2019-04-23 - What Fire Forwent
|Title: What Fire Forwent|
Mikoto dismisses her options.
| OOC - IC Date:|
2019-04-23 - 2015-05-30 to ???
<SoundTracker> Sefiros - Everything = Nothing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A3gO4Oy7iA
Take a step. The ash billows out; the char of a thousand dead souls. Oh, there was a city here, once. Such strength once admired. Look - here a tower. There a bench. Crumbling, crumbling into obsolescence.
It is blackened by soot.
An inferno has passed here.
Step, step, step. It's choking, isn't it? The smoke and the betrayal. Look, there - the lighthouse. It is ashes. It shatters on the breeze. Light has passed through here; light has seared the flesh from their bones.
Oh, but look, dearest, look.
There are spines which spread through the buildings as they scatter, stronger than concrete or rebar or steel. And the obsidian twists up and up, and it is the blood of the earth and it cannot be scourged.
A city of darkness, now, black and glittering. Oh, the shadows they cast. They are such dark, dark things. Just like you, darling. Just like you.
Listen, now. The truth spreads out like a funerary shroud: flame guides only to oblivion. There are stronger foundations in this world.
Don't cry. Don't cry out. Don't cry for something which resiles you.
Don't you remember?
There is no one here by that name.
That name cannot help you now.
That name never could.
Oh, look at how the black glass catches at the world, the places where park benches were. Oh, look at what the flame has unveiled. Try to struggle past it, and there will always be another layer. And it cuts, and cuts, and cuts.
There is no more need to struggle.
There are no names left now.
No name left but one.
BGM Change: Marina and the Diamonds - Rootless https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_eH91h8kW8
The warmth at Mikoto's chest contrasts with the chill of the evening, and she shivers as she curls into herself on the rooftop. Her mind is slow to catch up with the cold of her body, left sleeping rough in the open air. Out here, alone, because...
'Don't bother coming home tonight, Mikoto. I can't deal with you.'
She compresses in a little tighter, a sob choking its way through a tight throat. Her hands come to her chest, cradling a smooth round pendant against her skin, and her shoulders rock in against the concrete.
She is alone.
For long while she stays that way, until her mouth has dried from the way it hangs open to pant out shuddery breaths, because her nose has long since stopped cooperating. It is not that her eyes have run dry, when she finally sniffles and swallows against the lump in her throat. She has cried a thousand tears, and she will cry a million more. It is simply the realisation of how cold she is - how vulnerable.
Mikoto pushes herself up, scrubbing at her face. She has to keep moving. Even though Mai doesn't - want her any more, she thinks with a sniffle, she still has promises to keep. There are still things she has to take care of. Still people...
There are so many of them, and yet she can barely think of a single person who could save her. Her mind trails over each of them, and with each comes the realisation of why she cannot reach out to them, why they cannot help her now she has nothing left at all.
She thinks of Alyssa Searrs, who killed the most important girl in the world.
A golden voice which spoke her truth to every magical girl in the Sister Schools, who named her as HiME, and there was no more hiding after that.
... let her rot.
She thinks of Miyu, who was a terrifying machine.
A message from Midori which never was, and an offer she could not accept, no matter the impossibility of fighting her.
... I'm too scared of her to risk finding her.
She thinks of Endo Naoki, who broke her.
Trapped together, not a moment's rest, and instead of understanding Mikoto offered him a promise so that he would never sleep again.
... he can't.
She thinks of Jasper, who silenced her heart.
A woman who towered as she apprehended the escapees, the relief Mikoto felt as another woman stepped forward to duel her instead.
... the ocean took her.
She thinks of Vita Yagami, who refused to face the end.
Shocked into realising her dream was a lie, the way Mikoto's assistance became a secret as she failed to recognise the inception.
... she wouldn't help me after what I did.
She thinks of Peridot, who cowered behind terrifying machines.
Execution-blade cleaving down, despite the cries of the ones who would make her better, because in this act Mikoto and Miroku were in accord.
... asking her would mean she'd shown her face again.
She thinks of Hotaru Tomoe, who would bring the world to Silence.
Cocoa and a little jade cat, as she promised to destroy a little girl she had never met for the love of her friends.
... a harbinger can't help me.
She thinks of Sayaka Miki, who still had a piano.
Half a monster on the rooftop, and none of them realised just how much Madoka saved them from as she pressed seed to gem.
... a Witch can't, neither.
She thinks of Shizuru Fujino, who hid her claws.
The cold, icy realisation that a friend was an enemy, more powerful than she could have possibly fathomed.
... I can't trust her.
She thinks of Mami Tomoe, who kept shaking the world.
A tense visit to an elegant dwelling, looking for exit points and preparing for the worst, because Mami was too similar to dismiss.
... she can't lecture me any more.
She thinks of Ren Aizawa, who wouldn't stop.
A gruff conversation on the way to ruin, and she did not truly tell her Endo was all right just to save her own skin.
... she wouldn't forgive me.
She thinks of Tsubasa Kazanari, who fought with conviction.
A sword which towered like a titan, and the black blade she summoned to carve it through, devotional magic too massive to ever be wielded in their palms.
... she wouldn't speak with an enemy.
She thinks of Westar, who saw something which scared her.
Carving through kayaks as it dawned on him that she was trying to do so much worse than subdue him, and his efforts turned to flight over fight.
... he wouldn't help a ruthless girl like me.
She thinks of Soular, who saw something which shamed her.
His approval as she unwaveringly chose her Lord Brother over her friends, because two years of companionship could not compete with family.
... I feel too shamed to look for him.
She thinks of Garnet, who made her realise the scope of love.
Standing before the lot of them in stalwart defence, no matter the things Mikoto had done.
... she'd be angry I yelled at Steven.
She thinks of Nanoha Takamuchi, who wanted to be friends.
Sharing a cat-shaped snack from her bakery, with no obligations attached.
... I was mean to her.
She thinks of Nori Ankou, who paid her debt.
The slow unveiling of black glass made wrong by salt and dampness, a girl from another world.
... I wanna leave her alone for now.
She thinks of Signum Yagami, who tried to apologise.
A ramen stand which was no trick, and a woman who spoke like her.
... helping me would be bad for Vita.
She thinks of Setsuna Higashi, who saw too much of her.
Planting a seed of hope as she said far too much, a moment's armistice within a storm of violence.
... talking to her didn't help last time, neither.
She thinks of Fate Testarossa, who told her it mattered.
Reaching out past Mikoto's sharp edges to embrace her, no matter the risk, because once someone did the same for her.
... it's too scary to think of what it would mean that she could help.
She thinks of Utena Tenjou, who rescued her bento.
Taking everything from a girl she loved - and calling out to Mikoto to take care of Kasagami once the duel was done.
... asking her would upset Kasagami.
She thinks of Lera Camry, who asked her why.
A girl who felt the dangers of Mikoto long before the others, who came screaming to her defence no matter the threat she posed.
... she'd be too upset with me.
She thinks of Kozue Kaoru, who she never got to tell.
Two girls in the wrong part of the city at the wrong time of night, and the first of so many honest explanations which did not treat her as childish for her ignorance.
... she's gone.
She cannot rely on her enemies.
She thinks of Mashiro Kazahana, who didn't smell right.
Edicts in an occupied Palace, with eyes which saw the world age.
... I'd never go to her.
She thinks of Nagi Homura, who constantly caused problems.
Flipping himself up onto the library banister with acrobatic ease, as he implied that perhaps they ought to see to the source of the problem.
... he only helps when he wants to.
She thinks of Fumi Himeno, who always smiled.
Holding a spoon aloft to catch Mikoto in her wild charge towards Sayaka's throat, as if she were a deft warrior instead of a maid.
... she's too close to Mashiro.
She thinks of Haruka Suzushiro, who was far too loud.
Helping her disciplinary efforts not for Haruka's sake, but for Chie and Aoi, who asked for her assistance.
... she has her own problems to deal with.
She thinks of Akane Higurashi, who worked hard.
A girl so intent on love that she eloped, and with her absence Linden Baum lost something precious.
... no one knows where she is now.
She thinks of Chibi-Usa Tsukino, who cared nothing for the pain.
Caught in the green of the sports field with the other civilians, remaining brave.
... she's too young to ask.
She thinks of Anthy Himemiya, whose pain she could not care for.
Hiding behind Utena from those sharp golden eyes, as each saw something in the other.
... she's too weird to ask.
She thinks of Yukariko Sanada, who was so scared.
Struggling to handle a group of delinquents, until she was left with no option but to pray.
... she couldn't handle something like this.
She thinks of Akira Okuzaki, who was tough.
Braiding a thousand streamers for graduation, grumbling with his mouth which didn't reflect for a moment the efficacy of his fingers.
... it might get Takumi involved.
She thinks of Niramo Umokeshi, who just wanted to support her friends.
The struggles of having normal parents, difficulties she had scarcely imagined.
... she deserves to have normal problems.
She thinks of Takumi Tokiha, who she did not want to resemble.
Passed out on the stone, as one monster became two through her hubris, and Mai made a promise.
... I can't get him involved.
She thinks of Madoka Kaname, who smelled of tomatoes.
An unfair target of her irritation, testament to the familiar comfort of anger; the realisation of another type of familiarity, in the form of kitten-faced hot dogs.
... she's gone through enough.
She thinks of Usagi Tsukino, who kept a secret.
Overbalancing and falling from a sports bleacher, only to be caught at the last moment by a friend.
... she'd be too upset to know it didn't work.
She thinks of Ye-jin Song, who had so much to do.
A night of singing kindly hosted, the clapping and cheering as each finished their song, passion and talent on clear display.
... she's too busy to help.
She thinks of Chie Harada, who always knew what they were saying.
Realising that Mikoto had battles to fight which went far beyond the wildest reaches of her rumours, and the careful way she did not speak of it in the aftermath, because even Chie had some things she would not gossip about.
... she's Mai's friend, first.
She thinks of Aoi Senou, who always asked if she was okay.
Taking her to see a movie called 'Majestia', because she could not believe Mikoto had never heard of something so pervasive.
... she's Mai's friend first, too.
She thinks of the cats, who knew what she meant better than anyone else.
Leading Mai and Eri on a merry chase as she rushed to see the results of the kittens' first hunt, as proud as their mother was.
... cats can't talk, and the one which can never would, not after what I did.
She cannot rely on bystanders.
She thinks of Cure Bloom, who yelled like her.
Discarding advice shouted in the middle of a battle, because she could not fight her friend, no matter the attacks she weathered.
... she wouldn't appreciate my situation at all.
She thinks of Fuu Hououji, who accepted her despite her acts.
Tumbling into the snow, and a hand offered in reconciliation as both of them considered their choices.
... she's tried to keep out of conflicts between girls.
She thinks of Georgia Jenks, who asked the obvious questions with her.
Enthusiasm for cats, another like her hiding in plain sight; a reminder that they could fight monsters, that it could be simple sometimes.
... I don't want her first introduction to HiME to be this.
She thinks of Chitose Shiratori, who valued her input.
Coming to Mikoto for advice on a knife's edge, and there were no alternatives for girls like them.
... she's already carrying lots.
She thinks of Yukino Kikukawa, who always noticed if something was wrong.
Making sure that Mikoto got toast after she proposed a toast, even though it wasn't the sort of toast she was talking about.
... I don't wanna put more strain on her.
She thinks of Sailor Uranus, who shared her experience.
Celebrating their achievements with all the pride of a veteran, as she poured the whiskey.
... I'd feel foolish having problems like this in front of someone so capable.
She thinks of Sailor Neptune, who wanted to know the little details.
A girl who had travelled so far, she could pronounce every German word on the menu.
... I feel too weird knowing she predicted it.
She thinks of Midori Sugiura, who believed in a better world.
Standing tall and proud as she announced her ultimate show of educational skill: a war for cakes instead of girls.
... I don't wanna let down her dreams of justice.
She thinks of Kyouko Sakura, who understood the importance of food.
Trying to throw Mikoto a lifeline in the form of advice and understanding, even as the future loomed bleak in front of her.
... so many of her hopes have been broken already.
She thinks of Kimiko Akane, who asked for help even though it was hard.
A plate of cookies, and the specific instructions as to their consumption, because there is so much meaning in a recipe.
... I wasn't there for her when she needed help.
She thinks of Kasagami Araki, who wouldn't listen but loved her so much.
Chopsticks shattering in a hand, as a broken girl turned to the others for some shred of guidance, and advice which bound Mikoto just as surely.
'... she would make it worse if she tried to help me.
She thinks of Setsuna Meioh, who understood duty just as she did.
Desserts left untouched, because she has never been able to eat in the presence of dark portents, even as she made sure Mikoto got a choice of food she would enjoy.
... she'd tell me this is the price we gotta pay.
She thinks of Steven Universe, who believed she was good.
Stalking a bag which was not as edible as it seemed, and finding a friend on Okinawa's beaches instead.
... he'd struggle too much with the sad truth.
She thinks of Homura Akemi, who shed the blood she couldn't.
Absolution at arm's reach, as she confirmed the dark path Mikoto would have to tread for Eri's sake, because she was one of the few who would still listen to her.
... I don't know how much she's already dealing with on her own.
She thinks of Takeo Akamizu, who was complicated too.
Following a race on foot, over the rooftops, only to dive into his arms without a care for how it looked because it was so impressive he won.
... he loves Mai too much not to agree.
She thinks of Nao Yuuki, who accepted her mean thoughts.
Listening to music in the company of cats, guards lowered as much as they could tolerate, because even delinquents don't always get into trouble.
... she's not good at people asking for help.
She thinks of Natsuki Kuga, who always looked out for her.
Curling into her in hopelessness, and finding affection in strange places, as the absence of one girl brought two together despite their rocky beginnings.
... she's too focused on her mission.
She thinks of Yumi Ohzora, who bore witness.
Terror bound in a hospital bed, and the girl who took care of her when she was afraid and alone.
... I can't face up to her after I hurt her.
She thinks of Eri Shimanouchi, who was the same as her.
Wiping the remnants of a Witch from her new hunting partner's face, assuring her that the nightmares change, the impossibility becomes easier.
... I doesn't know how much more I can ask from her.
She cannot rely on her allies.
She thinks of Mai Tokiha, who made ramen.
Tearing through an army to reach her, screaming her name, blazing flame and vengeance no matter her disinclination to fight.
... I'm not supposed to come home no more.
She cannot rely on the girl who broke her heart.
Five dozen souls, hundreds of memories, and she is an island. It should not sting the way it does. She's known for some time just how different she is - standing on distant shore from the experiences of the girls around her. She tries very hard to bridge the gap, but it's not easy. She always goes a little too far, ends up a little too sharp.
Knowing bad things makes her a bad person. Even her idea of love is all twisted up and wrong. She keeps messing it up, because she's no good.
There is no place for people like her, in a world trying to heal from war.
She knows she cannot reach out. She knows why each attempt would fail. With each connection, she condemns herself.
She is condemned.
In the end, there's only one person who would still accept a ruthless, twisted girl like her. Perhaps eventually she will be strong enough to ask for help. Perhaps eventually she will be desperate enough to put more pressure on someone already at breaking point.
BGM Change: Motoi Sakuraba - The Full Moon and the Morning Star https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_PYJzBrtR0
Mai told Mikoto not to come home, but Eri doesn't live in their wing of the dorms.
(In Mai's wing of the dorms, Mikoto corrects herself, dismal.)
Mikoto has snuck past curfew hundreds of times; it's second nature. Even now, made sluggish by grief and the ravages of open sky, she is fast enough and canny enough to evade them. There is no balcony to land on, but she can go inside the normal way. She has a key.
"Taidama," says the monster who lives here, announcing her arrival to a place she is comfortable enough to call a home.
There's no 'okaeri' back to welcome her in, but there rarely is, these days.
The light is off, but it usually is, these days.
The scant light from below the closed-locked door reflects off of bright golden eyes as Mikoto steps over a discarded blazer, towards the bunk bed with one mattress. Her hands slide over the dishevelled blankets and find no form underneath at all.
"... Eri?" She calls, fragile and small, and receives no reply.
Her hand bunches at thin blankets, and she wonders whether Eri is hunting on her own again, finally. Mikoto has had to drag her out, ever since... she's done her best, she's tried hard to manage everything and only bother Eri for the things she could not do herself, but it's been lonely, after all. It's been lonely - and it's gotten worse.
If Eri is feeling better, that's a good thing, isn't it?
If Eri doesn't need her, that's a good thing, isn't it?
Mikoto can't deny that if she went to Nishitama right now, she'd be nothing more than a liability, another little girl named Shigeko. And Eri needs to eat. So it's a good thing... Eri isn't here, when she needs her.
It's a good thing.
Mikoto crawls in between the covers and curls up into them, burying her face in things which smell like Eri and breathing in. Her breath hitches and shudders, and she finds herself staining the bedding with tears again. That's fine. She usually does, these days.
It's easier to sleep inside, where she's safe. It does nothing to help the nightmares.
And when she wakes up it is morning and Eri still isn't here, and Mikoto is hungry, and the weight of her tasks presses heavy upon her. It does not matter if she is so sad she wants to sleep forever, and not do anything at all. It does not matter if she cannot reach out to a girl who is breaking just as surely as her. It does not matter if there is nothing good left in the world now the light has gone out.
There is still the search. Always, there is the search.
So Mikoto leaves.
Mikoto does what she is told.