her stance.
"I'm Mai," the other girl presses on, insistent. "What's your name?"
Mikoto frowns. This doesn't feel right, but one of them already knows her, so it is only a matter of time before they all do, whether she says anything or not. But this Mai's logic is difficult to argue. She is not presenting a threat, currently. This one never has.
"... Mikoto," she volunteers, visibly uncomfortable.
"Mikoto-chan, let's not fight, okay?" Mai reaches out - and Mikoto steps back. She looks from the hand to the girl beyond it, and hums vague affirmation before she springs away.
There are others, of course, and they fight her with increased urgency as it becomes clear she is not going away. She notices more often, now, the way some of them still try to talk. But they have already proven they will hurt her; they have already marked themselves as enemies.
It is getting harder and harder to evade notice, as more girls deem her a threat.
The stranger was right. It is a distraction.
And so one day she appears to the girl named Mai suddenly and without warning, leaping from tree branch to ground. Mai startles, but Mikoto has no weapon drawn. "Mai," she says, in measured greeting.
"Oh - you scared me, Mikoto," Mai puffs out a breath, smoothing her hand through her hair. "How are you?" It is a question she has asked before, awkward as the answers are.
Mikoto presses her lips together tightly, glancing aside. "It's distracting," she says, in the vague way she has. And then she says something she never has before: