2019-04-13 - Death-dialing

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Title: Death-dialing

Everyone makes choices about what to focus on in life, and who to prioritise.


Mikoto Minagi, Yumi Ohzora, Nori Ankou, Mashiro Kazahana


Various areas

OOC - IC Date:

2019-04-13 - Shortly before Oktavia / 2015-05-28 and 2015-05-29

I. we found our friends...

The electronic ward feels strange; it is as if Mikoto is a stranger here. Most girls would be delighted to go shopping with a friend - well. Certainly Mikoto is happy to be with a friend.

She grumbles, because she still doesn't understand how phones are so useful. But Yumi has plenty of explanations, and foremost in Mikoto's mind is Yumi's own desire to contact her.

That, she can accept without reservation.

Yumi's offer to enchant her a stranger device is dismissed, though thankfully, Mikoto laughs. She just doesn't think most people would know how to use a magic notepad, and maybe one day Mai will want to ring her, too.

II. ... and tried too little too late

Mikoto retreats to a comfortable distance once she has retrieved the clothes. She considers them, for a moment, lips pressed tightly.

"Hey, Nori," she says, in final uncertainty. "Help me put numbers in this?" Here she retrieves a phone, in sturdy case. "Better if we can talk."

It feels wrong, to reach out this way, but they have agreed to work together on the thing which was Sayaka. It is enough justification to facilitate communication.

There is a moment of quiet before Nori acquiesces, but she does.

III. you did your best...

Everything shatters.

The next day dawns in obstinance.

IV. ... and i'm still here

The train is the purest mechanism of torture known to Tokyo. A small, cramped space, full of bodies, metal shaped in a curve so that every sound rebounds and amplifies to annoying pitch. Clack-clack, clack-clack against the tracks, as they pull out of the city, out towards Tama's reaches.

Mikoto leans against the flat of that ringing metal wall, golden eyes lit by a screen in her hands.

To: Aohime

Minagi98: I got phone now
Minagi98: remember trying to teach me how to used it?
Minagi98: that one was difficult though this one fixed what I say
Minagi98: guess it don't always work
Minagi98: this is pointless
Minagi98: no one's ever gonna read the
Minagi98: at least not your
Minagi98: would've liked to try sometimes
Minagi98: ii ts just hard
Minagi98: now I can't

The characters of another line flash up at her, unfinished. 'I wanted'

She exits, re-enters. 'I miss'

A third time. 'you were right'

And again. Yumi showed her how to delete things, but she's too upset to remember right now.

Minagi98: it can't be helped

She presses her fingers angrily to the keys, shou-ga-nai, and it is well the phone suggests corrections. The light is a little blurry against her eyes, but she doesn't know how to fix a phone. She turns the screen off, and slips it back into her pocket. The people are blurry, too.

Momentarily she lifts a hand to her face, and realises she is crying. With a ragged breath, she shakes her head, and scrubs at her eyes.

"Are you okay, dear?" Asks the little old lady sitting next to her.

"It's okay," she insists, and she is not just uncomfortable because one of them has acknowledged her, when she is a danger to them all.

She isn't supposed to feel sad.

She tries to swallow it down where they can't see it.

V. hell is empty...

Mikoto is in her school uniform, but she didn't even try to go to school, today. It's fine. The winter blazer is at least more suitable at night, when the air is cooler without the sun to light the way.

She makes her warding rounds of Nishitama like a prisoner on the green, making note of the places which do not taste right, the places where hair prickles on her neck where it ought not. Eri will need to come soon, she thinks. They are spilling out of their garden-beds. It is becoming less deliberate.

Eri has not wanted to do much at all, of late.

That is why Mikoto has to help her.

That is why Mikoto has to do this.

She tells Eri what to do, and there are things she does not tell her, either. They used to be united in saving the powerless, the ones who truly did not deserve it. Little girls and old men. They weren't complete monsters; they still had mercy. Eri taught Mikoto how to have mercy, as she showed her the people she steered away.

Mikoto has learnt just how merciless her might is.

She does not steer them away any more.

Let Eri think she does.

There are Witches to harvest. She will drag Eri from her bed, and make sure she is fed. She will never, ever leave Eri to face this alone.

Even if she has to face it alone, instead.

VI. ... and we are here

The light of the morning filters through vast decorative windows, as Mashiro Kazahana puts the phone receiver down and sighs. She doesn't look that much older than Mikoto, physically; but there is a worn weariness to her, now, as if she has not slept for centuries. She sags a little, in her wheelchair. "Mikoto-san... did you even try to go to school yesterday?"

Mikoto does not look at her, rubbing at one arm with her other hand. She doesn't like the Principal. Mashiro doesn't smell right.

Mashiro sighs, with a glance up to her maid, Fumi Himeno. "I know this isn't the first time. I understand that you have certain... extracurricular activities which occupy your time," she chooses her words carefully, mindful of many things. "But you must put forward a little effort, Mikoto-san. Your attendance has gotten markedly worse, over the past few months. I know it is hard, but... please try."

Mikoto grunts, in vague affirmation. She has not stopped scowling since Mashiro started talking to her.

"You --" Mashiro starts, and breaks her gaze, uncertain. She tries to reach out. It is hard for her, too, even with an excuse. "... you can talk to me, Mikoto-san. I am your legal guardian, after all. I want to see you do well, even if I don't see you often..."

Mikoto does not tell her that there is a good reason she declines to visit. The reason is obvious: Mikoto doesn't like her. Mashiro doesn't sit right with Mikoto. She never has. Instead she steadfastly refuses to meet her gaze, and just snorts a breath through her nose. The silence stretches on for long, long moments, as Mashiro hopes.

Finally, the Principal shakes her head. "... I see..." Mikoto isn't looking at Mashiro; she can't see how sad her eyes are, in that moment.

"... I understand you have much to deal with," Mashiro says, after another beat of silence. "But please make an attempt, Mikoto-san. Even if you won't talk to me about what happened... you must put forward a little academic effort."

Mikoto grunts, again, with a curt nod. Again, the silence ticks. At least Mashiro can meet Fumi's eyes, and share her concern with one person.

The first thing that tiny girl says is: "Can I go?"

The tiny girl sitting opposite her sighs. "I won't keep you, Mikoto-san. Just... try to be a little more diligent. You are a scholarship student. I would never take that from you, but... you may face scepticism if you continue on this path."

Mikoto snorts, derisively, her lip curling over her upper teeth.

"Increased scepticism," Mashiro spells it out, as she senses her subtle touch falling flat.

"The door is this way," Fumi reminds Mikoto, brightly, as those golden eyes track to the nearest exit - the window.

VII. you made your choice...

To: Aohime

Minagi98: I guess I feel bad
Minagi98: I don't even try
Minagi98: most girls would, right?
Minagi98: but I'm difficult
Minagi98: so I wasn't a good friend
Minagi98: it's sad. I can't talk to anyone any more
Minagi98: no one gets it
Minagi98: so I'm pretending I can talk to you
Minagi98: like it's late and night again
Minagi98: by it won't be
Minagi98: I mean there's still be night
Minagi98: but not our night
Minagi98: that stopped long time back
Minagi98: I have this

Mikoto snorts as she shoves the phone into her pocket, frustrated with the errors, leaning on the railing of the fire escape stairs. She is not at school. She is in Ueno, looking down at streets full of people she has long since had to start viewing as targets.

Of course, she hasn't hunted in Ueno for some time. Kozue and the others saw to that. And she saw to that, because of...


Now it's not just Mami who lies defeated - the thing which was Sayaka is gone, too. It had a piano, she reflects, with dry bitterness. And now it does not matter how many souls are lost; she is sure, listening through her sorrow, that Madoka has confirmed it. Eventually, the scales will grow too heavy, and the feather will not bear the weight of sin.


Her eyes track down to the entrance of the museum. "Easel," she murmurs, as she looks and she does not see at all. Her finger traces the railing. "... fold out stand for painting."

Eri saved her from complications, then, excusing her so-called golf case as artistic equipment. It was one little rescue amongst many. She dragged her from the darkness and gave her something to fight. She saved her.

Many people have saved her since.

But Eri kept her warm when she was alone, and chased the nightmares away.

Even if it meant saving Sayaka, she wanted to...

There's no saving Sayaka.

Mikoto's hand curls to a claw around the rail, and for a passing instant she knows the chilling sensation of tearing at dark thickets.

VIII. ... now live with it.

Sometimes it's a silhouette from behind, dark hair like hers. Sometimes she hears something, some girl talking about her family.

Sometimes it is simply a deep, dragging feeling, the terrible riptide sensation that there is something fundamental missing, and she must do anything she can to correct it.

There are so many reasons to be pressed to the search. There is so much pressure to the search.

There are so many people in the crowd, and the sunlight glints off of every broad window. Every face looks familiar from the side. Every time she hopes, heart in her throat as she searches for the sign which reveals him. Every time, she is crushed.

Every time wears her down a little further. Each failure carves her heart another edge. What is she doing wrong? One task - one task they gave her, and after two years she still has not seen to it.

It is a thing which builds exponentially, until she feels she cannot breathe for the weight. Until every moment is interrupted by what she has not done. Until she does not bother to go to class, in spite of what uncanny girls have told her.

He will know what to do.

She has to find him.