2019-04-16 - What We Have To Do To Survive

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Title: What We Have To Do To Survive

Chitose goes to Mikoto for advice. Mikoto helps her, the way she's always helped her friends.


Mikoto Minagi, Chitose Shiratori


Yamanote High City - Shibuya Shopping Ward

OOC - IC Date:

2019-04-16 - 2015-05-29

.***************************** Yamanote High City *****************************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Shibuya Shopping Ward +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+
 Any rural ingenue looking to come to the big city and get swept away at
 first sight would be well-advised to get off at Shibuya Station, where you
 could fill a high school yearbook with the people teeming over a single
 crosswalk, and a legion of ten-story department stores offer a choice so
 broad it resembles existential crisis. Shinjuku might administrate Tokyo,
 but Shibuya is its style capital. Its densest concentration of boutiques,
 retailers, and restaurants is bound together by Shibuya Crossing, a bustling
 pedestrian intersection resembling an even gaudier Times Square.

 Within walking distance to Harajuku, Shibuya is less whimsical, and far
 grander. Its most iconic symbol is the Shibuya 109 department store, a
 cylindrical grey monolith famous even outside of Japan. Each floor of 109
 has about a dozen shops, and with ten flights of escalator to ascend, it
 doesn't take a mathematician to realize that even this single store can be a
 lot to take in. But Shibuya too has its side streets and quirks, and it's
 not hard to find a chic little cafe to rest in. Those who find themselves
 energized instead have recourse to the night clubs that trade on Shibuya's
 stylish reptuation.

 Shibuya Station has a humbler landmark as well. It was here that the loyal
 dog Hachiko waited for his owner each day, even after the owner had long
 since died. A bronze statue of Hachiko waits here still, a reminder that
 love and loyalty never die.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Frou Frou - Let Go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13WAhlE02ew


Afternoon stretches to twilight, and every face looks familiar in the darkness.

Where is he.

It's Friday; everyone is on the town. Even with clouds moving in to choke the sky with the promise of poorer weather, there are a hundred-hundred youth pouring through the Shibuya streets, singular girls latched on the arms of their dates and groups moving in from shop to shop as they pass about the week's gossip.

Where is her Lord Brother.

Mikoto needs to try harder. She knows her pace is sluggish, her mind distracted. She does not search with the intensity she requires. So much more is required of her and she fails, and fails, and fails. Grief slackens her. So much of the world is occupied in their own pain, their own hopes. Perhaps she does not have the words to communicate her distress.

There is so much she does not say, after all.

Here and now she says nothing: she is searching. Now and then puzzle-pieces slip into place; she feels closer to absolution. But no matter her convictions or realisations, he is not here, and she has not found him. He is not the boy with dark hair whose face is too round; he is not the tall boy who has the wrong sort of eyes.

There is a sort of abandon, to losing herself in the finding. She does not move with the crowds but instead perches on signage and rooftops; she has long since learnt she can scan their faces better when she is not being jostled by bodies. Every face looks familiar and ends a stranger, and with each she finds no anchor.

It's not so hard to miss a girl in Ohtori uniform, on the roof of a clever little clothing shop.

Then again, knowing where to look...

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose Shiratori is not so old that she can't enjoy the sights and sound of Shibuya. Though, perhaps, Chitose's purpose in Shibuya has nothing really to do -with- Shibuya at all. She just needed to, well, get out for a bit. And in general she's moves through the crowds without too much heed paid to the masses. She moves enough to get out of people's way, but only just enough. Which might cause some people a tiny bit of dismay, given how much space Chitose takes up.

Chitose mills down the street, looking into the distance. She's not searching for anything, she's just... thinking. The sort of thoughts that consider something with no point of return.

On the bright side, this means Mikoto would probably see Chitose long before Chitose sees her. She's not quite looking for Mikoto, not yet. She's got a lot to think about. A lot of murder to think about.

Even though Chitose worked with the Shepherds, and has borne witness to other terrible things, these sorts of thoughts gave her pause.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

He's wrong, too. Mikoto could tell as soon as he turned his face. And him...

Golden eyes scan the crowd, and she sees each boy and she dismisses him, some sooner than others. One she scrambles to the fire escape to follow along with for a moment, in dismal hope, but when she sees his face - it's not him, either.

Her shoulders sag; her arms slump against the railing, loosely holding her. For a moment she is overtaken by the weight of her failure. It's still heavy.

There's a particular type of pattern, to people getting out of the way. Even with her gaze dropped to their feet, Mikoto can see the way they part like waves against a bow. She blinks, and looks up, in hope once more --

-- they are not making way for a boy of importance.

But they are making way for a girl she knows, and this, perhaps, is anchor enough.

Mikoto grips the railing and flips down over it, landing lightly in the flat of the alleyway, because she is even acrobatic without her magic. She slips into the crowd, but she is not an amazon; she is tiny, and has to push and weave through the bodies to try and catch up. "Chitose," she calls, and at first she does not manage enough volume.

She tries again, with greeting-tone: "Chitose!" And this time, at least, she manages some of her characteristic Mikoto loudness. As she makes her way to her she is not quite smiling, but at least she does not seem displeased to see her; there is a gentle enough cast to her features.

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose did not get better hearing to compensate for her poor vision. Thus, Mikoto's first call goes unheard. It's the second one that gets her attention, and that's when Chitose realizes Mikoto is here.

...It takes Chitose a second to look around and look around the crowds to find her. Not that she'd admit that she had to do that. But soon enough, she finds Mikoto, and she smiles back herself. Of course, the same thoughts she has been having prevent her smile from growing too large.

And before she says anything, Chitose's mind grounds to a halt as she considers her next move. Almost as if she just -stopped-. Just smiling a little bit, just thinking.

-She can't really ask Eri the question she's been asking (admittedly she hadn't seen Eri for a while), and she's honestly not sure Eri would... answer the questions she'd be asking, that she'd be -Kasagami could work, and may be prudent to ask in the future. -The, what did they call themselves. Sailors? They would probably not think too hard about the question. -Admittedly she didn't hang out much with the other Shepherds.

Which left Mikoto. Yeah, Chitose probably didn't want to ask her such a question, maybe. The age difference makes her want to hold back, like she wants to shield Mikoto from her problems. But at the same time, even though Chitose didn't know too much -about- Mikoto, she's probably the best one to ask.

It's about this point that Chitose remembers that she's zoned out, and goes back to reality. "Oh, hello Mikoto-san." She says after a minute. Her eyes flitter back and forth for a moment, before she continues pleasantries. "How are you?"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Few people realise Mikoto is as old as she is, no matter the uniform she wears.

But it is unquestionable that she has demonstrated startling aptitude for startling things, amongst her time in the Shepherds.

And if she knew Chitose was going to ask Eri a taxing question, she'd want to hear it instead, anyway.

She promised to take care of her, after all.

She does not realise any of these things; what she does see is the way Chitose's gaze grows distant, the ticking moments between turn and greeting. Mikoto is familiar with distance; she is well-experienced with disconnects. She can recognise the labour in focusing her attention back.

What weighs on her is very, very heavy, but there is a certain thing which has always been true of Mikoto Minagi, after all. She cares about her friends with devastating acuity, and she has always wanted them to smile and not be sad.

So Chitose asks how she is, and Mikoto says: "It's okay." It sounds like an answer to her question. It is an assurance, instead.

She still doesn't quite manage to smile.

"Chitose," she asks, instead, as concern shapes her brow and her voice, "everything okay..?"

She does not quite yet realise it is a problem which she may not want to discuss in open street.

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Look, Chitose is in university. That means she's old! Except... perhaps, she's still really young about a number of things in life.

But Mikoto's answer to her questions don't quite get a response from the woman, for a moment. Well, she nods a bit. But again, she's still a little distracted. She doesn't notice Mikoto's not-quite smile. Not yet.

She takes a few moments, before Chitose's mouth opens. It closes a moment later, as the university student suddenly remembers where they are. "Hey, Mikoto-san, do you have a moment? I've been thinking about something I need to do and I'm not sure how to feel about it." She looks around one more time. "Just not... here."

It's this point where Chitose suddenly realizes that Mikoto, too, may not be feeling a hundred percent. "...Are you okay?" She'll leave it at that if Mikoto doesn't want to talk about it, but Chitose might as well ask anyway. Mikoto is a friend of hers, after all.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto knows she ought to pour her moments into her tasks, but even though she has so much to do, she still cares about her friends. Without hesitation, she nods. "Yeah." She has a moment, for Chitose.

She presses the question; Mikoto glances aside. "... not here," she says, in echo of Chitose's own hesitation, and grasps her wrist to drag her off to a side-street instead.

She is acrobatic, getting onto the rooftops; she's sure Chitose can handle her way up, too.


It's quieter, above the city. Not so much quieter - car-honks carry, there is the background hum of indistinct voices, the faint sound of music from shopfronts filters in as doors open and close - but there is a sense of remove, higher up.

Eri never joins her on the rooftops any more.

A door to the roof has been locked for years; there is nothing here but a forgotten flower-pot, cinderblocks and scattered boxes. Against all odds, the mint inside has not died. It has grown out of its confines, spread through the gutter. This is why this building always has water dripping down in unprescribed places. The channel where the water flows has long been choked.

Mikoto perches down, on one of those wooden boxes, resting Miroku's case beside her. She is not heavy; it holds her weight. And for a moment, she is silent.

But Yumi had a point, after all.

"... lots happened," she says, finally. "We tried to fix it, but we couldn't. I'm sad." It is an utterly inexpert rendition of her feelings; Mikoto has never had the words to describe how she feels. She shakes her head, and insists: "But even though it's hard, I'm not giving up. I'm gonna help Mai... and I'm gonna help Eri."

So long as she has the people she loves most, she'll be okay. So it's okay. It has to be okay.

Mikoto shakes her head, and looks back over to the older girl. "What's Chitose need to do?" She asks, in genuine concern. She knows a thing or two about necessity. It is, at times, a difficult thing.

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose's smile becomes a little more genuine when Mikoto agrees they should move to another location, and does not need a lot of dragging for Mikoto to get Chitose where she needs to go. What does slow her down, though, is Mikoto's acrobatics. She watches Mikoto for a few moments as she disappears to the roof. She stares through her glasses where she went up, and wonders if she is supposed to do the same.

Except, well, Chitose never got the strength that came with her excessive verticality, so acrobatics was not quite her forte.

So she sighed and drew her hairclip.

The transformation then allows her to fly--really, jump higher than normal-- up onto the roof, the speed and wind rushing around her as she ascends. When she gets up to where Mikoto is and her feet gently touch upon the roof, she quickly detransforms to her normal clothing. "Whew." She breathes for a moment. "It's been a while since we've done that." We, of course, refers to herself and her Device, the latter of which is staying silent for the moment. He is not quite enthusiastic about the ideas Chitose has had, either.

Other than that, Chitose doesn't do much to relax, otherwise. She just stands up and regards Mikoto, and listens to what she had to say. "I see." She nods after a moment. "I... I think I understand." Perhaps not the details, but the general sentiment. She hasn't been around Shepherds for quite a while, and missed a few key incidents. Which, admittedly, renders Chitose unable to say much more than that, and "Well, if there's anything I can do to help, you know how to get in touch. I'd like to help, if I can."

As for what she's here for, she looks around again, this time out of nervousness, before she looks again at Mikoto. Her smile fades back into the not-quite-strong enough look, before she finally asks. "So I know this person. Friend of my parents, basically he's my uncle. He's got twin daughters who I've know since childhood. He's also my boss after school. He's easy-going for a boss, too." For a Yakuza boss, even! "But, well, remember when we were all kidnapped at Ohtori, and... ah, something in the sky..." Chitose points up into the sky, too. "burned down the forest? Well, he wants one of those and wants to use it to... I don't know, he hasn't exactly told me why. I don't think it's anything good, so..."

Chitose takes a few moments to ask again. "I kind of might need to kill him." She pauses. "And maybe those daughters of his, too."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto nods, with a faint smile, as Chitose offers her help. "Thanks." And perhaps she is sad, but her gratitude is genuine.

But even though she offers, there is a weight bearing down on her, too. Mikoto listens carefully as she explains her situation, the person she works for. (Mikoto has never pressed too hard, about what Chitose does, because Chitose has never seemed to want to talk about it.) He's her family, and her superior.


Mikoto's hand reaches up, to clasp over her upper arm, as she wends uncertainly around her point. Her uniform is still long-sleeved; it may not be immediately obvious why.

She does not flinch or look away, as Chitose finally finds her conclusion, but there is sadness in her eyes. It is a sad, sad thing, to have to kill family. She cannot imagine facing up to that kind of pain.

"Alyssa's Child," she answers, after a moment's pause to make sure the other girl has finished speaking. "Artemis. To get Child, he'd need HiME." Like her, she does not say; she hardly needs to. Alyssa betrayed their identities back then, after all. "A strong HiME, too. Not every Child's like that."

A Child with the power to effortlessly level a city block...


It's an exclusive club.

Mikoto is quite protective of it.

Her expression shifts as she realises the danger Mai is in, a quiet intensity to her frown and the press of her lips. She does not think of the alternatives, in that moment. She is a singularly focused creature. "... Chitose is right," she says, finally. "It's hard, but... if he won't stop, he's gotta be stopped." Perhaps it is unkind. Perhaps it is necessary.

"His daughters protect him?" She asks, as if it is the most normal thing in the world.

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

In fairness, Chitose doesn't quite mind talking about her more extracurricular activies. She just hasn't done much in the way of magical crime lately... or in general. She shot a bridge, once, and got lasered in response. Really, she saw it coming.

She nods. "Yeah, I don't really want to do it, he's great and kind to his people. But, he doesn't want to be kind to everyone else. I guess."

Chitose nods. "I'll admit I don't know what that means, but that sounds about right. His daughters were like you and I, but I don't think they were HiME." She's pretty sure they're not. "I think what he wants is something more... artificial. Something he himself could control."

Chitose does shake her head when Mikoto suggests that the Kogoshi kids would protect him, but then thinks differently about it. "Well, maybe they might. But what I'd be worried about is... them coming after me after I took him out. Continuing the cycle. I wouldn't be safe."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto frowns, as Chitose makes her guesses. "It's no good," she says. "HiME are supposed to decide how to use their power. Not other people. And without HiME, there's no Child. Needs the promise." Without their will, they would be trapped in the stone for aeons more.

She does not quite realise the extent of artificiality.

And then Chitose describes a cycle, and Mikoto sees clearly the loop, as Eri felled Mami and Sayaka came for her. She knows Chitose must see it, too. Even with how busy adult life is, she is a Shepherd, too. The smaller girl sighs, shakes her head - braids trailing over shoulders.

"... it's going to hurt," she says, finally.

"It'll hurt a lot. Chitose might never smile again. And maybe someone else will find out, someone else will start fighting. That's what Eri said. Defeating Eri's enemies... would just bring her more enemies." There's old pain, there, old failures. This is how she knows how to handle her problems. This is all she knows what to do.

Mikoto closes her eyes, takes a breath. "... so." And for a moment the mora hangs in the air, alone.

"Don't go as Chitose," she says. "Don't defeat them as Chitose. If Chitose kills them, you'll never stop running. So make sure... they can't tell." It is not an impossible thing. Recognition Inhibition is a gift given to everyone. Even them. "It'll still hurt. But Chitose will be safe. And maybe... it'll be better."

Maybe she will not end up like Eri.

Maybe it is cruel to rely on the possibility, but Mikoto has certain priorities, too.

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose nods at first as she listens to Mikoto. But only at first. What Mikoto says, well, honestly she wasn't expecting what Mikoto was saying. "Yeah..." Enemies will just begat more enemies. And even if she took out people she might consider friends, there will perhaps be more, people she never knew about. And those people will have people she never knew about, who would be fighting her for reasons not even related to her own.

For the first time since she decided to do this, she wavers just a little bit. The true depth of what she'll have to do, she realizes, isn't completely known to her. She thought she was only going to have to do this once, twice, maybe three times.

She's not sure she can go further than that.

And so she listens a lot more to what Mikoto has to say next. 'Don't go as Chitose'. There's silence from her after that. Perhaps it may be hard to not go as Chitose, but Mikoto is smart. Chitose listens to that advice. And Chitose will heed it, when it comes time. "Yeah, I'll do that." The fate of Tokyo, possibly Japan, is impersonal enough that she should be able to steel herself then to protect herself later.

A few moments pass before Chitose nods, again. "Thank you."

Mikoto's given her a lot to think about.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

It's a vicious cycle. Violence feeds violence until it becomes a wildfire - until it burns out everything in its path, and finally consumes itself, dying to embers in a monument of dust.

The war has consumed itself. Hasn't it?

They're done fighting - right?

It would be nice... if Mikoto could believe that.

It would be nice if she didn't still look over her shoulder, even now she tries to reach out.

It would be nice if she wasn't just as sharp as she was to start.

It would be nice if a high-school girl didn't have more perspective on killing than she ever ought to have, a depth of knowledge and insight which speaks to the worst circumstances. How far has Mikoto gone - how far will she go?

'As many as it takes.'

"Just don't be alone," she says, as her gaze slips up past her, to the cloudy sky. The moon is filling out. She is unfond of it. "Once it happens... don't be alone."

She thinks of a girl treading water and choking, as her tears dry up and her face stops reflecting anything at all. "'Cause you'll change... Chitose."

How bitter the advice tastes when she has never killed anyone.

She just knows how.

She cannot question it.

"But I don't care what Chitose has to do," Mikoto insists, looking back to her. "Chitose is my friend - okay? Even if Chitose has to do bad things. It's okay," she insists, fists tightening in her lap. "We've all done bad things." And maybe some of them know more bad things than others. Maybe someone else would think of a better solution. Maybe someone else wouldn't be so scared - for Mai.

This is all someone like Mikoto can do.

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

It would be nice. It would be nice to stop fighting and be friends with everyone and not really have to worry about fighting anything.

Chitose sighs, after all of that. It's a long, tired sigh. Something that is more fitting for after her plan comes to be.

But then she comes out of her own misery, and notices that... Mikoto is crying? Chitose's not going to cry, not now. She'll wait and save the crying for afterwards. In fact, she very much -hopes- she'll cry after everything. If not, well, Mikoto's concern will have been for nothing and Chitose will have changed too much.

Her face does hurt just a little bit, though, as she smiles at Mikoto. "I'll try. Even if I'm alone, I'll think of everyone I'm doing this for, so that I won't be completely alone."

And, finally. "Thank you, Mikoto. I'll be able to do what I have to do thanks to you. And Eri." Unfortunately Chitose still hasn't met Mai so she can't say the same about her. After she leaves the rooftop, she'll put that on her bucket list. But for now, though, that's nowhere near her mind. "And I'll be your friend, too, even when you walk down your road, too."

And here, she turns away. "We've all got to do what we have to do to survive, huh?"

"It's a shame, really."